A GRIEVING widow who lost her husband in a fatal road collision in January says she has spent almost six months trying to claim bereavement allowance she is entitled to.

Not only is Pauline Haywood trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband of 29 years, Alan, but she says she is "desperately trying to make ends meet."

Mrs Haywood, 48, went to Ringwood Job Centre on February 1, when a member of staff checked and signed her bereavement allowance forms.

She has still not heard from Jobcentre Plus regarding her claim, despite her attempts to chase it.

She says she has been pushed from "pillar to post" and claims she has received no confirmation of her application.

She told the Forest Journal that she is "deeply upset" with the way the benefit office has treated her claim and last week she was informed that her Income Support allowance would be stopped.

"I am virtually penniless now," she said. "I am not only dealing with the loss of the man I loved and trying to adjust to living alone but I'm having extreme financial pressure and having to chase up the benefit office.

"It's just so hard. There is no way I could go back to work now, I am just not mentally strong enough, although I wish I was."

Mrs Haywood added: "I still have some fight left in me, but I feel sorry for those people who have lost someone dear and maybe are older and more fragile than me.

"I am exasperated with this battle of getting what is rightfully mine."

Mr Haywood was killed after the car in which he was travelling crashed and overturned on Southampton Road at Godshill on January 5.

He and the driver - a 27-year-old man from Fordingbridge - were thrown clear from the green Volkswagen Golf after it skidded off the road and crashed into trees, killing Mr Haywood instantly.

The rate of bereavement allowance depends upon someone's age and how much have been paid in National Insurance contributions. Bereavement allowance is payable for 52 weeks from the date of the death of husband, wife or civil partner.

A spokesman for the Department Work and Pensions said they did not comment on individual cases but as the Journal went to press they denied that Mrs Haywood had made a claim.