While I was looking for material for my previous post I decided to have a look at what other cases were featured on welfareweekly.com. I came across an article from April this year detailing the case of M.W Jaka, who hung himself due to becoming ‘stressed’ after trying to complete a benefits claim form for unemployment benefits.
Mr Jaka’s mother stated that her son was trying to apply for benefits but was struggling to understand and complete the claim form. She also claimed that her son wasn’t depressed and was planning to start his own painting and decorating business… However, Jaka’s girlfriend, E Weston, told sources that he was having issues receiving help from ‘officials’ and claimed that he had told her, a week before his death, that he felt unwell and felt like “ending it all”. And that doesn’t scream out that he’s depressed does it?
Weston also said “if we fell out or had an argument he said he couldn’t do it any more and he might as well kill himself”… I’m no expert but it sound’s like he was pretty depressed to me.
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed that they had struggled to contact Jaka to offer him further assistance. They had also arranged for him to receive an advanced payment of his benefits to carry him over until his claim had been processed. The spokesperson added; “Mr Jaka visited the Jobcentre the day before he committed suicide and was given help to complete his application for benefits. The claim was approved and he also received a benefits advance.”
Now as much as everyone wants to blame the DWP for Jaka’s death, there was nothing else they could of done, they processed his application as they would with any new claimant and even gave him an advanced payment. What more could they have done? Unfortunately the sad truth is that Jaka was clearly suffering from depression and found no other way to solve his problems.