The lady on hunger strike re: her soldier son

(14 Posts)

I may be missing the point, but I caught this on tv this morning briefly. CAn someone please explain her actual issue? Not being deliberatley obtuse by the way, I honestly didn't understand!

LtEveDallas Wed 28-Nov-12 09:19:24

From what I understand (only caught a bit of it myself) she was on benefits (and possibly DLA?). If you are on benefits you cannot have more than 16K in savings (again, not completely sure). After her eldest son died (in Afghanistan) she got about £200K in 'compensation' and life insurance.

Because of that she lost some (all?) of her benefits. I think she still gets her DLA.

There is an article HERE

I've got to say, it says in the article that she has already spent over half of the money she received on living expenses. I find that hard to believe.

I'm also astounded that she tried to take her own life in the summer - I understand being full of despair after losing her son, but she has other children that need her. How could she do that to them?

This is a very sad story, but what on earth is a hunger strike going to do to help?

CaseyShraeger Wed 28-Nov-12 09:25:01

As I understand it, on the son's death his estate got £200k or so in death in service and insurance payouts. He had apparently said that he wanted the money to go to his younger brothers but hadn't made a will or nominated them as beneficiaries on the insurance, so the money went directly to his mother as next of kin. This means that she loses her means-tested benefits because the £200k counts as "savings", so it'll all end up being spent on basic living expenses until it's all gone.

I can sympathise -- effectively this means that William's death in the service of his country benefits only the taxpayer and his family effectively won't see a net penny, which isn't really the point of the death in service benefits or of paying out insurance premiums. But on the other hand if he'd been properly advised over wills and financial planning his apparent wishes could have been met quite easily under the existing rules.

That's what I thought. I was getting quite angry with her - I know I will be flamed here but- she got compensation, she has two more children. How selfish?? As she rightly said, no amount of money will bring him back, but a lot of people are killed or die in situations which aren't war and people do, sadly, have to get on with it. My own father died when i was very small - my mother got nothing but a small widows pension. It all seems not right to me. Sorry sad

whistlestopcafe Wed 28-Nov-12 09:27:04

If she gave the money to her sons would she still be entitled to benefits?

RancerDoo Wed 28-Nov-12 09:32:20

But surely the benefits system exists to help those who can't help themselves.
If you have 200k - however you came by it- why shouldn't you be expected to support yourself?
The lady said that if she worked she would have been able to "keep" the DIS payment. Well yes. But that isn't an injustice, unless you think state benefits are a right that should be provided to people regardless of the other resources they may have. And it doesn't mean that her son's death only benefits the taxpayer, because she could spend the money on her remaining children and requalify for benefits.

LtEveDallas Wed 28-Nov-12 09:34:20

He would have made a will Casey, all soldiers have to before they deploy. Unfortunately we only have his mothers word for it that he wanted any death-in-service to go to his brothers - Military Wills are actually very easy to complete, and make it very obvious regarding Beneficiaries etc.

I am surprised that she has managed to spend 100K in 3 years though - would she have spent that much money otherwise?

I don't know why she mentions the Military Covenant in her statement - from what I understand it has been fulfilled correctly in her case.

CaseyShraeger Wed 28-Nov-12 09:53:03

Well, I thought they all had to have wills (even knew that they could make wills before 18, which IIRC the rest of us can't), but assumed I must have been wrong given that it wasn't mentioned here. So presumably he actually made a will fairly shortly before his death but didn't mention all the wishes that his mother says he had (although I suppose he may not have wanted to leave the money directly to his brothers, just thought that his mother could use it to pay for extras for them).

How much advice would he have been given by the army before making the will, LtEve? For example, would someone have sat down with him and said "So, who do you want the money to go to.... mmm, and what are her financial circumstances at the moment... OK, to achieve the result you actually want to get you might want to think about doing X, Y and Z..." or would he just have been given the form to fill in? I am very very very rusty on this, but if the money had been left as a family trust, for example, I think it could have been used for the benefit of his brothers without counting as "savings" for the mother. In fact I wonder whether she could have executed a variation to set up a family trust herself if she'd had proper advice after his death?

I suspect the root problem is that she just isn't coping well with the aftermath of his death and the financial issue is an obvious focus for her distress and anger.

LtEveDallas Wed 28-Nov-12 09:58:13

How much advice would he have been given by the army before making the will, LtEve? For example, would someone have sat down with him and said "So, who do you want the money to go to.... mmm, and what are her financial circumstances at the moment... OK, to achieve the result you actually want to get you might want to think about doing X, Y and Z..." or would he just have been given the form to fill in?

I depends really on how good the unit is. The right thing to do would be as you said, but unfortunately a Regtl Deployment means that very few people are trying to assist a huge number of people. I would like to think that I can advise our young soldiers, but I know its not always possible.

Every unit will have a yearly financial brief from outside agencies that cover things like Wills and Insurances etc, but whether he would have attended...your guess is as good as mine.

I agree, I think her issue is anger, and that will be hard to overcome.

I just think she's being remarkably selfish and thoughtless. Her other sons will see all this. The voice over before it was shown was something along the lines of 'as she waits to die from hunger..' So, their brother was more important than them? So sad sad

webhead Wed 28-Nov-12 21:02:58

I saw on daybreak and i was also confused. Its a fair bit of money though you wouldnt want the money if you get to keep you son but risking her own life when she has two other kids seems odd to me.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 28-Nov-12 21:13:00

What's to stop her either spending the money so she has no savings and can go back on benefits or giving the money to her other sons?

She could buy a big House, they could live in it for a bit and then sell when the boys are older and give them the money? Or couldn't she put the money Ito accounts in their names now?

Or would this get her into trouble with benefit people?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 22:02:43

I agree, she sounds very selfish and very entitled.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 22:01:49

I would imagine in most cases this money is with dependents in mind?

It´s a horrible thing though-I suppose she is focusing on it to perhaps take her mind off her son´s death.

I did wonder why she couldn´t have put it into accounts for her other sons, though?

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