MP calls for £10k benefits death review

Jamie Rosengren
Image caption Jamie Rosengren died weeks after being handed a large back-dated disability payment of £10,000

An MP has called for a review into the death of a man believed to have spent a large benefits payout on drugs.

Jamie Rosengren from Bristol, who had a history of mental health and drug problems, died weeks after getting a £10,000 backdated disability payment.

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones said it was "the type of situation we need to avoid in the future".

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it would be inappropriate to comment ahead of an inquest.

'He was unstable'

The 28-year-old received the lump sum on 26 September and in just over three weeks he was nearly £800 overdrawn. Bank statements show he was withdrawing up to £600 a day.

Mr Rosengren was found dead on 22 October with traces of cocaine in his blood.

Mr Jones said although the DWP could not have foreseen the consequences, the "situation wouldn't have arisen if the government hadn't have given a lump sum payment".

He has now asked the department to review Mr Rosengren experience in detail and has written to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd, calling for better safeguards.

Image caption Jamie was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was placed in the care of AWP

The family of Mr Rosengren believe he had been exploited by drug dealers and questioned the decision to give someone with his history of problems such a large amount of money.

He was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia and in the care of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP).

But despite having been previously sectioned, he won a tribunal to live in unsupervised social services accommodation.

"Would you really give someone with a severe mental health problem that kind of money?" his father Ernst Rosengren said.

"It's like giving an alcoholic a lot of money.

"He was very aggressive, he was unstable. He was quite violent, he attacked a police car with a guitar once."

'My only son'

He said had he been made aware his son was getting such a large amount of cash, he would have taken action as he knew he would spend the money on drugs to self-medicate his mental illness.

"I don't know how we're going to get over it. He was my only son," added Mr Rosengren.

Charity Second Step had helped Jamie Rosengren apply for the benefits payout but gave no further support.

Both AWP and Second Step said it would be "inappropriate" to comment ahead of the inquest on 19 March.

Second Step said it was conducting a review of the circumstances of Mr Rosengren's death.

The DWP said: "We work to ensure that people get the full financial support that they are entitled to, alongside the care provided by local health and social services."

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