"Mr A Deceased" court letter causes distress for grieving Derbyshire mother

Colin Hampton has been a coordinator for Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre for almost 35 years.
Colin Hampton has been a coordinator for Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre for almost 35 years.

A North East Derbyshire mum has spoken out after a letter was sent referring to her son as “Mr A. Deceased”

A mother has been left "extremely upset" by a "insensitive" that letter was sent to her representatives in Chesterfield from court officials.

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Her son, 44, was appealing a decision to cut his disability benefits with the support of the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre.

The man died on 1 May, before his appeal was heard, after suffering from respiratory failure and pneumonia.

During the appeal process, a letter was sent by HM Courts and Tribunals Service who were dealing with the appeal.

The letter referred to the man as "Mr.A Deceased" and uses the terms "extinct/rare benefits".

The man’s mother, who wishes not to be named, was "appalled by the insensitivity" of the letter.

She was left "devastated at the inhumanity of the correspondence" regarding her son’s case.

She told the Derbyshire Times: "It was extremely upsetting to witness a letter that only referred to my son as a national insurance number and tribunal reference.

"Losing your son is something no mother wants to experience.

"The least you expect is for the powers that be to display some common decency."

Colin Hampton, coordinator of Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre, based in Chesterfield for nearly 35 years, had advised the mother that she could continue with the appeal to pursue justice for her son even after his death.

Colin said: "The way people are being denied benefit is carried out on an industrial scale.

"People have disability benefits assessed and then wrongly denied.

"The Department of Works and Pension hope that they do not appeal and take the financial hit that impacts on their lives.

"If they die, it appears inconsequential to them, they are merely collateral damage.

"That’s how a man becomes Mr.A Deceased."

The mother, a former volunteer at DUWC from North East Derbyshire, attended the tribunal on Monday 4 November where the Tribunal overturned the DWP decision.

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Her son was awarded the benefits that had been "wrongly taken away".

She now has given permission for the letter to be made public so "no one else goes through what she has endured".

Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, has stated "we are urgently investigating what has happened here. I regret the upset that this has caused and would like to apologise, and express my deepest sympathy to the family and I will be writing to them shortly".

Anyone wishing to challenge DWP decisions should contact DUWC on 01246 231441