Her illness left her unable to walk far or do daily tasks independently. She had received attendance allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to help with the cost of her personal care.
The DWP reviewed her claim based on her treatment, medication, test results and symptoms, and wrote to inform her that she was not ill enough to receive the weekly benefit, which amounted to £55.10 or £82.30 – depending on how often care was needed in a 24-hour period.
The DWP said the decision had been made using the information from her claim form and from her doctor about six months earlier. The letter said: “I consider this information to be the most suitable available and enough to decide how much help you need.”
“How ill do you have to be? Our garden is 40 or 50ft and she couldn’t walk down it without having to sit down at the bottom,” he said. “On the day she died I came downstairs and she couldn’t breathe properly so I phoned the ambulance, who said if she gets worse call us back.
A woman who suffered from a debilitating lung condition was sent a letter informing her she no longer qualified for sickness benefits on the day she died.