A MOTHER was called the day after her son’s funeral to ask why he hadn’t attended a meeting about his Jobseekers’ Allowance.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has apologised to Jacqueline Brown, who says she was appalled to receive the phone call on Tuesday, despite filling out all the necessary forms to tell them what had happened.
Jacqueline’s son, 31-year-old James, was first taken to hospital with meningitis several weeks earlier.
“I think it’s disgraceful what they have done,” she said.
“Less than 24 hours after I buried my son I was taking calls demanding to know where he was.
“I did everything they asked and they have lied to me and continued to keep contacting me.”
James was found unconscious in his Toothill home by police in June and was first taken to the Great Western Hospital before being transferred to the John Radcliffe in Oxford to treat an infection in his brain.
Despite the treatment, he did not regain consciousness and remained in a coma for several weeks. Before he died on July 24, Jacqueline remained hopeful he would recover and was concerned he would lose his Jobseekers Allowance while in hospital, leaving him unable to pay rent.
“I went into the Jobcentre and the person I spoke to told me I would need to get legal advice first,” said Jacqueline.
“I asked if there was a form. He went away and came back with the form I had to fill in.
“I came back a week later with all the documents, including one from the hospital to say James was there.
“This time the man was really helpful and stamped everything to say it was in order.”
But the money was stopped and Jacqueline was told it was because James had not attended meetings.
She was given power of attorney of her son’s affairs but still the DWP were not convinced,.When her son died Jacqueline was advised to fill out an online form which should have notified every department.
But the devastated mother continued to be contacted, culminating in Tuesday’s call about the missed meeting. A DWP spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Brown. We are sorry for what has happened and have been in touch with Mrs Brown to apologise.”