Grief made worse by DWP…

My Mum died in January suddenly and unexpectedly. I am the Executor for her estate and have done my best to cope with the ‘sadmin’ whilst grieving. In early May the DWP contacted me after probate had been granted to query my Mum’s pension credit payments. Apparently they can do this as it’s an additional payment based on eligibility. I had to fill in a very strange form, then subsequently provide evidence as requested. Now, almost six months later I have been asked for bank statements for the past six years. I’m so angry on my Mum’s behalf as it feels like they’re going to judge how she decided to spend her money! Each letter has triggered a huge wave of unsettling grief for me, the stress feels overwhelming. I just don’t know how they can justify such cruel treatment for grieving relatives. I wish they would check their facts thoroughly whilst claimants are still alive to avoid such heartbreak after death!


Oh my goodness I really feel for you, this is so similar to what has happened to me. My mum passed away at the end of March and the DWP were pretty much straight onto me about possible ‘overpayments’.

As with you, they asked me to fill out a form and provide evidence, which I did. They actually asked me to go back 13 years to provide statements, but even my mum’s bank don’t hold documents from that long ago! Anyway, when I called them last week for an update they told me that they are 3 months behind with looking at claims. - they made me feel as though I was asking them to do me a favour and I have found the tone of their correspondence quite threatening and accusing. If there has been an overpayment, by all means take it back, but it would have been an innocent error/oversight and surely the time to check these things would be at the time of them making the payment!

Like you said, do they not think grieving, heartbroken relatives have got enough on their minds without them harassing us and making us jump through hoops at the worst time of our lives?

I just wanted to let you know that you’re not the only one they’re chasing and they’re not singling you out. I know it doesn’t help you much, but you have made me feel better that at least it’s just the way they work rather than it being personal to my mum.

I know exactly what you mean, I am angry on my mum’s behalf too. I honestly don’t care about the money. but I know how upset my mum would be about it all if she were still here and that really hurts.

Sending you love and best wishes xx


@Lucy7 thanks so much for your response. The whole situation makes me feel so distressed and upset. I’ve rung them twice now and each time I’ve been told how behind they are with their caseload. To be told they need more evidence after a three month wait is just ridiculous. I agree, their tone is very threatening and totally inappropriate for grieving relatives! The paperwork makes it very clear that Executors or personal representatives will be held responsible! I agreed to be my Mum’s Executor, thinking it would mainly be straightforward admin but I completely underestimated how it would impact on me emotionally. Best wishes to you xx


Exactly, the whole things makes a terrible situation even worse and exacerbates the grief. They also threatened me not to distribute my mum’s estate until they have finished their investigation, even though they have no idea when that will be!

I feel the same, had I realised how emotionally draining and complex being my mum’s administrator would be, I would have suggested my brother take over as he is less sentimental than me.

I’m sure they must now by now what they are looking for, so I can’t understand why it is taking so long. I don’t think I’ll call them again though because, when I did, they made me feel that I shouldn’t be questioning them.

Thank you for listening to me, it has really helped xx

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@Lucy7 in the face of such torture it’s very reassuring to know that I’m not the only one going through it. I’m also trying to manage the process of selling my Mum’s house and it’s unfortunately proving to be the slowest and most protracted sale I’ve ever experienced! :weary: Sometimes I wonder how I’ll get through all of this…xx

That must be even more stressful and triggering, having to sell your mum’s house on top of everything else.

You will get through it though, somehow, it’s amazing what we’re capable of when needs must, I like to think our mums are giving us the strength we need to get through these horrendous times xx

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My mum was getting carers and income support, she had overpayments but when I rang them they asked if I used the money towards the funeral costs which I did and they wiped it from the system.

My gran on the other hand ended up having to pay back overpayments like 2 years after my Grandad passed away.

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It’s terrible isn’t it. I’m glad you managed to sort your mum’s out, but your poor gran having to pay back money 2 years later is horrendous, they really don’t seem to have any compassion.

It just seems to be one thing after another at the moment, like a never ending merry-go-round of sadness and torment. I’m trying to take things step by step and one day at a time, but it’s so exhausting, I know you’ll know what I mean by that xx


I’m going through this at the moment with the DWP, they looking into my mum’s estate if they can make a claim or not. It does hurt that they would take money once the person no longer with us It’s hard has it is, mum would want me and sis to have her money not the DWP. Makes you want to give up and join her.

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Hi Keith, I’m sorry you are going through this too. The DWP are still harassing me for information nearly 12 months after my mum has passed. Just when I think I have provided everything they’ve asked for, they ask for something else!

It is very frustrating and I’m certain now that they will recoup my mum’s entire estate (not that it’s exactly huge), I am not concerned about the money so much but, like you, the fact that my mum thought she was leaving my brother and myself a little something as a token of her love and I know she would be very upset at them reclaiming it. They do seem determined though, so I just wish they would make a decision and it could all be resolved.

It’s just another distressing task to have to deal with when we’re already going through so much. Try not to take as it personally though, I suppose they are just doing their jobs and you’re definitely not alone as they seem to investigate a lot of families after their loved ones have passed. :two_hearts:

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Hi @Lucy7 and @Keith68 it’s an awful experience. I still hadn’t heard the result after my Mum had been gone for a year. When I rang I was told they were overwhelmed with work so couldn’t promise when they would resolve it! I waited another month and last week finally received the outcome. What a stressful process which started at the beginning of May last year and took them ten months to sort out. It truly is the most unfeeling and frustrating action towards grief stricken relatives. If my Mum had been aware of the impact for me I am certain she would never had applied for pension credit in the first place! Hope it gets resolved for you soon. Best wishes xx

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Oh no :pensive:

I think it’s so unreasonable that we have to deal with this so soon after a bereavement, as well. Within 6 months, if there is inheritance tax to pay, and within 12 months under certain circumstances.

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It certainly is awful and stressful, I have actually been quite shocked by their tone - I was accused of not declaring my mum’s premium bonds when I had no idea that she held any! It was only a small amount anyway, but they made me feel like a criminal.

I’m so pleased you have finally reached a resolution with them, although it was a horrible experience for you. Do you mind me asking if the house sale went through in the end, I know that was causing you additional stress?

Exactly, if our mums knew what it would have ultimately put us through, they would never have applied for it. I’m just upset that my mum didn’t manage to spend it on herself and, if she had, they wouldn’t have been able to reclaim it.

Sending you best wishes xx

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I had to speak to them as the solicitor thought she had done her bit by writing to them and now it was a waiting game. Solicitor moaned at my sister about my tone of email. Which I feels is rather pathetic as she will expect her money for handling the case. If DWP take all of my mums estate she can ask them for her money. Why is it no one tells you about this while your mum is alive, it could of been avoided. Not impressed at all!

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Hi @Lucy7 eventually a year after the house went on the market the sale was finally completed. The chain collapsed twice and in December I was quite desperate and contacted auction companies about selling it at a potential huge loss by auction. However in the end the original buyers financed the sale by getting a buy to let mortgage for their own property. After completion I felt relieved but sad as although the empty house was so hard to visit, it was the last physical connection to my Mum. I’m slowly getting used to the finality of my Executor role, just waiting for the utility company to sort out the credit from Mum’s account. The whole experience has been a real trial of endurance! Best wishes xx

Hi all
Have read all your post about dealing with the DWP
Do you have a welfare rights place where you live. Go along to them, not saying they can or will help, but it might be worth asking.

Have you spoke the bereavement dept at DWP. They might be of help.

Got CAB place


Go and talk to someone there.
Might be worth a try.
Good luck. Hope all works out for you

Hi Rosiepink,

Sorry for the very late reply, I’ve not been feeling the best lately. I’m relieved for you that the house sale went through in the end, albeit a lot later than you expected and a lot more traumatic! I know exactly what you mean about the property being the last physical connection to your mum, it is very hard to let go of that comforting link to our loved ones. I’m having to move out of the home i shared with my mum shortly and I’m finding it hard to accept I will have to live in a place that my mum wasn’t part of. I have to admit that, even a year after my mum passed, I have still not managed to face sorting through her belongings and they are all still exactly as she left them. I have attempted to start this task a few times, but have failed on each occasion as I can’t bear the thought of disturbing her much loved possessions.

I also understand how you’re feeling about your role of Executor coming to an end. Although it has been very stressful and, at times, made me quite angry with companies demanding financial details at such a traumatic time, it also has given me a purpose and kept me distracted whether I liked it or not!

I hope you are doing ok at the moment and that you can at least feel a sense of accomplishment now that your mum’s estate has been settled. Best wishes xx

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Hi @Lucy7 I feel for you… the process of sorting through the cherished possessions is very hard, no matter when it’s done. My brother and I had to do it more or less straight away because we needed to put the house on the market. We were also struggling with seeing everything left in place. In hindsight I think I would have liked to have left it a bit longer but at the time the shock of grief stunned me into an emotional decision. The only thing that kept me going as we did it was the belief that this difficult time would eventually come to an end. This has kind of been my mantra since my Mum died actually… just knowing that time and feelings shift and change. Sending you strength and courage as you face this next challenge. Best wishes xx

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