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A mum was left angry and 'gobsmacked' after she received a letter from the government telling her that her teenage son was dead, when he quite obviously wasn't.
Joanne Sayers, from Wallsend near Newcastle, got a letter through from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) telling her that her 19-year-old son, Christopher, was dead.
He wasn't, he was at work. However, if he hadn't been living with her, Joanne said that - quite rightly - she would have immediately panicked.
The DWP has apologised for the mistake.
44-year-old Joanne explained: "He was at work and I opened the letter and it said my son was dead.
"I tried to ring them (DWP) for an hour and a half to tell them that he was alive - unless I am living with a ghost.
"I tried to explain that he wasn't in the house so he couldn't confirm the details. I had to ring back and was on hold for another 30 minutes.
"I told them my son was alive and at work and that they sent a letter saying he was dead.
"They sent it addressed to my son as well."
You see, Christopher had been receiving Universal Credit payments when he was out of work but once he'd gained employment he told the DWP that he wouldn't need to claim the benefits anymore.
Naturally, though, his mum was shaken up when she opened up a letter to her son and it said that he'd died.
She continued: "What if my son was not living at home and I had not spoken to him for a few days? I would have been panic stricken.
"I was absolutely gobsmacked to receive a letter like that out of the blue.
"I'm just glad he's okay. The DWP have a lot to answer for, they really do."
Joanne also said that the DWP had called her up to apologise, which is the least they can do, really.
She added: "They phoned me yesterday and got one of the managers who is a mum to phone me out of courtesy to say sorry we sent a letter someone pushed the wrong button, it was a mistake.
"But it is unacceptable. It really is unacceptable behaviour by the DWP."
Christopher, who has been employed as a chef, said: "I'm really annoyed and it shouldn't have happened."
A spokesperson for the DWP said: "We've spoken with Mr Sayers and apologised. The letter was sent in error but we can confirm he has repaid the money owed."
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