A man with a disability, David Rollins, faced charges related to possessing a chemical weapon after attempting suicide by ingesting poison pills at a Job Centre.
Rollins, distressed over the potential loss of half his already limited income, took this drastic step on June 23 while awaiting a decision on his Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
In an email to the Disability News Service, he attributed his actions to the slow decision-making process of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its assessment providers, Maximus and Capita.
Apart from the PIP claim, Rollins was notified of the need for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), causing concern about potential reductions in his Universal Credit payment.
WCAs determine the conditions for individuals to continue receiving Universal Credit, including attending interviews, training, and a minimum weekly job search requirement.
Rollins accused DWP departments of collectively undermining claimants, expressing dread over correspondence that seemingly dismissed symptoms of poor mental health and fibromyalgia.
Despite informing the DWP about his suicidal thoughts and objections to a WCA, Rollins received an automated response and the assessment form.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to possessing a chemical weapon in Leicester Crown Court, facing additional charges of producing a chemical weapon and intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance.
After spending six months in prison since the suicide attempt, Rollins shared his frustrations with the system’s handling of cases like his.