Maughan Hub: Death Certificate ‘Insufficient Evidence’ for MCF

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KCL Law student Robert Radley has been buried in stress ever since his department rejected his Mitigating Circumstances Form. They cited ‘insufficient evidence’ as the reason. Robert, having died last week, made sure to include a copy of his death certificate as part of the submission; however, this did not meet the evidence requirements of King’s College London’s MCF policy.

“Because I was the one who died, as opposed to someone close to me, my personal tutor told me that my circumstances didn’t technically fall under ‘bereavement’,” Radley explained. “This left me with two options: filing it under ‘physical ill health’, or ‘long-term medical condition or disability’.

An MCF for physical ill health requires either a letter from “services who have been actively supporting you” or an original medical certificate. Originally, Radley had tried to argue that the government legitimising the death certificate counted as a service that had been supporting him, before realising that this wouldn’t hold water after the political disarray of the coronavirus pandemic. He also faced difficulties in reaching his medical records, what with the whole being dead thing. KCLSU Student Welfare Officers agree that the lack of union assistance in matters like these is a major oversight of student services.

When he tried citing his death as a ‘long-term medical condition or disability’, he faced another wave of bureaucracy as he was listed for a King’s Inclusion Plan. “I kept trying to say that I am actually able-bodied,” Radley explained, “but they said the only way to submit evidence for this category was through a KIP”. KCL Disability Advisory Services rejected his application on the grounds that death is not a recognised disability.

“Waiting for your MCF results is such an anxious time,” Radley said. “You clearly already have so much going on, but if you don’t know if your extension is approved, the problem hasn’t gone away. Honestly, the stress nearly killed me again”.

KCL Law Department directed us to “events not normally considered mitigating circumstances“. Included are “foreseeable and preventable circumstances”. An official department spokesperson noted that Radley’s death was entirely foreseeable, saying “we all die, and it is the student’s responsibility to schedule their workload around this inevitability”.

Radley is “gravely disappointed” in the decision, and plans to appeal after his funeral.

Author’s note: in researching for this article, I discovered that a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death would count as evidence under ‘physical ill health’, so you could technically submit your own doctor-issued death certificate as MCF evidence. Just in case you might find that information useful someday.

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