A distraught and angry wife took her husband’s ashes to court in a heartbreaking attempt to finally seek justice for a man who had worked all his life before becoming ill.
Ann Dale was determined to prove the DWP was wrong to deny her husband Albert vital disability benefits, which may have helped to ease the family’s suffering and financial concerns in the run up to his death.
Albert, 64, suffered from a number of debiliating illnesses, including obstructive pulmonary disease and type 2 diabetes, but was twice denied benefits by callous DWP officials.
However, he sadly lost his battle for life before an appeal could be heard. Ann, 59, was determined to find justice for her husband, so when a letter arrived informing her of the court date she was eager to have her day in court.
She told the Sunday Mirror: “I made him a promise on his deathbed that I would fight his case. I thought when he died that his appeal would die with him.
“The DWP was paying me a widow’s pension so they knew he’d died. But last month I got a letter with a court date.
“I just thought, ‘Right, we’re going to have our day in court’.”
Commenting on how the DWP handled Albert’s benefit claim, Ann said: “He was so upset. He kept saying ‘they’re calling me a liar’.
“He paid in all his life and he’d never claimed a penny. And when he did claim, he received nothing.
“He was a good, hardworking, honest man and he couldn’t believe the way he was treated.
“When he finished it broke him. If he could have worked he would have.
“But he looked like a 90-year-old man when he walked – doddery, like he was drunk. It was soul-destroying.”
He stopped working as a locomotive cleaner in December 2017.
She added: “They’ve created this atmosphere saying people are scrounging, but that’s not true. They are targeting the most needy, it’s cruel.”
Arriving in court with her two children Samantha and Johnpaul, aged 42 and 40 repectively, Johnpaul carmly took his father’s ashes and placed them on the table where the family were seated.
Ann said: “I could tell they were uncomfortable. To be fair, they didn’t make the original decision, but they got the brunt of it.
“I felt a bit sorry for them, the guy from the DWP looked horrified, but it was his department that made the decision.”
The court of appeal agreed that the DWP were wrong to refuse Albert Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and he was postumously awarded both the daily living (£87.65) and mobility (£61.20) components of PIP.
The court also backdated the PIP payments to November 2018, which will be paid to his family.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Dale’s family and we are sorry for the distress caused.”