The 56-year-old man had just learned that his benefits could be slashed if he did not accept work found for him, the Daily Mail reported.
He reportedly placed the severed foot in a wood stove to make sure doctors could not reattach it to his leg.
On Monday, after his wife and son had left the house, Hans Url, positioned his left leg against an electric saw in the boiler room and severed his foot above the ankle. Images from the scene show an electric table saw – apparently wiped clean – surrounded by shallow pools of blood. On the stove were a lighter and ashtray filled with cigarette butts.
Bleeding profusely and on the verge of death, Url called an ambulance. Emergency staff found him covered in blood, and they retrieved the foot from the fire.
Url was airlifted to a hospital in Graz. Hospital officials said he nearly died from loss of blood, according to the Daily Mail. Url is now out of danger, but doctors were not able to reattach his foot because it was too badly burned.
“He wants to work, but gets nothing suitable,” Monika, Url’s wife of 36 years, told the Kronen Zeitung. “My husband felt so worthless.”