Former chambermaid Mary Morley, 86, lives in Stibbington, Cambridgeshire
An elderly woman with learning difficulties has been left almost penniless after a council stripped her of her £28,000 nest egg in a benefits row.
Mary Morley, 86, who lives in the Cambridgeshire village of Stibbington, regularly saved a little of her £149.54-a-week state pension to avoid burdening her family after retiring aged 65 in 1989.
But the former chambermaid unwittingly saved more than the £16,000 allowed by people claiming housing benefit - and the council are now taking it back.
Mrs Morley, who has carers visit twice a day and has been a widow for 18 years since her husband died, has also faced court action over council tax arrears.
Her son David, 60, told the Daily Express: 'My mum has scrimped and saved all her life. She was plunged into depression overnight.
'The process by which this is done is unbelievably callous. People in their 80s and 90s, probably alone and with health problems, are targeted.
'It's happening to these people because, in spite of their tiny pension, they have managed to save a little week after week.
'But by doing so, they have crossed the savings limit for claiming housing benefit and council tax support, most likely without even realising.'
Mrs Morley has carers visit twice a day and has been a widow since her husband died in 2001
Mrs Morley's son David, 60, has been angered by how the council has treated his mother
Mrs Morley, pictured with husband Cedric on their wedding day, has been a widow for 18 years
Mr Morley has been angered by how officials at Huntingdonshire District Council have treated his mother, who was declared illiterate aged 14 when she left school.
Mrs Morley was told in January last year that she had saved £32,000 – double the limit - which led to her housing benefit and council tax support being stopped.
She was told she owed the council more than £12,000 in overpaid benefits. Her family appealed in March 2018, but this was denied after a six-month wait.
To make things worse, council officials realised in the appeal that they had made an error in their own calculations, and Mrs Morley actually owed them £22,000.