Elderly woman lived for five weeks on cheese left over from husband's funeral after pension payment suddenly stopped
The woman, Diane Geraghty, was set to received £166 per week, however, she did not get any money after her husband’s death as her pension payment suddenly stopped.
A 76-year-old window reportedly survived for five weeks on leftover cheese from her husband’s funeral. The helpless woman from Suffolk, UK had to resort to such extremes as an “administrative error” stopped her pension.
The woman, Diane Geraghty, was set to receive £166 per week, however, she did not get any money after her husband’s death as her pension payment suddenly stopped in early May. Reports state that the administrative staff made the error thinking she had died, according to the Daily Mail.
Geraghty lost 28 pounds in these five weeks and grew weaker. She was eventually saved by a stranger who happened to pass by her house and stopped when he saw her looking distressed in the front garden.
As the stranger got talking to the elderly woman, she told him her harrowing tale, adding that she had kept her plight a secret from her friends and family, including her two sons who are living in the United States.
She said: “It’s the way I was bought up: to be independent and look after myself. I didn’t want to go banging on people’s doors. It would have felt like begging. I lived off left-over cheese from my husband’s funeral," the Daily Mail reported.
“I just had a couple of slices each day. I know it seems mad but I wasn’t thinking straight at the time. I was confused and upset, I didn’t want to go outside because I was all over the place and people would have thought I was drunk," the elderly woman said.
“I was frightened to use the phone because I didn’t have any money to pay the bill. I was so weak I thought I was going to die. I had to use my husband’s stairlift to get up the stairs. I had terrible nerves and lost two stone in weight. I didn’t know which way to turn,” she added.
After hearing her ordeal, the stranger, 67-year-old David Kinsella, sprung to her help and assisted in getting her emergency supplies from the Lowestoft Foodbank and contacted the Department for Work and Pensions.
“She looked like she was about to burst into tears so I started chatting to her and she told me this awful story. The poor lady was in a right state: no money for food or anything at all. She seemed all alone in the world.’
Kinsella also assisted in getting her pension arrears paid and Geraghty is now getting her correct payments, according to reports.
“David was my saviour. The people at the foodbank were so nice. That first slice of bread and butter was heaven. They brought me a sandwich and a big mug of tea. They gave me two big bags of food,” Geraghty said.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman told BBC: "We apologise unreservedly for the disruption to Mrs Geraghty's State Pension and Disability Living Allowance payments, which resulted from an administrative error. We issued an arrears payment on 2 July as soon as we became aware of the problem and the correct payment schedule has now been restored.
"We are carrying out an urgent case review to learn any lessons from this and ensure it does not happen again."