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Husband's heartbreak as wife's ashes withheld for six months

Rob Shade has not been able to take his wife's ashes home - six months after the funeral. Credit: BPM Media

A grieving husband says he has not been allowed to take home his wife's ashes - and the funeral was held over six months ago.

Rob Shade, from Loughborough says he was told he would get government help with funeral costs because he and his wife relied on benefits to look after themselves and their two sons.

But when Carole-Ann died on November 9, 2018, he was in the process of being moved onto Universal Credit.

He says a quirk in the system meant authorities mistakenly believed he did not appear to be on any benefits at all, so he was denied the funeral costs he needed.

Credit: BPM Media

He was able to pay around half of the funeral bills with the money his wife left behind, but he still has £1,900 to cover.

And because he has been unable to scrape the money together, the funeral director says they will not hand over his wife's ashes until the balance is settled.

He said: "All I want to do is pay the debt and get hold of her ashes. I feel like I have let her down because I can't scatter them."

Carole-Anne Shade died on November 9 2018 Credit: BPM Media

The 49-year-old takes home around £100 per week from his job and has two sons, aged 20 and nine, who both have learning difficulties and other needs.

His wife was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2001 and was even told she could not have a second child.

But she defied the odds, living for another 17 years and giving birth to another son.

When Rob received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions telling him he did not qualify for help with funeral costs there was information on how to appeal.

However, he said he was too upset at the time to act on it.

"This all happened just after my wife passed away.

"I was grieving myself, with two grieving boys, and it was also nearly Christmas."

– Rob Shade

A Gofundme page has been set up to help the family pay the funeral bill.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

"We are currently reviewing Mr Shade’s claim for a funeral payment and we will be in contact with him shortly.

"Meanwhile Mr Shade continues to receive support through Universal Credit."

– DWP Spokesman

Since publication, the DWP have issued another statement:

When Mr Shade first applied for help with funeral costs he wasn’t receiving any benefits and was therefore ineligible.

As he is now receiving Universal Credit, we are able to contribute towards the cost of his wife’s funeral and help him get his wife’s ashes released to him. We apologise for any confusion caused at this difficult time.

– DWP spokesperson