Dead mum's pension repayment ‘insulting' daughter claims

The last picture Betty Wicks had taken with her mother Georgina May Wicks before she died. Mrs Wicks was informed she had to return half of her mother last pension two weeks after the elderlly woman died.
The last picture Betty Wicks had taken with her mother Georgina May Wicks before she died. Mrs Wicks was informed she had to return half of her mother last pension two weeks after the elderlly woman died. Robyne Cuerel

A GRIEVING daughter has slammed a policy forcing her to pay back $619 of her mother's pension, after the war widow died halfway through her payment cycle.

Hervey Bay woman Bette Wicks, 74, was asked to return one week's pension payment wrongly deposited into Georgina "May" Larkin's account days after she died.

Mrs Wicks said she was disappointed not at the repayment, which was government policy, but because it was the latest in a history of compassionless decisions.

She said 70 years earlier, her father had been executed by the Japanese and his body was not found for five years, when Ms Larkin was informed her husband had died.

"(My mother) learnt no more until she got a letter from the air force with photos of dad's funeral in it," Mrs Wicks said.

"That was the first that she knew he'd been buried, that they'd had a funeral, she was not even asked to be taken up there."

Her father, flight Sergeant John Lyon, had been gunner on a plane that was shot down. While the pilot received a Victoria Cross, Sgt Lyon got no such recognition.

Ms Larkin visited her husband's gravesite just once and her final wish was to be buried beside him.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said it appreciated the sensitivity surrounding the recovery of overpayments following the death of loved ones but legislation required that money was recovered.

The Office of Australian War Graves said Ms Larkin could be buried with her husband at no expense to the family.

Topics:  daughter mother pension war widow

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