Disabled Kinver man killed himself after being left "almost destitute" when his state benefits were axed

Stourbridge News: Tim Salter Tim Salter

A DISABLED Kinver man killed himself after his state benefits were stopped, leaving him "almost destitute" - a coroner has ruled.

Tim Salter, aged 53, who was partially sighted and suffered from mental health problems, was found hanged at his home just days before he was due to be evicted over rent arrears.

His heartbroken family say he fell behind with payments after the Government axed his state benefits - having declared him fit for work under a new regime geared at getting the long-term unemployed off the dole.

Mr Salter's devastated sister Linda Cooksey said: "It just sent him over the edge.

"He must have felt so worthless and that life wasn't worth living.”

Mr Salter, of Meddins Lane, had been registered partially blind since 1994 after an overdose in 1989 damaged his vision.

Previously he'd worked as an assistant sales manager at Owen Owen in Stourbridge in the 80s but he failed to find further employment after leaving. Depression and the suicide attempt followed, after which he never worked again.

Mrs Cooksey, aged 60, said her brother, who was agoraphobic, “never asked for help” and she never imagined changes to the country’s benefits system would affect him.

Relatives only pieced together his dire predicament after discovering a repossession order from South Staffordshire Housing Association in the bin. Dated September 17 - it had given Mr Salter ten days to leave the home he had lived in all his life.

He committed suicide on September 25, two days before the eviction date.

As his financial situation became apparent relatives presented paperwork to Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh and at an inquest on December 3 he concluded: "A major factor in his death was that his state benefits had been greatly reduced leaving him almost destitute and with threatened repossession of his home."

Mr Salter's family has since written to the Prime Minister and South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson over his death.

David Cameron's reply expressed "sincere condolences" and said concerns about benefit changes had been passed to the Department for Work and Pensions while Mr Williamson promised to raise the matter with Government Ministers and that "lessons will be learnt".

He added: "This is a truly awful situation. The Government takes cases like this very seriously indeed.

"We are doing our best to ensure that when people enter the workplace they are given the support they need and not left in limbo.

"However it is equally important to ensure people are not mistakenly identified as being fit for work when they are not."

A spokesman for South Staffordshire Housing Association said: “We were very sad to hear of the death of Timothy Salter and have met members of his family to extend our sympathy and offer them support.

“Cuts to benefits are causing distress very widely, including to many of our customers.

“We work very hard to avoid getting to the stage of seeking possession of any of our properties by calling, visiting and writing to customers who we believe are struggling with their finances to offer them advice and support.

“Offers were made to Mr Salter on a number of occasions between July and September. We always try our best to talk to customers in difficulties to offer help and advice but if they do not respond it is difficult for us to provide the practical support that could help them.”

However Mrs Cooksey, who discovered her brother’s body hanging in the hallway, said "he couldn’t ask for help", adding: "He didn’t want to be a burden on anyone.

“I think he'd just got that depressed and down he was just ignoring everything after being told he was fit for work.”

Mr Salter's benefits stopped on December 22 2012 after an assessment of his health and abilities - and relatives believe he lived off savings until the money ran out.

Mrs Cooksey said: “He was never extravagant, didn’t go on holiday and never had a car. I totally believe he'd still be alive now if they hadn't stopped his money.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said a decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken only after a "thorough assessment" and consideration of medical evidence provided by the claimant and everyone has the right to appeal.

A spokesman expressed "condolences to Mr Salter's family" and added: "Whenever people's benefits change we do our best to ensure the right support is available to help them through the transition as we know this can be a difficult time."

Comments (10)

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11:34am Thu 26 Dec 13

dorey69 says...

its easy to say that you can appeal, but if you have mental health problems, its hard to even talk to anyone in the first place and you do feel like no one understands and can help you, R,I,P and my thoughts are with the family.
its easy to say that you can appeal, but if you have mental health problems, its hard to even talk to anyone in the first place and you do feel like no one understands and can help you, R,I,P and my thoughts are with the family. dorey69

5:02pm Thu 26 Dec 13

lee 41 says...

I agree. The DWP know exactly what they're doing I.e. they've always had a percentage quota for the Support Group on ESA from the beginning of it's roll out. So they know that thousands of claimants have been deliberately wrongly assessed as fit-for-work and they don't care what the consequences are for the vulnerable be it death, suicide or worsening ill health. It's a win win for DWP or as Iain Duncan Smith says "a positive outcome". The Government of Austerity is actually the evil Government of Atrocity! Claimants are not allowed to Appeal until they have requested "reconsideration" by DWP internally -all the while being without money as any benefit is stopped at point where you ask for "reconsideration". And they certainly DO NOT take ALL medical evidence into account when assessing. It's a completely unfair and indecent programme of reducing the National Debt by making the vulnerable pay by culling us. Bankers created this yet the poor and vulnerable pay- with their lives. 10,600 died as a direct result of these Assessments by July 2012. DWP refuse to release current figures saying they no longer keep records on this. They disgust me. Wake-up Britain! I feel so upset for his family. God bless.
I agree. The DWP know exactly what they're doing I.e. they've always had a percentage quota for the Support Group on ESA from the beginning of it's roll out. So they know that thousands of claimants have been deliberately wrongly assessed as fit-for-work and they don't care what the consequences are for the vulnerable be it death, suicide or worsening ill health. It's a win win for DWP or as Iain Duncan Smith says "a positive outcome". The Government of Austerity is actually the evil Government of Atrocity! Claimants are not allowed to Appeal until they have requested "reconsideration" by DWP internally -all the while being without money as any benefit is stopped at point where you ask for "reconsideration". And they certainly DO NOT take ALL medical evidence into account when assessing. It's a completely unfair and indecent programme of reducing the National Debt by making the vulnerable pay by culling us. Bankers created this yet the poor and vulnerable pay- with their lives. 10,600 died as a direct result of these Assessments by July 2012. DWP refuse to release current figures saying they no longer keep records on this. They disgust me. Wake-up Britain! I feel so upset for his family. God bless. lee 41

2:27am Fri 27 Dec 13

cleggs1 says...

To say Britain is the 7 richest country in the world and have 3 million without jobs and the government instead of creating jobs for the unemployed ..It adds to the list of people that are looking for jobs that are not there. Plus now they are picking on the disabled as if their life wasn't already hard enough.
If they want to save some money let's start at the top like the MPs who earn over £140,000 A YEAR Oh and how about all the retired ones who also get 120.000k a year who are entitled to this even if they only worked for year in their life. No wonder the UK is ranked no 7 in the richest. .. That's the ones at the top mind not the ones at the bottom us at the bottom we have to try and make do with the same amount of money the MPs get per day for their lunch. .. That's right £ 70 only we have to make it last a week and pay for everything not just lunch. Britain we need to sack those at the top they seem to think we are choosing them money?
To say Britain is the 7 richest country in the world and have 3 million without jobs and the government instead of creating jobs for the unemployed ..It adds to the list of people that are looking for jobs that are not there. Plus now they are picking on the disabled as if their life wasn't already hard enough. If they want to save some money let's start at the top like the MPs who earn over £140,000 A YEAR Oh and how about all the retired ones who also get 120.000k a year who are entitled to this even if they only worked for year in their life. No wonder the UK is ranked no 7 in the richest. .. That's the ones at the top mind not the ones at the bottom us at the bottom we have to try and make do with the same amount of money the MPs get per day for their lunch. .. That's right £ 70 only we have to make it last a week and pay for everything not just lunch. Britain we need to sack those at the top they seem to think we are choosing them money? cleggs1

2:30am Fri 27 Dec 13

cleggs1 says...

cleggs1 wrote:
To say Britain is the 7 richest country in the world and have 3 million without jobs and the government instead of creating jobs for the unemployed ..It adds to the list of people that are looking for jobs that are not there. Plus now they are picking on the disabled as if their life wasn't already hard enough.
If they want to save some money let's start at the top like the MPs who earn over £140,000 A YEAR Oh and how about all the retired ones who also get 120.000k a year who are entitled to this even if they only worked for year in their life. No wonder the UK is ranked no 7 in the richest. .. That's the ones at the top mind not the ones at the bottom us at the bottom we have to try and make do with the same amount of money the MPs get per day for their lunch. .. That's right £ 70 only we have to make it last a week and pay for everything not just lunch. Britain we need to sack those at the top they seem to think we are choosing them money?
 they seem to think we are choosing them money?
sorry it's loosing the money
[quote][p][bold]cleggs1[/bold] wrote: To say Britain is the 7 richest country in the world and have 3 million without jobs and the government instead of creating jobs for the unemployed ..It adds to the list of people that are looking for jobs that are not there. Plus now they are picking on the disabled as if their life wasn't already hard enough. If they want to save some money let's start at the top like the MPs who earn over £140,000 A YEAR Oh and how about all the retired ones who also get 120.000k a year who are entitled to this even if they only worked for year in their life. No wonder the UK is ranked no 7 in the richest. .. That's the ones at the top mind not the ones at the bottom us at the bottom we have to try and make do with the same amount of money the MPs get per day for their lunch. .. That's right £ 70 only we have to make it last a week and pay for everything not just lunch. Britain we need to sack those at the top they seem to think we are choosing them money?[/p][/quote] they seem to think we are choosing them money? sorry it's loosing the money cleggs1

11:58am Fri 27 Dec 13

against evil says...

I truly mourn the death of this poor man and others that have felt so abandoned by a system that should be supporting them. I urge everyine to print themselves a T shirt giving the facts of this case and others similar to it and wear this as often as possible in the 6 weeks before the next general election. Feature the name of the dead person prominently and wear your T shirt proudly for them and to show those who don't care, that you do.
There was a candlelit vigil held for such victims in some cities earlier this year. I hope more of these will be held next year and more people attend them This man is at rest now but the decision makers on their death will never find peace.
I truly mourn the death of this poor man and others that have felt so abandoned by a system that should be supporting them. I urge everyine to print themselves a T shirt giving the facts of this case and others similar to it and wear this as often as possible in the 6 weeks before the next general election. Feature the name of the dead person prominently and wear your T shirt proudly for them and to show those who don't care, that you do. There was a candlelit vigil held for such victims in some cities earlier this year. I hope more of these will be held next year and more people attend them This man is at rest now but the decision makers on their death will never find peace. against evil

2:04pm Fri 27 Dec 13

sootys mum says...

Someone who needed a quadruple bypass and another person dying of cancer, both found fit to work. Definitely a decision by unqualified and brain dead administrative staff. I am aware that they use GPs but that does not mean that they are experienced in the field of the disability. I think that they start with that we are all scroungers and should have all benefits removed. Perhaps if we stopped paying benefits to those that come in here who have not contributed then that would be a good start. Even better, get taxes from companies who are not paying it! Starbucks for one!! We all have to pay PAYE & NI, why shouldn't they pay their full corporation tax? Make them cough up!
Someone who needed a quadruple bypass and another person dying of cancer, both found fit to work. Definitely a decision by unqualified and brain dead administrative staff. I am aware that they use GPs but that does not mean that they are experienced in the field of the disability. I think that they start with that we are all scroungers and should have all benefits removed. Perhaps if we stopped paying benefits to those that come in here who have not contributed then that would be a good start. Even better, get taxes from companies who are not paying it! Starbucks for one!! We all have to pay PAYE & NI, why shouldn't they pay their full corporation tax? Make them cough up! sootys mum

4:44pm Fri 27 Dec 13

badputty says...

in reply to sootys mom, GPs don't find the sick and disabled fit for work, in my husband's case it was a nurse with no known medical training that was under investigation by the nursing council for her fitness to practice at the time of his assessment. Our GP is disgusted at my husband's treatment, he was in hospital being prepped to have his leg amputated when he got the call off the DWP telling him he was fit for work. PEOPLE ARE DYING and no one cares until it happens to them, mainly because the govt have whipped up a hatred (via the national media) of anyone that's on benefits. The sneering decision maker at the DWP said to me: "it doesn't matter if he's a double amputee he'll be found fit for work" and she said it with a sneer and no emotion whatsoever!!! My heart goes out to his family
in reply to sootys mom, GPs don't find the sick and disabled fit for work, in my husband's case it was a nurse with no known medical training that was under investigation by the nursing council for her fitness to practice at the time of his assessment. Our GP is disgusted at my husband's treatment, he was in hospital being prepped to have his leg amputated when he got the call off the DWP telling him he was fit for work. PEOPLE ARE DYING and no one cares until it happens to them, mainly because the govt have whipped up a hatred (via the national media) of anyone that's on benefits. The sneering decision maker at the DWP said to me: "it doesn't matter if he's a double amputee he'll be found fit for work" and she said it with a sneer and no emotion whatsoever!!! My heart goes out to his family badputty

10:26pm Fri 27 Dec 13

lisa whitemore says...

Last December I Was told i was fit to work, but like i said on appeal, these medical people are not specialists in Mental Health, nor are the points scoring lists either. I Suffer serious mental health issues and have tried to work but that resulting in My Employer request I would be early retired for medical reasons. I Recieve small pension as was part timer. My GP Has confirmed and medically signed me off But DWP Declare me capable. I know exactly how this man must have felt as after 12 mnth's of hearings & tribunal (which i was never told was happening) have been totally Refused ESA. That's despite my also entitlement for Disability Living Allowance... So are DWP Saying their DLA Dept are Liers?? My money was stopped beginning of this month but letters only getting to me now so am dreading having to try and sort all of this mess out on top of suffering really bad as i do every christmas. Ive had suicidal thoughts for the first time in 16 years and it frightens me. When you start thinking like that you kinda pursuade your mind its the best option, that people would be better off without you, You feel a Failure. Im a Mum and have been a single mum for four years and have so much pressure to live up to my role but this last year i have and still am really struggling and I Feel i cant tell anyone of my thoughts for fear of being told to get a grip, stop feeling sorry for myself or not to be so selfish.....Any of those reactions make me hide and not speak to anyone as feel so ashamed. But What do i do? Where do i go? I Dont like folk knowing much about me as to my mental health," means im a psychopath to 9 out of 10 people" But reading this story and how much i am going through the same and can relate so much to this poor mans plight, so much that im crying as i write. I'll robably have notice that my housing has stopped so my landlord will want to speak to me aswell as Council Tax...its really freaking me out now...not good.
Last December I Was told i was fit to work, but like i said on appeal, these medical people are not specialists in Mental Health, nor are the points scoring lists either. I Suffer serious mental health issues and have tried to work but that resulting in My Employer request I would be early retired for medical reasons. I Recieve small pension as was part timer. My GP Has confirmed and medically signed me off But DWP Declare me capable. I know exactly how this man must have felt as after 12 mnth's of hearings & tribunal (which i was never told was happening) have been totally Refused ESA. That's despite my also entitlement for Disability Living Allowance... So are DWP Saying their DLA Dept are Liers?? My money was stopped beginning of this month but letters only getting to me now so am dreading having to try and sort all of this mess out on top of suffering really bad as i do every christmas. Ive had suicidal thoughts for the first time in 16 years and it frightens me. When you start thinking like that you kinda pursuade your mind its the best option, that people would be better off without you, You feel a Failure. Im a Mum and have been a single mum for four years and have so much pressure to live up to my role but this last year i have and still am really struggling and I Feel i cant tell anyone of my thoughts for fear of being told to get a grip, stop feeling sorry for myself or not to be so selfish.....Any of those reactions make me hide and not speak to anyone as feel so ashamed. But What do i do? Where do i go? I Dont like folk knowing much about me as to my mental health," means im a psychopath to 9 out of 10 people" But reading this story and how much i am going through the same and can relate so much to this poor mans plight, so much that im crying as i write. I'll robably have notice that my housing has stopped so my landlord will want to speak to me aswell as Council Tax...its really freaking me out now...not good. lisa whitemore

3:28pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Lila Bay says...

lisa whitemore wrote:
Last December I Was told i was fit to work, but like i said on appeal, these medical people are not specialists in Mental Health, nor are the points scoring lists either. I Suffer serious mental health issues and have tried to work but that resulting in My Employer request I would be early retired for medical reasons. I Recieve small pension as was part timer. My GP Has confirmed and medically signed me off But DWP Declare me capable. I know exactly how this man must have felt as after 12 mnth's of hearings & tribunal (which i was never told was happening) have been totally Refused ESA. That's despite my also entitlement for Disability Living Allowance... So are DWP Saying their DLA Dept are Liers?? My money was stopped beginning of this month but letters only getting to me now so am dreading having to try and sort all of this mess out on top of suffering really bad as i do every christmas. Ive had suicidal thoughts for the first time in 16 years and it frightens me. When you start thinking like that you kinda pursuade your mind its the best option, that people would be better off without you, You feel a Failure. Im a Mum and have been a single mum for four years and have so much pressure to live up to my role but this last year i have and still am really struggling and I Feel i cant tell anyone of my thoughts for fear of being told to get a grip, stop feeling sorry for myself or not to be so selfish.....Any of those reactions make me hide and not speak to anyone as feel so ashamed. But What do i do? Where do i go? I Dont like folk knowing much about me as to my mental health," means im a psychopath to 9 out of 10 people" But reading this story and how much i am going through the same and can relate so much to this poor mans plight, so much that im crying as i write. I'll robably have notice that my housing has stopped so my landlord will want to speak to me aswell as Council Tax...its really freaking me out now...not good.
I wish to say a few words of support via this website because I know how hard it is sometimes to be understood.
I understand everyone who struggles mostly emotionally over the years and I know how difficult it is to move forward.
But other than a suicide, there is a way out of every misery in life.
Moving out to a different region is often the first and biggest step towards recovery, especially if you have bad memories associated with where are you living now.
It may be a big effort for some, but if you think about it for a while, it is the best option for some. It may not seem appealing at first, but it works wonders.
New surroundings, new air, new environment.
It's from there when you will finally be able to take control of your life. I am sure of it.
Sending you lots of love and wishes of strength to overcome any difficulties in this New Year.
[quote][p][bold]lisa whitemore[/bold] wrote: Last December I Was told i was fit to work, but like i said on appeal, these medical people are not specialists in Mental Health, nor are the points scoring lists either. I Suffer serious mental health issues and have tried to work but that resulting in My Employer request I would be early retired for medical reasons. I Recieve small pension as was part timer. My GP Has confirmed and medically signed me off But DWP Declare me capable. I know exactly how this man must have felt as after 12 mnth's of hearings & tribunal (which i was never told was happening) have been totally Refused ESA. That's despite my also entitlement for Disability Living Allowance... So are DWP Saying their DLA Dept are Liers?? My money was stopped beginning of this month but letters only getting to me now so am dreading having to try and sort all of this mess out on top of suffering really bad as i do every christmas. Ive had suicidal thoughts for the first time in 16 years and it frightens me. When you start thinking like that you kinda pursuade your mind its the best option, that people would be better off without you, You feel a Failure. Im a Mum and have been a single mum for four years and have so much pressure to live up to my role but this last year i have and still am really struggling and I Feel i cant tell anyone of my thoughts for fear of being told to get a grip, stop feeling sorry for myself or not to be so selfish.....Any of those reactions make me hide and not speak to anyone as feel so ashamed. But What do i do? Where do i go? I Dont like folk knowing much about me as to my mental health," means im a psychopath to 9 out of 10 people" But reading this story and how much i am going through the same and can relate so much to this poor mans plight, so much that im crying as i write. I'll robably have notice that my housing has stopped so my landlord will want to speak to me aswell as Council Tax...its really freaking me out now...not good.[/p][/quote]I wish to say a few words of support via this website because I know how hard it is sometimes to be understood. I understand everyone who struggles mostly emotionally over the years and I know how difficult it is to move forward. But other than a suicide, there is a way out of every misery in life. Moving out to a different region is often the first and biggest step towards recovery, especially if you have bad memories associated with where are you living now. It may be a big effort for some, but if you think about it for a while, it is the best option for some. It may not seem appealing at first, but it works wonders. New surroundings, new air, new environment. It's from there when you will finally be able to take control of your life. I am sure of it. Sending you lots of love and wishes of strength to overcome any difficulties in this New Year. Lila Bay

3:32pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Lila Bay says...

I wish to say a few words of support via this website because I know how hard it is sometimes to be understood.
I understand everyone who struggles mostly emotionally over the years and I know how difficult it is to move forward.
But other than a suicide, THERE IS a way out of every misery in life.
Moving out to a different region is often the first and biggest step towards recovery, especially if you have bad memories associated with where are you living now.
It may be a big effort for some, but if you think about it for a while, it is the best option. It may not seem appealing at first, but it does work wonders.
New surroundings, new air, new environment.
It's from there when you will finally be able to take control of your life. I am sure of it.
Sending you lots of love and wishes of strength to overcome any difficulties in this New Year.
I wish to say a few words of support via this website because I know how hard it is sometimes to be understood. I understand everyone who struggles mostly emotionally over the years and I know how difficult it is to move forward. But other than a suicide, THERE IS a way out of every misery in life. Moving out to a different region is often the first and biggest step towards recovery, especially if you have bad memories associated with where are you living now. It may be a big effort for some, but if you think about it for a while, it is the best option. It may not seem appealing at first, but it does work wonders. New surroundings, new air, new environment. It's from there when you will finally be able to take control of your life. I am sure of it. Sending you lots of love and wishes of strength to overcome any difficulties in this New Year. Lila Bay

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