They didn’t have to die

A lack of adequate benefits or the threat of cutting benefits causes a great deal of anxiety for people all over the world. Some people are pushed so far into despair that they take their own lives. Others are so desperate to earn enough to eat that they are pushed into situations that put their lives in danger. This can’t continue.

Basic Income is not an academic discussion of a potential future, it is an important change that is needed right now in order to save people’s lives and relieve hardship. Join our mailing list to stay up to date.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Republic of Ireland
United Kingdom
United States of America

Republic of Ireland



John Corrie



Michelle O’Riordan and Paddy O’Driscoll

A homeless man found dead in a doorway meters away from parliament at Leinster House.

A homeless man and woman found dead in the river Lee.

United Kingdom



Trevor Drakard



Nathan Hartwell



David Clapson



Robert Barlow



Terry McGarvey

A man with uncontrolled epilepsy and brain damage who was moved from the category of ‘Incapacity Benefit’ and told to attend a ‘Work Related Activity Group’ or lose his benefits. He hung himself in his house after his appeal was rejected.

A disabled man who could ride a bike but was unable to walk had benefits retroactively removed after he took part in a charity bike ride. He died of heart failure, his girlfriend said ‘he never had heart problems’.

A man found dead in his apartment, surrounded by CVs, with nothing in his stomach and £3.44 in his bank account. He died as a result of diabetes because he couldn’t afford the electricity to keep his insulin cool.

A man who needed a heart transplant and was given a year and a half to live by doctors was deemed ‘fit to work’ and had his benefits removed.

A man with a number of serious medical conditions was told to attend a fit-for-work assessment, despite not being well enough to attend. Out of fear of losing his benefits, the man forced himself to attend but needed an ambulance while being assessed and was taken to hospital. He died the following day..


Mark Wood



Jacqueline Harris



Shaun Pilkington



Tim Salter



Edward Jacques

A man described by his doctor as “extremely unwell and absolutely unfit for any work whatsoever” was deemed fit for work and had his unemployment benefits removed. As a result, his housing benefit was also removed. He starved to death weighing just 35kg.

A partially-sighted woman who could only walk with the aid of a stick was being deemed fit to work and told to get a job. She took an overdose and died after her appeal failed.

A man who committed suicide after he was told his benefits would be cut.

A partially sighted man with mental health problems who was declared ‘fit for work’ and had his benefits removed. He hung himself days before he was due to be evicted for not paying rent.

A man who suffered from HIV, hepatitis C, sciatica, severe depression, insomnia and dental pain, but was deemed fit for work and had his benefits removed after a 23 minute assessment. He killed himself with an overdose of various drugs.


David Barr



Lee Robinson



Nicholas Barker



Colin Traynor



Paul Turner

A man with severe mental problems who was on anti-psychotic sedatives, sleeping tablets and antidepressants and whose father believed he had schizophrenia was deemed fit for work. After his appeal failed, he jumped off a bridge to killed himself.

A man with depression ever since he had become unemployed had his job had his benefits stopped. As a result he also lost his housing and council tax benefit. He then committed suicide.

A man who had a brain haemorrhage and was paralysed on one side of his body. He committed suicide after learning that his benefits had been stopped.

A man with epilepsy who was declared fit for work and had his benefits taken from him. He appealed the decision but hung himself five weeks before the verdict, which was successful.

A man with ischaemic heart disease and angina who had a double bypass and had to reture from his job when he had a heart attack, was deemed fit for work and had his payment of £400 removed. He died of heart failure weeks later, due, according to his family, to the stress of having lost his benefits.


Craig Monk



Stephen Hill



Mark and Helen Mullins



Leanne Chambers



Paul Reekie

A man who had his leg partially amputated who hung himself after his benefits were cut.

Another man with severe heart problems who needed a bypass was deemed fit to work after already winning an appeal over the same judgement. His brother said ‘the worry put so much pressure on him’. He died of a heart attack a month later.

Helen had her daughter taken away because she suffered from learning difficulties but could not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance because she wasn’t fit for work. However, she couldn’t claim Incapacity Benefit either because she was not diagnosed with an official disease. Her husband Mark could not get carer’s allowance either for this reason. After struggling to get by for months, the two committed suicide in their home.

A woman suffering from depression who ‘took a turn for the worse’ after receiving news that she had to be assessed by a doctor to see if she was fit for work.

One of Edinburgh’s best known poets killed himself after learning that his benefits had been cut. Before dying, he laid out his benefit rejection letters on his bed.


Carl Payne



Karen Sherlock



Brian McArdle



Christelle Pardo

A man who had to leave his job due to a combination of arthritic knees, a debilitating stomach condition, colitis and injuries suffered in a motorbike accident committed suicide after receiving a letter saying he might have his incapacity benefits withdrawn.

A woman with failing eyesight who needed a kidney transplant was declared fit for work and had her benefits removed. She fought the decision and got it overturned, a few weeks before she died.

A man who suffered a stroke and was left paralysed down his left side, unable to speak properly, blind in one eye and barely able to eat or dress, was asked to attend a ‘fit-to-work’ assessment. He had another stroke two days before the appointment due to stress according to his son. His health deteriorated rapidly when he was found fit to work. He then had a heart attack and died the day after his payments were stopped.

A mother of one who had to provide proof of working in the UK for five years. There was a brief period in that time where she worked in a café but had no physical proof. As a result she was denied income support and had her housing benefit and child benefit withdrawn. After trying for months to appeal the decision and bring the Department to tribunal, she jumped out the window of her sister’s sixth-floor apartment with her child, killing them both.

United States of America



Maria Fernandes

A woman who worked four jobs to make ends meet. She would often sleep in her car and leave a cannister of gas in her trunk so she wouldn’t be late for work if she ran out of fuel. She died while she slept after the cannister spilled, releasing toxic fumes into the car.

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