Hereford & Worcester

Mother of soldier killed in Afghanistan in rent dispute

Rifleman William Aldridge
Image caption Rifleman William Aldridge was killed by a bomb blast in July 2009 while rescuing his comrades

The mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan says she will not pay her rent as her benefits were stopped due to an army payout for her son's death.

The Department of Work and Pensions said a death-in-service payment to Lucy Aldridge made her ineligible for benefits.

Ms Aldridge, of Bromyard, Herefordshire, lost eldest son William, 18, in a bomb blast in July 2009.

She says she is now £1,000 in arrears with her rent.

Rifleman Aldridge was the youngest serving British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan as he tried to rescue injured colleagues.

Ms Aldridge, a single mother-of-three, has been unable to work since a work accident in 2003.

'Financial apology'

She says about £200,000 she received as compensation for her son's death was for his younger brothers, and she would never use it for her day-to-day living.

"If I was a working parent I wouldn't have to justify that sum of money but the Department of Work and Pensions is choosing to see this as my personal savings. It is quite clearly not savings," she said. "They are a formal, financial apology for my son's loss of life."

The Department of Work and Pensions said: "If you do have capital you are expected to cover the cost of your home if you are able to.

"We have looked at this case extensively and we have acted absolutely appropriately and within the rules."

Ms Aldridge's landlords, Festival Housing Group, said: "The real issue is between Lucy and the Department for Work and Pensions who have stopped Lucy's benefits as a result of her compensation payment.

"Whilst we are sympathetic with Lucy's situation, our tenants cannot live rent free. We will continue to do all we can to ensure Lucy does not lose her home."

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