Dale Ballentine, left, with his father Jimmy who took his own life earlier this year. They are pictured with Jimmy’s daughter Clare’s twin sons.

Chalk up another death to the Department for Work and Pensions.

At this time of heightened terror alert, it is worth pointing out that – including the fatalities in Manchester on Monday – the total number of deaths from terror attacks in the UK since 2010 is 35.

The DWP notched up 2,400 deaths of Employment and Support Allowance claimants alone, between the beginning of December 2011 and the end of May 2014.

And the deaths are still happening. Jimmy Ballentine suffered from depression and other mental health issues. After the DWP told him he had been overpaid benefit because he had too much money in savings, it would have been important to tell him the exact situation and offer advice on how to solve it, before it affected his medical condition.

But the DWP didn’t bother. Mr Ballentine was left waiting – with tragic consequences.

We all know what the DWP response to any inquiries would be: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons for them are complex, however it would be inaccurate and misleading to link it solely to a person’s benefit claim.”

The fact that it can be linked to a benefit claim at all should be enough to damn the Department and everybody in it.


The grieving family of a former coal miner who took his own life after being investigated by benefit fraud officers believe he would still be here if he had been told him how much money he needed to repay.

James ‘Jimmy’ Ballentine overdosed on prescription drugs on the day of his twin grandsons’ fourth birthday earlier this year – leaving beside him a suicide note to loved ones.

The proud 60-year-old had months earlier learned he had over-claimed benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after receiving a letter from the Fraud Investigation Team.

The father-of-two, who suffered from depression and other mental health issues including schizophrenia, was told he had been over-claiming for a decade.

It is understood Mr Ballentine made efforts to find out how much money he owed but was unable to get an answer.

Source: Heartbreaking last words of Consett grandfather who took his life after DWP investigation (From The Northern Echo)

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