Mother of youngest British soldier killed in Afghanistan has gone on hunger strike after her benefits were axed because of his deathLucy Aldridge wanted to fulfil son William's wish that his death-in-service payout would be used as a trust fund for his younger brothersSon William, 18, was killed by a roadside bomb in a Taliban ambush in 2009
Because the payout was paid into a deceased estate, not a trust fund, the Government ruled she was financially secureNow she has had to use money on everyday living expenses, instead of saving it to secure her two son's futures
18:42 GMT, 29 November 2012
Lucy Aldridge has gone on hunger strike
The mother of the youngest British soldier killed in Afghanistan has gone on hunger strike after the Government axed her benefits as a result of his death.
Disabled Lucy Aldridge, 44, lost 300-a-week when her housing and council tax benefit, along with income support were stopped after her son William was blown up in a Taliban ambush in July 2009.
Before his death, selfless William had instructed his mum to use any insurance money to be used to bring up his younger brothers George, nine, and Archie, seven.
His family received a 68,000
death-in-service (DIS) pay-out, combined with a 150,000 PAX insurance payout.
But because it was transferred into
his deceased estate, with Lucy named as the signatory on the account and executor for the estate, rather than into a trust fund for her young sons, the
Government ruled the money made her financially secure.
Because the Department for Work and Pensions define compensation as savings, it means that Lucy was technically over the 16,000 threshold which meant her benefits were slashed.
As a result, she was forced to use William’s money to live on instead of securing her sons' futures which had been his wish.
In a desperate bid to persuade the Government to make DIS pay-outs exempt from means tested benefits, Lucy, from Bredenbury near Bromyard, Herefordshire, went on hunger strike at midnight on Sunday.
Lucy, who suffers from the incurable
degenerative condition Hypermobility Syndrome, survives now on 140 a
week in disability, child tax credits and child benefits.
She has been threatened with eviction
from her three-bedroom home over rent arrears and warned she faces
bailiffs for non-payment of council tax.
Brave William Aldridge asked his mother to use his death-in-service payout put in a trust fund for his two younger brothers
Single mother Lucy says she is protesting about the current rules about payouts after her benefits were cut
Lucy even tried to kill herself by
taking an overdose in June this year after being driven to despair after
struggling to keep William’s promise to keep the money for his
Speaking before she went on hunger
strike, she said: 'William’s intention was to provide for his younger
brothers in the event of his death.
'I’ve written to David Cameron but his response was that it would be inappropriate for him to get involved in my case.
'I feel he has let me down. I have exhausted every channel open to me.'
Today the single mother vowed she would continue to refuse solid food until the Government 'started a dialogue' with her about the issue.
Lucy, said: 'Right now I am feeling hungry and tired.
'But I am doing it to give my sons the future their big brother wanted for them and for other military families in my position.
'The boys don’t know what’s going on as they are staying with their grandparents.
'I hope it doesn’t come to it but whether I die or not is in the government’s hands.
William, seen here aged 16 with his mother and his two younger brothers, George and Archie, had hoped that the money from his death would be used for their future
William, pictured here taking his oath of allegiance in with the mayor of Hereford and his mother, spent his last few moments trying to help others
'I’m not doing this to get my benefits back as even if the legislation did change I wouldn’t get them back.
'I’m not doing this on a whim. I’ve been thinking of going on hunger strike for a while but hoped it wouldn’t have to come to it.
'I totally agree that people who have more than 16,000 in savings should not get benefits.
'But by taking into account the DIS (death-in-service) payment, this means the sacrifice of armed forces personnel is not recognised.
'I will survive on fluids. My children will be cared for by close family because I don’t want them to be exposed to what I am doing.
'I will be at home alone. Everything I possess and everything belonging to my late son is here.'
William died seven weeks after his 18th birthday while serving with The 2nd Battalion, The Rifles.
The troop was hit by two roadside
bombs in a 'daisy chain' Taliban attack in Helmand province – killing
William and four other Riflemen.
Brave William spent his last moments helping the injured and comforting badly-wounded commanding officer Major Alistair Field.
Lucy, pictured meeting David Cameron in 2010, says she has had to use her son's payout money to live after the government slashed her benefits
William's troop was hit by two roadside bombs in a 'daisy chain' Taliban attack in Helmand province
North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin, who has supported Lucy’s cause since her son’s death, said: 'It is really difficult because losing a son is just a terrible tragedy but I don’t know if this is the right thing to do as she has two little boys.
'I met David Cameron on Monday night and we spoke about this.
'He is sure that the Ministry of Defence will follow the correct procedure and I have raised the issue with the Department of Work and Pensions.'
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman added: '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 welfare state is there to help people with very little means to support themselves, and that means that people with savings above 16,000 are usually not eligible for all benefits.
'However, they may still qualify for non-means tested support like Disability Living Allowance.'