Dundee City Council is to apologise after telling a 75-year-old woman her pension payments had been stopped because she was dead.
Great-gran Ann Hunter was told on four separate occasions by both the local authority and the Department for Work and Pensions that her pension had been stopped due to her death.
The council has now admitted the blunder and said it was investigating the matter.
Ann, from Fintry, said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“On four separate occasions I was told I was dead.
“Dundee City Council and the DWP both insisted I was dead.
“When I spoke to someone at the city council about this and assured them I was well and truly alive, the response was ‘oops, sorry, we thought you were dead’.
“I couldn’t believe my ears.
“When I asked them how they had got their information and what checks they had made, they told me they looked at the death notices in the Dundee papers.
“They hadn’t even bothered to go to the registrar to ask for my death certificate.
“Things got even worse when the council sent out letters to my home address, commiserating with my family on my death and asking why my rent was still being paid for my council house because I was dead.”
Ann said the first she knew about it was in February when she noticed that her bank balance was reducing.
“I knew this shouldn’t be happening because my late husband’s work pension gets paid into it every month, as it has done for the past 21 years,” she said.
“When I made inquiries I was told by the council that they had stopped the payments because they believed I was dead.
“On the second occasion someone appeared at my door from the council, asking why rent and rates were still being paid for the property, because again they had been told that I had died.
“Recently, when I went to collect my pension they refused to give it to me – again because they said I had died.
“When I phoned the DWP they told me they had got their information from Dundee City Council.”
The final straw for Ann came when she received a letter last week, addressed to her next of kin, saying “sorry for your loss of Ann Hunter”.
“How many times do I have to tell them I am alive?” said Ann.
“I am laughing about it although this has caused me a lot of upset and stress.
“Among other things my bank account was really low because the payments had been stopped.
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“I ended up not being able to withdraw any money from my account because there was nothing in it – no payment had been put in.
“It was very embarrassing.
“Since then I have had all the money reinstated but that doesn’t make it any easier when you’re told four times that you’re dead.
“Then to be told ‘oops, sorry we thought you were dead’, well that’s hardly a suitable response to the distress I’ve been caused.
“I would like an apology from the council and the DWP for this dreadful mess.”
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “We will be apologising directly to the individual. The council will be looking into the circumstances which led to this situation.”
A DWP spokesman added: “We apologise that Mrs Hunter’s state pension payments were not paid recently for a one-week period.
“This was rectified by issuing an arrears payment as soon as we were made aware – her state pension is now being paid correctly on the usual payment cycle.
“The DWP was incorrectly notified by the local council that Mrs Hunter was deceased.”