The family of a man who starved to death four months after his benefits were cut off has called on the government to reform the way it treats people with mental health problems when it assesses their eligibility for benefits.
Mark Wood, 44, who had a number of complex mental health conditions, died at his home last August, months after an Atos fitness-for-work assessment found him fit for work. This assessment triggered a decision by the jobcentre to stop his sickness benefits, leaving him just £40 a week to live on. His housing benefits were stopped at around the same time.
United Kingdom, 2014
He works in a shop in order to spend money
In another shops.
After the rent is paid
And the meter’s appetite sated
He buys a lottery ticket
(Because you never know.)
Yesterday someone starved to death
Four months after ATOS
Pinched tight the withered umbilical.
And I can no longer escape the impression
That it is not the money that matters –
(It is not as though it will ever be enough.)
Rather it is the hole it makes