‘Let me lay my son to rest’

Heartbroken: Jacquie Brassett says she is unable to bury her son Lee's ashes until she can pay the bill for his funeral. Photo: SG310811-119TW
Heartbroken: Jacquie Brassett says she is unable to bury her son Lee's ashes until she can pay the bill for his funeral. Photo: SG310811-119TW
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A BEREAVED mother cannot give her son his dying wish of having his ashes buried with his grandparents because she cannot pay for his funeral.

A BEREAVED mother cannot give her son his dying wish of having his ashes buried with his grandparents because she cannot pay for his funeral.

Jacquie Brassett, of Chestnut Avenue, Spalding, says she has been refused help through the Government’s social fund to pay the bill because her son Lee Cole was listed as living with a partner before he died.

However, Jacquie (54) claims the information on record for his Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefits was incorrect, stopping her from getting the cash.

Lee (35) had been battling HIV and a number of other health problems before his death on July 27.

Jacquie said: “He had been getting better. If anyone had said two years ago that Lee would have died, I would have said I was expecting it. He looked dreadful.

“He had a bladder and kidney problem and he shuffled from his bed to the bathroom. But in the last few months he had really picked up. He was going out and getting his life back again.”

Lee, who was living in Manchester, has since been cremated and his ashes are being held by a funeral director in the city. Jacquie will be unable to collect them until the £1,200 bill is paid.

Jacquie, who claims benefit for her own health problems, said Lee had been having difficulties with his ESA payments over the last year. She said his payments had been stopped at one point.

She explained: “Last July I intervened because my son was getting into a state. He had a form of dyslexia where he could not explain himself properly.

“He had been put down as living with a partner but he was not. He had a flatmate, who was working, and they shared a two-bedroom flat but they were not a couple.”

Jacquie said she explained the problem to JobCentre Plus staff, and she believed the records had been changed because payments were resumed to Lee.

She discovered the records still listed Lee as living with a partner when she tried, and failed, to make a claim through the social fund after he had died.

Jacquie added: “I cannot put him to rest. He is in Manchester and they are not going to release his ashes until the bill is paid. My son wanted to go to the church where his nanny and granddad were married in London.”

Jacquie says she has appealed against the decision.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Ms Brassett. Unfortunately we are unable to make a funeral payment to the relative of someone who is on our records as living with a partner. Ms Brassett can appeal against this decision.”