Covid-19: NHS chaos and DWP indifference lead to tragedy for one 50s born woman

And why the BackTo60 Facebook crowdfunder is essential to bring these sad facts for many more to light

The family of Ray and Lesley Myers with daughters Nicola and Jenny in happier times.

This is a tragic tale that I suspect is being repeated across the UK now we have the largest number of deaths in Europe. It gives a little glimpse into the human cost behind the cold harsh statistics of the daily death toll. Her daughter contacted me and she agreed to be interviewed.

Ray and Lesley Myers thought they had their retirement well planned. He would get his pension at 65 and one year later she would get hers at 60.

He was a successful Welsh speaking self employed builder in North Wales. They had a comfortable four bedroomed house and two lovely daughters.

Then at 60 Ray developed cancer and was unable to work. They downsized from their four bed house to a one bed apartment in Chester.

Through the help of the NHS Countess of Chester Hospital & The Hospice of the Good Shepherd he was tackling his cancer and they were still looking forward to many more years together.

This winter Ray got pneumonia and went into the Countess of Chester Hospital. He got better , came out of hospital, but then fell ill again and was re-admitted.

Unfortunately for him he came back just as the Covid-19 was starting to spread across the UK. The doctors there also tried to press him to sign a ” do not resuscitate” form.

According to Lesley Myers the hospital did not have the right equipment to safeguard the staff or patients relying on paper masks and aprons. But they did regularly test him for Covid- 19. Three tests were negative, the last one was positive.

From there he deteriorated rapidly but his family heard nothing from the hospital and couldn’t visit him. Finally they allowed Lesley to visit him and provided her for the first time a gown and a medical mask. By then he was in a coma and close to death.

On April 7 aged 70 he died. The family have not been able to organise a proper funeral.

But the hospital have followed up her case and have got proper protection equipment and are changing the way they handle future cases.

Lesley then encountered all the problems from the Department for Work and Pensions. She was hours on the phone trying to claim bereavement benefit. The DWP just cut her off.

But they acted very quickly to stop his state pension,PIP, and ban her from being able to drive his mobility car. They still haven’t bothered to collect it one month later and it is parked at the apartment.

She found herself left with living on £420 a month – £320 from her own PIP as she is disabled and just £25 a week bereavement benefit. The widow’s pension has been abolished by the DWP. She has bills of £150 a month for council tax and another £100 for the apartment management charge.

She said :” How I am supposed to survive on this on this amount?
” I do have savings but do not know how long I will live for so do not wish to rely solely on this as I’m sure you can appreciate – I am only 64! “

“I am fortunate to have the support of my daughter and some savings but I ask you this for someone with nothing and all payments stopped immediately how would they now continue?
“I am very concerned for other people left in the same situation or worse off than myself.
” I do not like to complain, I have expressed my sincere gratitude to the hospital for their care and my daughters have raised nearly £3000 for them and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in memory of my husband and in order to help them both at a difficult time.
I feel like a statistic, and this is not right. I am a person who also needs to survive”.

She said her situation would have far better if she had already got her pension as of right.

” I have supported BackTo60 for a long time and I feel it is disgusting that they changed the pension age without properly informing people. I have paid in since I was 15. We are entitled to that money and there should be full restitution.”

BackTo60 have just launched a £10,000 crowdfunder so they can keep the issue in the public eye right up until the judicial review appeal in July.

They intend to use the money for a film that will highlight how Covid-19 has made life worse for many 50s women already suffering in poverty and having difficulty making ends meet.

You can donate to the crowdfunder here. It is something that needs exposing.

42 thoughts on “Covid-19: NHS chaos and DWP indifference lead to tragedy for one 50s born woman

  1. what a catalogue of dreadful happenings – most of all of losing a loved one. We should be ashamed as a country that women have still not had their stolen pensions returned.
    That DWP can take away, take take take and we give.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent piece. Just shows how difficult life is when you have your pension age pulled from under your feet. These people have worked hard & this is the thanks they get. Shame on you DWP & our Government. Hope things get better soon. Thank you David for another thought provoking piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would be in a similar situation, hubby has had two brain tumours and now has Lewy Body Dementia. He has been admitted to hospital numerous times (twice in the last two months) with Sepsis and Pneumonia when he was very ill both times. I am his full time carer and one of the fifties women who don’t receive my pension until next January, having waited six years. We have no savings and when asked if I could claim ESA (even though I have Emphysema) my GP said I could get a job. So who would look after him then. My pension on the original date five years ago would have been a massive help and it’s a scary future beause if anything happens I have no income or savings whatsoever. I would love to donate to the backto60 appeal but unfortunately finances don’t allow. The DWP did the same to me, kept cutting me off and I still haven’t managed to speak to anyone else yet.

    Liked by 1 person

      • He receives State Pension and some Pension Credit for me and I receive Carers allowance already.


    • My husband also has dementia and I am his career. My dad had Lewy body dementia and it is very distressing. I am so sorry for you.
      I applied for PIP for my husband and was successful and I would suggest you just ring the claim line for it. They will send you a form to fill in about the things he can and cannot do and there will be a medical assessment.
      I worried a bout the assessment but an assessor came to our home and spoke to him.
      He was awarded PIP even though I had heard a lot of stories about it and thought he probably would not qualify.
      The assessor was really good and patient with him and got to the issues he had.
      I wish you good luck and urge you to tty


      • Thank you Pam, sorry you are in the same position. Hubby already receives Disability Living Allowance so he can’t claim anything else.


  4. Oh my goodness. Sadly, this is the reality. Why oh why did they do this to us not once but twice. Opperman says we had plenty communication but two High Court judges said they had no obligation to inform us. Which is it⁉️ They said they had no money for restitution yet money is appearing as if by magic❗️ Guy Opperman doesn’t seem to have any respect for the 1950s women, especially those 90,000+ who will never receive their pensions. Sending love to Lesley and her family. How very brave to speak about their sad loss. Money seems more important than that of human beings. Why were they allowed to do this to us all. Did it go through the House of Lords⁉️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When was widows pension abolished? I didn’t know this. This story is shocking. DWP have an awful lot to answer for!


    • The Labour Party took the widows pension back in 2001….
      All part of the equality laws to make it the same for both men and women who lost their husband/wife ……
      Both men and women get the bereavement benefit
      It was on the news


  6. Pingback: Covid-19: NHS chaos and DWP indifference lead to tragedy for one 50s born woman | Westminster Confidential | Tory Britain!

  7. Oh Lesley I am so sorry for you and your family, so much of this rings true with me. My husband passed away in December 2013 between Christmas & New Year aged 60 and I was told there was no Widows Pension anymore, but I could claim Widows Benefit for 12 months. However I then lost my ESA for 12 months as you can’t claim both, so it really was of no help to me. I am 66 in July and my Pension date was 6th May 2020 I have lived for this date, only to be told I will not be paid anything till 2nd June as Pension is paid 4 weeks in arrears. Also I was told when I applied for my Pension in January that because my Husband passed away before he received any of his Pension that I would be entitled to claim some of it, so I am getting an extra £18.00 a week that should have been paid to my Husband. This gave me a nice lift, but once again I have received another blow, I did a benefit calculation in December and I was entitled to Pension Credit on top of my Pension but becuase I am entitiled to a small portion of my Husbands Pension I no longer am, it is disgusting. I just keep thinking how many 50s ladies will have passed away with this awful virus and even before with other illness before the virus started and had been robbed of their Pension, I feel sick to the stomach and pray every day that we get the justice we all deserve. Take Care


  8. My heart goes out to Lesley, Nicola and Jenny. The DWP has a lot to answer for, especially with regard to 50’s born women. How is this lady expected to live on next to nothing?
    Please express my heartfelt condolences to Lesley and her family if you are able.


    • I would like to know who is it That’s voting for them they have an 80 seat majority and don’t give a flying french word about us 50s women.
      I wouldn’t like to think any 50s woman voted Tories


      • Trouble is Margaret I have voted Labour all my life. Corbyn was the problem he was never going to get into no 10 and the Labour party as a whole should have got rid of him he must have been the most unpopular M.P. ever. He is why the Tory party got in and now we have a former police officer who chose to ignore child rape gangs another leader who will never get in .THE LABOUR PARTY IS FINISHED leaving it open for the Tory party to do as they please. My wife is a 50s woman. By the way, she has suffered a hip operation where she did a lot of lifting as a carer also having to take long periods off work with stress-related problems. We are living on the bread line as I am disabled they don’t care they spend all their spare time filling their pockets and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.


  9. So sorry to read this Lesley and family. This pension business make my blood boil. Someone who hasn’t paid into system get a Pension a Credit whicH is far more than state pension. All the years we have paid Nino myself 44 Odd years now you don’t need many year to qualify for full pension. Sickens me greatly.


  10. So sorry for your loss, disgusting how our generation of women have been treated. At 62 I am forced to work till 66, nhs, as government decided I will be OK to work till then, but when covid 19 hits suddenly over 60s have to be more careful. I am in the at risk category and have been self distancing at home for weeks now, but now we are apparently too risky to be allowed to go abroad for a year, even if we wanted to. Think they need to revert back to 60, allow us “at risk” to retire, but allow others who want to work on,( their choice) , and all those who have lost their jobs due to the virus can replace us.


  11. Looking at this and at the issues arriving from the pandemic leads me to the conclusion that the only real fair solution is Universal Basic Income. That does away with our tax allowances- we would them pay tax on all our income- but would be a fairer deal for this economy caught in the state pension trap


  12. I am in a similar situation. The government do not care about the situation as it is now. Because of covid self employed people are in a better situation than 1950s women and they have not paid in as long as us. It’s disgraceful I feel sorry for this lady. Been there and I am living in that situation. We should get our pensions now. They find money for everything but us and we have paid in over 40 plus yrs its shameful and heartbreaking

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Covid-19: NHS chaos and DWP indifference lead to tragedy for one 50s born woman – Haomanitylife

  14. This is so dreadful for when you have no help you feel so alone & no one cares. I will get my state pension in Jan 21 when I’m 66. The last few years have terrible financially worked from Age15 to 61 as then got inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2016 with 3 years of chemo radiotherapy mastectomy reconstruction surgery & now suffering with anxiety as thought I was going to die. Was mad as determined to life to even get 1 payment of my pension so hopefully will make it. My husband because of all the stress had a heart attack & when the PIP person came to my house I explained my husband was in bed resting because of his heart attack & she said it couldn’t have been that bad as he wasn’t in hospital I was so upset. John had actually been in hospital for several days in intensive care and had just come home we were looking forward to our retirement together as both have worked our whole lives then when we needed help there was none. John got his state pension last summer but we have no savings & struggle each month if I had my pension we would be able to manage. I have applied for jobs but now 65 I don’t even get an answer what do they expect you to do it’s beyond all comprehension. My mum who is 86 lives with us & is very healthy & has been looking after both of us instead of the other way round. Who knows what the future holds for us now. The only thing that has been amazing 😉 is the nhs how they care for us both you can’t fault that at all. Thanks for trying for us hoping we will win in July would change our lives plus many others take care keep safe x


  15. I was widowed w years ago at 62 my husband died suddenly at 63. I am in the same situation living off savings. My condolences too this poor lady. I received 25 pound a week. It stopped in March. I want to know if i can claim my husband’s government pension as I was a stay at home mum. Good luck everyone stay safe.


  16. I’m very sorry for your loss so sad that people who have worked all their lives will not get the state pension till they are 66 years. I would have had my pension this year as I was born in the 1960s and will have to work longer before I get my pension. I feel that the government have been able to find a lot of money to fight the Covid 19 virus and will not hear of the impact on the 1950s women.
    Lets keep on fighting till they listen to the demands of women born in 1950s. I was so sad to read so many sad story’s of people lives and who this injustice has impacted on people lives.


  17. Last year at 65 I developed birsititus in my hips not able to get up the stairs at work and couldn’t claim sick pay as I worked less that the allocatesite hrs. Had to wait from June to 2019 to March 2020 before a diagnosis and a first payment of pip. I lived on £400 a month my social services pension and helped financially by my daughter. I was awarded £84.00 pip…now got my pension at nearly 66 years old it’s been so hard. I’ve worked since I was 16 years old and am now knackered can’t enjoy my pension as my health gave way under the strain I’ve worked with crushed discs for over 20 years.
    Sandra Carty


  18. I don’t know what to say since as Margaret McGrory asks way up this thread “Who voted Tory?”. I am an over 60’s woman and I ask the same – WHY would anyone vote Tory…ever! They are about self-interest, investments into their own pockets and an absence of care and compassion. They have always been about that and always will. Please stop shifting responsibility to Corbyn – this demonising will not help your pension status girls! Anyway, there is no excuse not to vote Tory next time – we have Angela Rayner, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long Bailey – please listen to this compassionate and forward looking young women! Make sure you DO vote for them next time. It’s not just about us over 60’s women, it’s child poverty, low wages for our key and essential workers, creepingly insidous privatisation of the the NHS, lack of affordable homes, support for disabled people, safe low emissions and plenty of public transport, climate change….an endless list that WILL NOT be solved by voting Tory!! Yes, I am angry. I am angry about what Johnson is doing and saying NOW – let’s all sit back after a day in a crowded park, yes, BE alert, watch people pressurised to return to work in unsafe workplaces and wait for more elderly to die in carehomes and look forward to having the biggest second C 19 peak in Europe – we need to act!


  19. Shows our caring Conservative government to a T. I hate them so much. A bunch of murdering scumbags AND THEY ARE GETTING AWAY WITH IT. So angry. This is so unfair.


  20. God bless you my dear I hope someone helps you soon contact your GP and MP the DWP cannot get away with treating people like this one day they will be on the other side of the phone or counter all these decisions seem to be taken by bureaucrats with healthy pension pots which regular working people don’t have.


  21. My story is very similar, my husband is still having tests to ensure his cancer has gone having had stage four colon rectal cancer that went into his liver, I had been told I had severe c.o.p.d years ago and that I couldn’t work any more before I was sixty. It has worsened since then because it’s not going to get better because it’s a lung disease. To cut a very long story short we had to sell our house all savings are now gone and they have reduced my mobility allowance even though the government admit i am high risk and we have both been put on the most vulnerable lists for this cov19. They took my mobility car off me so we had to get hire purchase to buy one because of all the hospital appointments. We were struggling before but all I get now is £23 a week. We too worked hard all our lives going to work raising kids giving care to my parents, I feel so angry about not getting my pension. That’s all I ask not benefits just what I paid into that’s rightfully mine. I cannot think about it too much it upsets me in a time.I have constant worry for my husband who has been left with a stoma bag and still has to self catheterising. If I was on my own I would have starved.


  22. Totally agree we are entitled to that money. When I get home from work each day crying in agony with pain in my knees and feet. My poor husband trying to help ease my pain by rubbing me feet and pleading with me to give up work. I reply it’s not my fault it’s the governments. I am 63 and never in a million years did I think this would happen to me. I was fit and able. Now I’m crippled up with pain with age related illnesses exasperated by standing on my feet all day. We have been fortunate because we have never witnessed this with our mothers etc who did receive their pension at an earlier age. Wake up government it’s not just the virus that’s killing off us older folk, it’s you!!! Your not listening!!! This age increase has not worked and you need to revert to age 60. My job could also benefit from a younger person doing it. I’ve slowed up over the years so that’s not fair on my employer. Government stand up and admit you were wrong to change this pension age. I can honestly and truthfully tell you at age 59 I was doing fine since then there is a decline in my ability to carry on working. I se no difference in you stepping in to protect people from dying either from the virus or working us to death.


    • Hi Lesley, I also live in Chester and worked for nearly 40 years at the Countess of Chester Hospital. So sorry to hear if the catalogue of misfortune and tragedy that you have been through. These government people seem to live in another world! They just don’t realise how the other half live. the dwp should hang their heads in shame. Not to mention the MPs who go into parliament, sign their name and go home !!!!!. This is absolutely disgraceful. I am just grateful that I have got some savings to live off and a small work pension, but my rent is nearly £400 a month that’s without the other bills. It must be awful for you. I just hope that you get some help soon. Best wishes, Jill


  23. I would also love to know why the government think they can just get away with this scandel. I have been paying national insurance since age 17 and I am now nearly 64 This is theft, especially when you hear of MPs expence accounts and what they claim from the public purse for which we have the ‘privelige’ of paying. If they won’t take the pension age back to 60, at least take it back to 63, so that at least they’re meeting us half way.


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