A disabled grandmother took a fatal overdose just two days after learning that her benefits appeal had been rejected.
Susan Roberts, who was £4,000 in debt when she died after several rejected attempts to have her income reinstated, suffered from ME and also had four heart attacks.
Before she died, the grandmother-of-eight, 68, left the paperwork to say that her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application had been rejected, an 11-page letter detailing her suffering and a Do Not Resuscitate note on a cabinet.
She had previously been receiving a Disability Living Allowance (DLA), but this system was axed in 2015 to make way for PIP, which carries stricter criteria.
Anyone who had been 65 or older on April 8, 2013 was still entitled to the old DLA, but Mrs Roberts, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, hit that milestone just five days too late.
She had needed assistance to go to the toilet following a bowel operation, as well as carrying out of tasks such as walking and shopping because of her ME.
Her mobility car was also taken from her, and she texted her daughter Hayley Storrow, saying: I’m never going to be able to see you again because they are taking the car.’
Twice she attempted to appeal and review the decision, and as part of that process penned the letter to the Department of Workplace and Pensions that would end up next to her when she died.
In the letter, she said: ‘I am in a considerable state of depression after receiving your decision about my claim for PIP.’
‘My gall bladder needs to be removed because of multiple stones, weight loss, vomiting, excruciating pain – but specialists won’t operate because of my heart condition.’
Her fatal overdose of morphine came soon after she had received a notice from the telling her she had been unsuccessful in her latest appeal.
Ms Storrow, 48, told the Mirror: ‘When my brother went to mum’s flat after she died, he found 37p in her purse. Even with DLA she was living day to day, scraping by. She was found dead with the PIP refusal letter placed strategically on a dresser.
‘She was a poorly woman and this decision tipped her over the edge – she was in a desperate situation.’
A coroner has ruled that she did not take her own life, as no suicide note was left, but Ms Storrow believes ‘her unsent letter was a suicide note.’
A DWP spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Our thoughts are with Mrs Roberts’ family.
‘There is no evidence to suggest any link between Mrs Roberts’ death and her benefit claim.
‘Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist’