A mum-of-four was found dead in her freezing cold home after having her benefits stopped because she was too ill to attend a job centre meeting, say her devastated family.
Elaine Morrall, who had an eating disorder and mental health problems, was discovered wrapped in a coat and scarf with the heating switched off because she couldn't afford to pay for heating.
The 38-year-old would keep the heating switched off in her Runcorn home until her children got home from school, reports the Liverpool Echo.
In a letter to her local councillor Miss Morrall's mother, Linda, described the heartbreak that had been wrought upon the family.
And in the past few days, a fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for her devastated children.
In in an open letter on Facebook, she wrote: “How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people?”
Her plea has gone viral on social media.
Linda said: “My daughter lived in Boston Ave. She died on the afternoon of 2 November, 2017 at home on her own. She was 38yrs[sic].
“In the cold with her coat & scarf on. Because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. Why?? Because she couldn’t afford it.
“Because she was severely depressed. Suffered from eating disorder & many other problems for many years.
“Mainly due to authoritarians of one form or another. I can give you details. Was in & out of hospital in recent months in intensive care.
“But was deemed not ill enough for ESA [Employment and Support Allowance]. Had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit.
“No income but expected to be able to pay full rent. Was told being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview.
“I went to the job centre to inform them that she couldn’t attend. But benefits stopped again.
“Uncaring housing taking her to court. She’s due to go to court on Monday. Is being dead now enough reason? Is that what’s had to happen to prove she was ill?
“How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people??
“What are you and your fellow councillors going to do to protect your constituents?”
Halton MP Derek Twigg , who is now working with the family, said: “It is a very tragic case and I am providing assistance to my constituent.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Ms Morrall’s family at this difficult time.
“We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times.
“Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.
"We strive to find solutions with our customers and have intensive support workers who enable us to do so where possible.
“Our support services are on offer to those who we know are in arrears, and are always reached out to for support.
“If customers are concerned about arrears we always encourage anyone to get in touch with us as early as possible in the arrears process so we can do all we can to help.”