A woman was left penniless after a hoax caller told the Department for Work and Pensions she was dead.
Jobless Janet Millward’s £240-a-fortnight housing benefit and disability living allowance were stopped.
The tax office also wrote to her family offering tips on how to settle her estate.
Janet, 50, of Wythenshawe, Manchester, said: “Why didn’t they check? Someone can just ring up and say I’ve died and that is enough.”
She said: “They know everything about me. Why didn’t they pick up the phone? It just beggars belief.
“They just pressed a button and that was that. It effected everything.
“Why was a death certificate not asked for? When my brother died last year we had to provide a death certificate for everything.
“I want to know why such questions were not asked. It is unbelievable. Somebody, claiming to be my son, can just ring up and say I have died, and that is enough.”
Janet relies on the £240 benefits she receives once a fortnight to survive.
“I was extremely distressed. All my money was stopped.
“I was getting letters addressed to the representatives of Miss Janet Millward. But I was not dead.”
It took two weeks to correct the error and Janet, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, contacted her Labour MP Mike Kane, who took up her case.
He has since received a letter from the DWP apologising for the mistake.
The letter said: “Unfortunately, due to human error, a date of death was incorrectly input to Miss Millward’s records.”
HM Customs and Revenue also wrote to Janet, saying: “Our records did show you as deceased and thus the system generated a letter to your address.
“I can confirm that I have now updated your record to show you are not deceased and can only apologise again for any distress this may have caused you.”