Breast cancer mum on Universal Credit had to wait 8 weeks to get cash to pay for son's funeral
Desperate cancer patient Diane Hannaby, 52, was left in debt after waiting weeks to get help to afford the costs after Ashley died suddenly aged 34.
His body had to be left in the morgue for months because she was £900 short of the money needed, the i newspaper reported.
She said: "It was absolutely awful. I couldn’t bear the thought of him lying there all alone with none of his loved ones around him.
"It prolonged my grief as I couldn’t say goodbye to my son properly."
In September of this year Ashley was found dead at his flat – just a day after his mum last spoke to him.
Diane, who is living in Weymoth, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had to give up work as a cleaner supervisor.
A year later she developed tongue cancer, suffered a heart attack and was found to have coronary heart disease too.
On top of that ordeal she developed neck cancer AND suffered a collapsed lung before her son passed away.
But because she'd only gone onto Universal Credit in August, she was told she would have to wait before she was entitled to get help with funeral costs too.
“We were very close and he had gone through a rough patch too but was coming out the other side,” Diane recalled.
"He was desperate to give up drinking and was waiting for a place on a rehab programme and was feeling positive about the future.
"He adored his kids and was talking about starting work as a fork lift driver again once he’d been to rehab and getting his life back on track.
"I remember him telling me he loved me and would see me soon before he hung up. It was the last thing he ever said to me."
Planning the funeral Diane had to apply for a special expenses payment to help those with the fees.
But she was told she had to wait up to 8 weeks to get the funds as she was new to Universal Credit – and the £1,500 covered didn't cover all the expenses.
"I chose the most basic coffin and only wanted a few flowers – nothing fancy," she added.
"It meant I had to wait until after my next payout to claim for the funeral costs – eight weeks in total for them to make a decision and unable to bury Ashley all that time.
"I was financially broke by then and emotionally broken too."
She was able to scrape the funds together from family and friends, and finally said goodbye to her son in November.
But now she's £3,000 in debt and has had to borrow hundreds.
"I have no idea how I'm going to pay it off," she said.
"I have just about enough for food and heating, but nothing left over for Christmas presents.
"I am even going to be spending Christmas alone at home this year because I can't afford to see my family."
Friends have set up a Justgiving page to help her pay off some of her debts.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit targets support to those that need it most – when it’s fully rolled out many disabled people will get £100 a month more on average than they did with ESA. People can receive Personal Independence Payments alongside Universal Credit, to help with the extra costs of being disabled. “We are committed to supporting people during bereavement and people can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment while they are waiting to hear about their Universal Credit claim.”
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