Dead soldier’s mum ‘forced to betray son’

Ledbury Reporter: WAR HERO: Lucy Aldridge’s son William was killed in 2009. WAR HERO: Lucy Aldridge’s son William was killed in 2009.

THE disabled mother of the youngest British soldier killed in Afghanistan has spoken of her heartbreak at being forced to betray her son’s dying wish.

Lucy Aldridge said her son William would turn in his grave if he knew she was being forced to “fritter away” the £66,000 death-in-service payment that he wanted to pass to his younger brothers George and Archie and fund them through university.

Her £307.80-a-month income support payments were stopped by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) because the compensation took her above the £16,000 savings threshold for claiming benefits. This decision was upheld by an independent tribunal.

Mrs Aldridge, aged 44, of Bromyard, suffers from the debilitating joint condition hypermobility syndrome and cannot work.

She believes a “two-tier” system is punishing her because she is disabled and forcing her to use William’s estate just to get by.

“If I was not disabled and able to work then I would be able to carry out my son’s wishes. But because I am, I can do nothing other than fritter it away on living expenses simply to save the Government and the taxpayer a few thousand pounds.”

Mrs Aldridge said others could easily be caught in the same situation and is campaigning to have regulations reformed.

“William went to war fully believing that if the worst should happen then his family would be looked after, but we are not,” she added.

Rifleman William Aldridge was killed by an IED blast in Sangin on July 10, 2009, whilst helping to extract casualties from a previous explosion in which he too had been injured.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have an absolute commitment to members of the Armed Forces and their families. Money can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, but families of our servicemen and women who are tragically killed on active duty do receive financial support.

“The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme provides a tax-free lump sum for family members who have been killed in service.”

Comments (11)

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7:22pm Thu 13 Sep 12

Heffalump22 says...

In this day and age surely there is a way for this lady to set up a trust fund for her sons with the money. I don't know whether it would still count as her savings but I thought this country was proud of its soldiers and if her sons wish was that his brothers benefit from his death then why is she being penalised. I know there will be some out there who will jump on the band wagon but in some cases benefits are given for a reason and as I say she and her other sons shouldn't be penalised. Her son died whilst in the service of this country its about time we started treating the families of our service man with respect and care. Also why has it taken until now to decide she doesn't qualify because she has too much savings. Every case is different lets start caring about those who live here work here and fight for the rights of others.
In this day and age surely there is a way for this lady to set up a trust fund for her sons with the money. I don't know whether it would still count as her savings but I thought this country was proud of its soldiers and if her sons wish was that his brothers benefit from his death then why is she being penalised. I know there will be some out there who will jump on the band wagon but in some cases benefits are given for a reason and as I say she and her other sons shouldn't be penalised. Her son died whilst in the service of this country its about time we started treating the families of our service man with respect and care. Also why has it taken until now to decide she doesn't qualify because she has too much savings. Every case is different lets start caring about those who live here work here and fight for the rights of others. Heffalump22
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Thu 13 Sep 12

TDH123 says...

Mrs Aldridge is precisely the type of person who should be receiving income support having regard to her ill health. To take into account her sons death in service benefit when assessing her entitlement to such benefits is utterly shameful.
What sort of country do we live in?!
Mrs Aldridge is precisely the type of person who should be receiving income support having regard to her ill health. To take into account her sons death in service benefit when assessing her entitlement to such benefits is utterly shameful. What sort of country do we live in?! TDH123
  • Score: 0

7:52pm Thu 13 Sep 12

yeller says...

As it stands she inherited the death in service payment so it constitutes savings in her name.

As mentioned above she could place the funds in trust for her other children in which case the trust would own the money and not her - she can then continue to receive her benefits.
As it stands she inherited the death in service payment so it constitutes savings in her name. As mentioned above she could place the funds in trust for her other children in which case the trust would own the money and not her - she can then continue to receive her benefits. yeller
  • Score: 0

8:12am Fri 14 Sep 12

More Tea Vicar says...

At face value, this story looks appalling.

I would have thought compensation should be taken out of consideration, and not be taken into account when calculating benefits.

It seems horribly wrong that some people can bring up huge familie on benefits, with no one having the vaguest intention of doing a day's work, and others can draw exorbitant public sector salaries, for no obvious reason. Yet people like this lady get treated like this.

Of course, that is assuming we are getting the whole story. Maybe there are some details which change the picture completely, in which case, no story, no comment.

Either way, my condolences to the lady on the loss of her brave son.
At face value, this story looks appalling. I would have thought compensation should be taken out of consideration, and not be taken into account when calculating benefits. It seems horribly wrong that some people can bring up huge familie on benefits, with no one having the vaguest intention of doing a day's work, and others can draw exorbitant public sector salaries, for no obvious reason. Yet people like this lady get treated like this. Of course, that is assuming we are getting the whole story. Maybe there are some details which change the picture completely, in which case, no story, no comment. Either way, my condolences to the lady on the loss of her brave son. More Tea Vicar
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Fri 14 Sep 12

Veloce says...

A tragic loss, there can be no dispute about that.

Two days ago the Daily Mail, in an article about Lucy Aldridge's claim, stated that she was also the beneficiary of her late son's life insurance amounting to £218,000. If the Daily Mail is making a false claim, it should be firmly refuted. If it is true, the the total sum should be included in any reporting of this matter. It is relevant, there are too many inconsistancies
A tragic loss, there can be no dispute about that. Two days ago the Daily Mail, in an article about Lucy Aldridge's claim, stated that she was also the beneficiary of her late son's life insurance amounting to £218,000. If the Daily Mail is making a false claim, it should be firmly refuted. If it is true, the the total sum should be included in any reporting of this matter. It is relevant, there are too many inconsistancies Veloce
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Fri 14 Sep 12

GroovyChick says...

Maybe I am about to say the wrong thing here, yes it is sad that her son has died and sad that she is disabled, but at the end of the day she has £66,000 in her capital. Benefits are there to help when income is low. If she received compensation for an injury etc this would be included. Ok it was her sons wish for it to go to his brothers, but it didnt, it went to her. Please dont get me wrong, I do feel for her, but she does have capital over and above the limit. It shouldn't be disregarded just because of the reason why she received it. If she were now to put this money in a trust fund for her other children, it could still be taken into account as it may be looked at that she deprived herself of capital. I would imagine she is not alone in these kind of circumstances.
Maybe I am about to say the wrong thing here, yes it is sad that her son has died and sad that she is disabled, but at the end of the day she has £66,000 in her capital. Benefits are there to help when income is low. If she received compensation for an injury etc this would be included. Ok it was her sons wish for it to go to his brothers, but it didnt, it went to her. Please dont get me wrong, I do feel for her, but she does have capital over and above the limit. It shouldn't be disregarded just because of the reason why she received it. If she were now to put this money in a trust fund for her other children, it could still be taken into account as it may be looked at that she deprived herself of capital. I would imagine she is not alone in these kind of circumstances. GroovyChick
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Fri 14 Sep 12

jb says...

GroovyChick I have to agree with you, sad as the circumstances are if you have money in the bank you can't expect to continue to receive all benefits. I was puzzled by the article a little as it states Mrs Aldridge is disabled and on income support, no mention of disability allowances though which she would be entitled to.
GroovyChick I have to agree with you, sad as the circumstances are if you have money in the bank you can't expect to continue to receive all benefits. I was puzzled by the article a little as it states Mrs Aldridge is disabled and on income support, no mention of disability allowances though which she would be entitled to. jb
  • Score: 0

7:42pm Fri 14 Sep 12

mayall8808 says...

To Lucy Aldridge;;; GET SOME ADVICE from a proper knowlegable person on this don't take advice from the pub baroom lawyers.

If the MP's can do avoidance on tax and other things etc then you should too. good luck.
To Lucy Aldridge;;; GET SOME ADVICE from a proper knowlegable person on this don't take advice from the pub baroom lawyers. If the MP's can do avoidance on tax and other things etc then you should too. good luck. mayall8808
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Sat 15 Sep 12

MrAllen999 says...

She forgot to mention to ‘other £218K’ she has from the government, so the story is she has over a quarter of a million pounds sat in her bank, clearly she would rather have she son, there is no question that her son was a hero, however, it is what is it. The story is not about her son’s tragic death. The story is about her benefits or loss of them.
Mrs A is well known in the county and she is at serious risk of losing all credibility for all the good work she has done in regard to serving soldiers and their families. However, one cannot condone her constant moaning and whining in regard to loss of benefits.
So she want us tax payers to pay her DLA and give her a new car every few years, insurance and running cost free, pay her council tax and pay her rent plus any other benefits she is entitled too?
She has said on previous press releases that she is disabled by HyperMobility Syndrome after an accident at work, HMS cannot be caused by an accident HMS is a hereditary condition. Fact.
She forgets to mention she is newly engaged, she also forgets to mention that although disabled she is doing her third sky dive and hikes up the welsh mountains.
The facts are Mrs A, you have been compensated for your son’s death, as tragic as it is, you have cash in the bank, and therefore you do not qualify for any further benefits. If you don’t want to ‘waste’ the money, go and buy a house outright, buy your council house, keep less than £16K in the bank and you will get what you want. Simple!! Or better still put the money into a trust fund for your younger children, that way the money is protected to carry out your sons wishes and you get your benefits, surely you know this? or is it you want the best of both worlds? Cash in the bank and all of your benefits, clearly this is the case for you Mrs A !! Absolutely Disgusting!!
The benefit system is there for those that are unfortunate to need it, not for those who have over a quarter of a million pound in the bank. Stop moaning and stop going to the papers, your case has been heard by the highest law in the land and you Do Not Qualify. Fact.
She forgot to mention to ‘other £218K’ she has from the government, so the story is she has over a quarter of a million pounds sat in her bank, clearly she would rather have she son, there is no question that her son was a hero, however, it is what is it. The story is not about her son’s tragic death. The story is about her benefits or loss of them. Mrs A is well known in the county and she is at serious risk of losing all credibility for all the good work she has done in regard to serving soldiers and their families. However, one cannot condone her constant moaning and whining in regard to loss of benefits. So she want us tax payers to pay her DLA and give her a new car every few years, insurance and running cost free, pay her council tax and pay her rent plus any other benefits she is entitled too? She has said on previous press releases that she is disabled by HyperMobility Syndrome after an accident at work, HMS cannot be caused by an accident HMS is a hereditary condition. Fact. She forgets to mention she is newly engaged, she also forgets to mention that although disabled she is doing her third sky dive and hikes up the welsh mountains. The facts are Mrs A, you have been compensated for your son’s death, as tragic as it is, you have cash in the bank, and therefore you do not qualify for any further benefits. If you don’t want to ‘waste’ the money, go and buy a house outright, buy your council house, keep less than £16K in the bank and you will get what you want. Simple!! Or better still put the money into a trust fund for your younger children, that way the money is protected to carry out your sons wishes and you get your benefits, surely you know this? or is it you want the best of both worlds? Cash in the bank and all of your benefits, clearly this is the case for you Mrs A !! Absolutely Disgusting!! The benefit system is there for those that are unfortunate to need it, not for those who have over a quarter of a million pound in the bank. Stop moaning and stop going to the papers, your case has been heard by the highest law in the land and you Do Not Qualify. Fact. MrAllen999
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Sun 16 Sep 12

jdeb11 says...

I have to say, congratulations Mr Allen999 for actually saying what most of us are thinking, I am sick to death of hearing and seeing this woman whine and moan. It is dreadful that her son lost his life, but there are a lot of people out there that lose loved ones through no fault of their own either,these people carry on with dignity and usually don t go around trying to manipulate the state system for their own ends. Take a long hard look in the mirror Mrs Aldridge and ask yourself who are you really doing this for, because if your sons are fortunate enough to go on to higher education, you know there are provisions out there for them just like there are for all of our kids.
I have to say, congratulations Mr Allen999 for actually saying what most of us are thinking, I am sick to death of hearing and seeing this woman whine and moan. It is dreadful that her son lost his life, but there are a lot of people out there that lose loved ones through no fault of their own either,these people carry on with dignity and usually don t go around trying to manipulate the state system for their own ends. Take a long hard look in the mirror Mrs Aldridge and ask yourself who are you really doing this for, because if your sons are fortunate enough to go on to higher education, you know there are provisions out there for them just like there are for all of our kids. jdeb11
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Sun 16 Sep 12

Smyffie says...

I am not sure if I'm missing some basic mathematical fact here, but IF Ms. Aldridge has in fact received a£218,000 insurance payout, and if she used this to subsidise her monthly loss of £307.80, then the insurance capital alone should last 59 years!! Therefore surely the £66,000 would surely still be there to fund the younger brothers' education!
I am not sure if I'm missing some basic mathematical fact here, but IF Ms. Aldridge has in fact received a£218,000 insurance payout, and if she used this to subsidise her monthly loss of £307.80, then the insurance capital alone should last 59 years!! Therefore surely the £66,000 would surely still be there to fund the younger brothers' education! Smyffie
  • Score: 0

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