Sam Jacobs and Tayyiba Bajwa act as family of Philippa Day secure settlement from Capita

Sam Jacobs and Tayyiba Bajwa, instructed by Merry Varney of Leigh Day, represented the family of Philippa Day, who died following acute financial distress caused by the administration of welfare benefits, have secured a substantial financial settlement from Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) contractor, Capita.

The company, to which the DWP outsourced some of the benefits operations which affected Philippa, has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to her family by way of compensation for their failings and will meet with Philippa’s family to discuss the changes made to prevent another person being treated like Philippa was.

At the conclusion of the inquest into Philippa’s death in January, 2021, assistant coroner Gordon Clow delivered a damning indictment of systemic problems at the Department of Work and Pensions and their agent Capita and concluded Philippa’s mental health illness had been “exacerbated” by the way her benefits were processed. He said: "Were it not for this problem, it is not likely that she would have [taken the act which ended her life] on the 7th or 8th of August."

Philippa died following a long struggle over her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits claim in 2019. She was found collapsed by her sister and father on 8 August, 2019, with a letter beside her from the DWP refusing her a home assessment visit over her benefits. She died just over two months later.

As a diabetic Philippa had received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) since she was 16. In November 2018 Philippa made a claim for PIP but the application form she returned to the DWP was not received and her DLA payments were cancelled in January, 2019.

With no disability benefits income, Philippa fell into a spiral of poverty, anxiety and despair. Calls to the DWP and their agents were not treated in accordance with safeguarding policy and it took months for her DLA to be reinstated and she was then refused a home visit for a PIP assessment.

Following the inquest, Philippa’s sister Imogen Day said the constant cold and unsympathetic wall of resistance that she met at Capita was more than she could endure and the refusal of a home assessment by Capita was just too much for her to cope with.

Press release by Leigh Day can be found here.

Media coverage: BBC, The Guardian, Nottingham Post, Disability News Service