Loss of benefits killed my partially-sighted brother

A heartbroken sister today blamed welfare chiefs for her partially-sighted brother's death after he killed himself amid money worries.

Loss of benefits killed my partially-sighted brother

Tim Salter, a former sales manager, was left 'destitute' when he was declared fit to work and had his benefits axed.

The 53-year-old was found hanged at his home in Meddins Lane, Kinver, two days before he was due to be evicted over rent arrears.

He had fallen behind on payments after the Government cut his state benefits under its controversial 'fit to work' scheme. Relatives discovered Mr Salter's dire financial straits after his death, when they found a housing association repossession order in the bin.

His grieving sister Linda Cooksey, aged 60, of Chandler Avenue, Kinver, hit out at welfare chiefs, saying they had pushed Mr Salter 'over the edge'. Her brother had been registered partially blind since 1994 after a drug overdose left his sight damaged.

She said she believed he would still be alive if he had not been deemed fit to work. Mrs Cooksey, who found her brother hanging in the hallway, said: "It just sent him over the edge. He must have felt so worthless and that life wasn't worth living. 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."

She added: "I totally believe he'd still be alive now if they hadn't stopped his money."

An inquest heard a letter – dated September 17 – gave Mr Salter 10 days to leave his home. Mr Salter, who also suffered from agoraphobia, hanged himself eight days later.

A spokesman for South Staffordshire Housing Association, said: "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."

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh ruled the drop in income contributed to Mr Salter's death as he struggled to make ends meet.

Mr Salter's family have now written to the Prime Minister to air their concerns.

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