A WATCHDOG has heavily criticised the DWP for its 'insensitive' handling of benefits case which resulted in a mother-of nine taking her own life.

Jodey Whiting's family have been awarded £10,000 and are set to be issued with an apology following the investigation carried out by the Independent Case Examiner.

The former shopworker battled multiple health problems but was sanctioned by the DWP after she missed a single work capability assessment in February 2017.

She had suffered with intense pain through a curved spine and also had a series of severe mental health problems. She had been diagnosed with a brain cyst and was house-bound with pneumonia in the days before her death.

The report reads: "It is clear that Jodey was vulnerable, had been suffering from severe mental health issues and had said she was suicidal.

"I find it extremely disappointing that in investigating the complaints (Joy) raised, we have seen that DWP have either failed to investigate, or failed to acknowledge, the extent of events in Jodey's case."

Its report has highlighted "multiple failings" by officials and Stockton South MP branded the DWP's handling of her case as 'unacceptable'.

The Northern Echo:

Dr Paul Williams MP, pictured above, said: "It's not good enough that a member of our community, a mother and a daughter has been failed so badly when what she needed most of all was help and support.

"There were five opportunities for Jodey's clear mental health problems to be taken into account and to offer her support. It's unacceptable that these were missed.

"Our social security system should be supporting the most vulnerable, but so many constituents tell he that they are not believed, and that the process makes them ill. I know that people who work in the DWP try to do their jobs under the most difficult of circumstances, but Government are forcing a negative, blame culture. Everyone in the system, on both sides, are being failed by this Government - this cannot go on.

"My sympathies are with Jodey's family and a special word for her mother, Joy, who has continuously pushed for answers in Jodey's case and has shown an amazing level of determination. I promised to support her during the election and through my time as an MP and I'll keep doing that now."

The DWP has accepted the findings of ICE report and confirmed that the family was entitled to compensation.

A spokesperson said: “We apologise to Ms Whiting’s family for the failings in how we handled her case and the distress this caused them. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and we are providing compensation.

"We fully accept the Independent Case Examiner’s findings and are reviewing our procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”