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0 SWNS MARY MORLEY 010

A widow has been stripped of her nest egg by her local council because she saved too much of her pension.

Mary Morley, 86, did not want to burden her family after retiring in 1998 at 65, so she began tucking away part of her State Pension every week.

But the former chambermaid, who received £149.54 a week, has been stripped of her savings after she unwittingly kept more than the £16,000 allowed by people claiming the Housing Benefit.

Frail pensioner Mrs Morley, who has learning difficulties, is being dragged through the courts as Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) claws back the cash.

The scandal sees elderly people on low incomes stripped of their nest eggs by councils fed information from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Express reported.

Mrs Morley, from Stibbington, Cambridgeshire, has lived alone since her husband Cedric died in 2001. She has carers twice a day.

Her son David, 60, said: “My mum has scrimped and saved all her life. She was plunged into depression overnight and has lost the independence that she has guarded so fiercely until now.

“The process by which this is done is unbelievably callous. People in their 80s and 90s, probably alone and with health problems, are targeted.

It’s happening to these people because, in spite of their tiny pension, they have managed to save a little week after week.

“But by doing so, they have crossed the savings limit for claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, most likely without even realising.”

Mrs Morley, who was branded illiterate after leaving school at 14, was told in January last year that she had saved £32,000.

Her Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support payments were stopped and the council claimed she owed more than £12,000 in overpaid benefits.

The council denied her family’s appeal – which took six months – and demanded an extra £10,000, saying it had found an error in its initial calculation…Continue Reading

By Ian Dei

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