May 13, 2021 10.46 am This story is over 5 months old

Apologies came “too late”: Jolly dad died after benefits underpayments

Campaigners are calling for an investigation into deaths of people on benefits

A heartbroken daughter has said admissions from the Department for Work and Pensions that her father had been underpaid came “too late”, as campaigners call for an investigation into ‘benefits related deaths’.

Brian Bailey, 59, from Grimsby was described as ‘a comedian who loved to make people laugh’ by his daughter Leann when she spoke to BBC Look North.

When his benefits were switched to the Universal Credit system however, he became “confused, overwhelmed and anxious”.

“He started drinking a lot, started eating less, sleeping more and crying more.” “He was a shell of himself,” Leann continued.

Brian took his life in 2018 after the alleged pressures of the benefits system. He had been £14 in rent arrears. Text messages on his phone showed he was being contacted by the DWP every other day, asking him to log into his account, but he did not have a computer.

Leann told the BBC that shortly after his death, a letter was sent by the DWP acknowledging that he had not been receiving the right amount, and had in fact been underpaid.

“It’s too late and it’s no good,” Leann said.

As reported by the Local Democracy Service earlier this week, campaigners are now calling for an investigation into the deaths of at least 82 people in the last decade after their benefits were changed.

Also included in a number of case studies in a BBC Shared Data Unit report was Glenn Harris, 55, from Cleethorpes, who committed suicide in 2015. He had spoke out about worries over changes to his benefits.

DWP has said sincere condolences remain with families affected, adding that they provide support to families every year.

If you have been affected by the themes in this story, or feel you need help, please contact the Samaritans charity.

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