The Department for Work and Pensions has released statistics showing that thousands of people have died soon after being found fit to work by its disability benefit tests.
The DWP says the figures alone “provide limited scope” for understanding why people died. Here is one case study from 2014.
Trevor Drakard was found dead in his Sunderland home a few months after his incapacity benefit was stopped. He had killed himself.
Mr Drakard, 50, who had recently been assessed as “fit for work” and ordered to find a job, was in the process of appealing against the decision with assistance from Citizens Advice Bureau when he took his own life in July 2014.
An inquest in September of the same year in Sunderland heard how Mr Drakard, who had suffered with epilepsy from the age of six, was left feeling depressed “due to the stress of losing his benefits”. Mr Drakard was described as a “lonely man” with few acquaintances who had recently lost two of his closest friends. He had suffered from meningitis at five months old which left him brain damaged, causing severe epilepsy when he was six.
The hearing was told how Mr Drakard would meet his parents for a meal three times a week. His parents explained that they were unable to contact their son to ask him to sign some documents relating to his benefit appeal. They visited Mr Drakard’s home and found their son’s body in his bedroom.
Tests found that he was still taking his epilepsy medication and the senior coroner ruled that Trevor Drakard had taken his own life.