Spennymoor family hit out after dead man is invited by job centre to attend for appointment (From The Northern Echo)
For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Spennymoor family hit out after dead man is invited by job centre to attend for appointment
A FATHER-OF-TWO who suffered from cancer was sent a letter after his death informing him that he had to turn up at the job centre for an interview.
The family of David Graham said they were “shocked and disgusted” by the error.
Mr Graham, 49, a former security guard, had been claiming employment and support allowance prior to his death in April this year.
His widow Wendy was therefore stunned when a letter was received from his local job centre requesting that he attend for a work-focused interview.
Mrs Graham, from Spennymoor, County Durham, also separately received a letter saying Mr Graham’s claim was overpaid by five days and inviting her to reimburse it.
Mrs Graham was too upset to talk, but her niece Julie Briggs, of Ash Grove, Spennymoor, said: “We’re shocked and disgusted and my auntie has been in pieces over this. She was in tears when I spoke to her. All it has done is dragged things up again.
“I rang them and said unfortunately he will not be able to make it because he has died.
“It is a long enough time for them to realise that he is no longer with us. His bank account had been closed, no payments were being made to it, and a death certificate had been issued.”
She said her aunt had visited the nearest job centre, in Spennymoor, in order to cancel her husband’s benefit, adding: “She had done everything right because she did not want a mix-up like this.”
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed Mr Graham was sent a standard letter requesting he attend for what was a follow-up appointment, but said staff were unaware of his death at the time.
As soon as the mistake was realised, a letter was sent to Mrs Graham apologising for any distress that had been caused.
The overpayment occurred as a result of an automatic direct debit with some of the payment covering a period when her husband was alive.
The DWP said it was standard procedure to write to inform of an overpayment, although Mrs Graham was not obliged to pay the money back.
A spokeswoman said: “Repayment of overpayments is on a voluntary basis. We have apologised for any distress caused to Mr Graham’s family.”
Comments are closed on this article.