5:45pm Monday 10th December 2012
By Graeme Hetherington
A GRANDDAD was left speechless when he rang to query why his benefits had been stopped – only to be told he was officially dead.
Eddie Potts only realised there was a problem when he checked his bank account to find he had not received his Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
He contacted the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and was told: “You’ve been registered dead.”
As an investigation was carried out into what had happened, the 66-year-old was given a similar response when he later asked why his pension payments hadn’t gone into his bank.
“The person on the other end of the line checked it out and said ‘I’m sorry but we’ve been told by your son that you’re dead’. I don’t have a son."
"I’ve nearly had a heart attack over this, it could send me into an early grave.”
To compound matters, just last week a letter from HM Revenues and Customs, addressed to ‘the personal representative of Mr E Potts’ at his home address informed ‘his representative’ they could claim or repay tax on any of his estate and stating ‘I’m sorry to hear of your bereavement and recognise that this will be a difficult time’.
The document even had the date of Eddie’s “death” as November 7, 2012.
The pensioner, from Portmadoc Walk, in the Throston Grange area of Hartlepool, has hit out at the DWP saying the department should have carried out more thorough checks before believing he had died and stopping his money.
The retired PSV driver said he asked the DWP how this could happen if they did not have a death certificate, and was told it can take up two three weeks to receive the document.
“They should never have stopped my money in the meantime, they should have had more proof,” he said.
His payments have now re-started and the DWP has apologised and vowed to investigate how this happened.
A DWP spokeswoman said: “We acted urgently to reinstate Mr Potts benefits as soon as the issue came to light.
“We apologise unreservedly and are investigating fully.”
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