RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Kale writes: "38-year-old Elaine Morrall had her welfare payments stopped after missing an interview with officials, her mother claims. She later died, wearing a coat and scarf, in a home she couldn't afford to heat."

Anti-poverty campaigners have long been warning that austerity measures risk endangering the most vulnerable. (photo: Max Pixel)
Anti-poverty campaigners have long been warning that austerity measures risk endangering the most vulnerable. (photo: Max Pixel)

Mother of Four Found Dead in Freezing Home After Her Welfare Was Cut Off

By Sirin Kale, Vice

12 November 17

38-year-old Elaine Morrall had her welfare payments stopped after missing an interview with officials, her mother claims. She later died, wearing a coat and scarf, in a home she couldn't afford to heat.

n the UK, reports have emerged that a mother of four died alone in a freezing home after her social security was stopped unfairly due to sickness.

38-year-old Elaine Morrall, from Runcorn in northwest England, was found wearing a coat and scarf after allegedly losing her social security despite suffering periods of ill health. Her cause of death is not currently known, although police have confirmed they're investigating her death.

A local newspaper reports that Morrall’s case came to light after her mother Linda Morrall posted a letter that subsequently went viral on social media. In the letter, Morrall’s mother alleges that she died on November 2 after her social security payments were stopped.

“[She died] in the cold with her coat and scarf on because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. [She] was in and out of hospital in recent months in intensive care but was not deemed ill enough for employment and support allowance,” Linda wrote, according to reports.

Linda claimed her daughter was being taken to court to pay her rent, despite having no income, and was struggling with mental health issues including severe depression and an eating disorder.

“[She] was in and out of hospital in recent months in intensive care, but was deemed not ill enough for ESA [employment support allowance],” Linda wrote. “[She] had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit.” As a result, Morrall was on the verge of homelessness after missing an interview with social security officials because she was in the hospital, her mother claims.

Anti-poverty campaigners have long been warning that the British government’s austerity measures, and in particular their recent rollout of Universal Credit, risk endangering the most vulnerable in our society.

Universal Credit replaces all the individual social security payments those receiving government welfare used to receive with one, single payment. In principle, charities such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have welcomed the move to a single payment.

However, built into Universal Credit is the requirement that individuals attend certain meetings or fill out specific paperwork by set dates. Fail to do so—miss a meeting with welfare officials, for example—and you may receive a sanction, meaning your payments are stopped. This can push people into desperate poverty, waiting weeks or even months for emergency payments.

Last month, influential think tank The Resolution Foundation warned the government that Universal Credit “needs urgent change if it is to be fit for purpose,” highlighting long waits of up to six weeks to receive payments as particularly dangerous for families and individuals on low incomes with limited savings.

For Linda, her daughter’s death was the preventable result of an uncaring bureaucracy that didn’t prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. “Is being dead [enough]…to prove she was ill? How many people have got to die before this government realizes they are killing vulnerable people?" she wrote.

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions told Broadly, “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." your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+26 # dotlady 2017-11-12 11:07
Austerity kills. Mismanagement kills. Poverty kills.
+3 # CL38 2017-11-14 16:47
Indifference and a sense of superiority kills. Every day.
+18 # elkingo 2017-11-12 14:04
No German bombs like in Dylan Thomas' poem
A Refusal to Mourn the Death of a Child..." Just capitalistic bureaucratic femicide. GODDAMN the system.
+10 # indian weaver 2017-11-12 14:12
Can anyone reading this imagine what it's like to freeze to death? Or, what would you do if you were this deceased woman's relatives or mother? Is anger appropriate? How about homicide? and suicide, because this is what the UK is causing.
+11 # librarian1984 2017-11-12 14:41
But thank goodness the estate tax will be eliminated. That's the real concern!

Richest country in the world.

20% of US kids don't eat regular meals.

Half of Americans live at or below the poverty line.

Veteran suicide and homelessness.

Lead in thousands of water systems, third world airports, bridges crumbling .. and the GOP solution is trickle down economics. They could be stupid but I think it's just evil. The GOP is devoid of morality or patriotism, though they claim exclusive ownership of both.

This story is tragic. Multiple it by tens of thousands of people. And why? To finance eternal war and boundless greed.

Make war nonprofit.
+4 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-11-12 16:33
So sad. What have we become?
+7 # krallison 2017-11-12 17:16
Thoughts and prayers won't heat the home. I am appalled at this treatment of a sick woman and I hope there is a lawyer in England ready to go to base for her poor motherless children.
+5 # Colleen Clark 2017-11-12 18:02
And this story from the UK which, on the whole, is less barbaric this way than the US.
+6 # angelfish 2017-11-12 21:03
This is a Universal Plan. Starve, Freeze, and Horrify people into Dying because they are deemed "Expendable" by the Powers that be. Pitiful.
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-11-12 21:37
Murdered by paper & the vicious politicians behind it.
+4 # CL38 2017-11-14 16:46
Meanwhile the rich hide billions in income overseas. Buy off empty suits who claim to honorably serve 'the people'. Have taken 'power over' the US Constitutional and voting rights. Most Government systems. Demonstrate every day that people like the woman above "don't matter."

This is an outrage.
+2 # LionMousePudding 2017-11-15 00:13
This wouldn't be news in the US. At least it is not normal in the UK.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.