Woman mistakenly declared dead after applying for support for mother’s funeral


Samantha Coburn, 35, from northeast England, received an official Government letter weeks after she submitted her request for help – and it said that her child benefit would be stopped following her passing

Samantha Coburn
Samantha Coburn is mourning the loss of her mother Tracey and the letter shocked her

A heartbroken woman was mistakenly declared dead after an awkward mix up while applying for financial support for her mum’s funeral.

Samantha Coburn, 35, claims she contacted the Government to apply for help after her mum Tracy Woodhead, 55, died on December 16.

But while her request was being processed a mistake was made and Samantha says she was formally ruled as deceased.

The shocked mum-of-three received a Government letter around a month after she submitted her request, stating they were sad to hear of the passing – of herself.

The letter, dated January 27, read: ‘I’m sorry to hear that Samantha Coburn has died’.

The mum contacted the Bereavement Fund Service to apply for financial support for her mum’s funeral
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Image:

Samantha Coburn/SWNS)

It continued to say her child benefit payments would be terminated and a new claim should be made.

Samantha, from northeast England, said: “My mum passed away last year, and we needed financial support for the funeral.

“I submitted my bereavement grant application, and they accidentally gave me a death date as well as my mum.

“My mum died on December 16, and that’s the date my fictitious death was recorded too.

“About a month after the call, everybody started notifying me of my own death!


Samantha says the added stress wasn’t needed after a devastating time
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Image:

Samantha Coburn/SWNS)

“Letters from child benefit terminating my allowance and a bereavement tax credit bill were delivered to my home.

“It said right there in black and white that I was dead. It was really bizarre reading that about myself.

“This has been a really difficult time without the added stress of everyone thinking I’m dead, and for the meantime, there’s nothing anyone can really do about it.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before so there’s no strategy in place to fix it.”

Samantha, who is currently unemployed, claims she has been told that she will have to reapply for child benefit as her previous application is now void.

They were told that her child benefit would be stopped following her death
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Image:

Samantha Coburn/SWNS)

This has left her with no income to support her family, she says, so she has had to apply for emergency welfare assistance.

To add insult to injury, Samantha says her bereavement funding application for her mother’s funeral was denied on the grounds her brother is employed.

Samantha added: “I’m really frustrated, as all of this and I haven’t even been granted the funding me and my family desperately need.

“It’s their fault we’ve got no income now and yet they’re not even providing us with the financial support for the funeral.

“They’ve both refused my claim and killed me in the same action, so, as you can imagine, I’m not very happy.”

HMRC and Samantha’s local council have been approached for comment.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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