Rugby mother: universal credit is causing 'untold stress'

File image.
File image.

A Rugby mum has spoken of the ‘untold stress’ and financial pressure that comes as a result of the schedule of universal credit payments.

Working mum Catty Giles said the way the Department for Work and Pensions assesses income means that her payments can vary.

She said: “The way the system works has cost me over £700 in lost benefits and untold stress as it seemed the rules were being made up as we went along.

“Some months I was told to ‘manage my money’ which was impossible with an income of £600 when my rent alone is £400.

“I’ve complained to the DWP and written to my MP on numerous occasions and got nowhere.”

Debbie Bannigan, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Rugby, said: “I’ve heard over and over again from hard working Rugby people whose universal credit payments are messed up because the DWP’s system can’t cope with basic maths.

“If someone’s pay schedule doesn’t correspond with the universal credit assessment period, it’s almost inevitable that benefits will be affected.

“It’s resulted in Rugby families being significantly out of pocket.”

Dr Bannigan’s comments come after four working mothers won a High Court challenge in which they questioned the way the DWP calculates income.

To calculate how much to give those on universal credit, the DWP looks at income over a month – but this does not take into account instances where someone might receive an early pay cheque because of a weekend or bank holiday.

In those instances, the DWP would view that as someone being paid twice in the same month, and that individual would receive significantly reduced benefit payment. Dr Bannigan is calling for claimants to be compensated.