A single mum is concerned she will be forced to go to food banks over Christmas after cuts to her Universal Credit payment left her with just £64 to pay bills.
Gayle Paterson, 46, who works part-time as a home shopper for Asda, in Southbank, Middlesbrough, was left in trouble when she wouldn’t get her usual £650 that month. The mother-of-two was told she had been paid twice, despite Gayle receiving her payments in different months, and that her benefits would be cut.
The Department of Work and Pensions claim the wages she received from her employer on November 8 and December 6 fall into the same assessment period – which is from November 8 to December 7.
Gayle said that if she had been paid from Asda just one day later she would have been entitled to her normal Universal Credit payment of £650 but instead she’s been given £64. The mother, from Teesville, said: ‘I’m just absolutely worried. I have always worked to top up my wage… I work so hard only for this to happen.
It makes me question what I am working for. The mother-of-two has had her benefits cut to £64 this month (Picture: Evening Gazette) She added: ‘We go to bed early on a night so it’s warm because we can’t afford to put the heating on. We shouldn’t have to live like this.’ Gayle, who lives with her son Thomas, 20, and her daughter Charlotte, 18, uses her Asda wage to pay half of her rent and bills for her car. She relies on her Universal Credit payment to pay for the second half of her rent and bills. Having separated from her ex-husband, she said her children, who work part-time while studying, struggle to help her out with the bills.
She said: ‘It’s the worst time of year. I’ve got no money to pay for anything.
I won’t even be able to buy little things like Christmas cards for people. ‘People come into work to get Christmas bits and they ask if I have done all my Christmas shopping. I lie to them because I feel like I can’t say no. ‘How are you expected to manage? I feel like there is no support out there.’ The mother said she was reduced to tears when she found out her payment had been cut (Picture: Evening Gazette) Gayle claimed when she contacted the Department of Work and Pensions they told her there was nothing they could do. She said: ‘When they put the phone down I was left there sitting on my bed crying.
I was thinking what now? ‘They won’t give me a Universal Credit loan, they said that I earn too much. ‘I’m going to end up in arrears because I can’t afford to pay my rent, my water rates and my gas and electricity. MORE: CHRISTMAS What is on BBC One this Christmas? Woman told she would never have kids found out she was pregnant on Christmas Day If you’re sad this Christmas, you’re not alone ‘I had to go to the food bank when I changed over to Universal Credit in January as I had no payment for six weeks.
‘I worry that I will have to go to the food bank this month. I’m sure there will be other people in my situation.’ A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: ‘Due to the amount of income Ms Paterson has had in the past six months she is unable to receive an advance at this time, but her work coach can provide advice on budgeting support and further help that may be available.
‘Assessment periods are fixed at the point of when a person makes a claim, and if two months’ wages are paid in the same period then either the previous Universal Credit payment or the next one will be higher to reflect this.’ Got a story for Metro.co.uk?
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