Benefit claimant with broken back killed himself after being found ‘fit for work’ by DWP

By Steven Preece: A Universal Credit claimant took his own life after being wrongly declared ‘fit for work’ by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for a fourth time, his distraught family have said.

Brian Sycamore left a sarcastic suicide note “thanking” the DWP after he was left penniless and unable to pay the rent or top up his electricity meter.

The 62-year-old had worked his entire life as a mechanic and handyman before a tragic accident at work left him with a broken back and forced to claim benefits.

Shockingly, it is has been reported that Mr Sycamore continued working for months before finally realising the severity of his injuries.

His brother and sister, Henry Sycamore and Angela Simms, told the Derbyshire Telegraph that their brother had been declared “fit for work” just months before he was found dead from a massive overdose of prescription medication. Sister Angela said it was the third or fourth time Brian had his benefits stopped and told to look for work by cruel benefit bosses at the DWP.

On previous occassions, he had provided additional evidence to the DWP to prove he was unable to continue working, and his benefit payments were reinstated on each of those occasions.

However, his family believe that being repeatedly found “fit for work” finally tipped Brian over the edge, resulting in his suicide in September 2017.

“It still breaks my heart”, said Angela.

“He took his own life because they stopped his benefits. He fought and fought for the money but they kept stopping it.

“He had a broken back. He couldn’t work. Just because he could walk they thought he could work. But he was in terrible pain.”

Mr Sycamore’s brother Henry added: “If his benefits weren’t stopped he would have had some income and he would have been able to pay his rent, and he wouldn’t have done what he did.

“I feel it was the Universal Credit. I feel that was the cause.”

A DWP spokesperson said the Department’s thoughts were with the family of Brian Sycamore, but added it was wrong to link the cause of a suicide “solely to someone’s benefit claim”.

This article was authored by Steven Preece at Welfare Weekly

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