Benefit cuts

When the DWP leave you with 74p for the month

I recently moved to protected accommodation due to personal circumstances.

Aware that I would need to call the DWP and inform them of the change, I took a deep breath and dialled the number.

That all-too-familiar orchestral music started blaring down my phone. I was kept on hold for 15 minutes at premium rate.

Once I got through to an advisor, I scheduled a new appointment with the jobcentre that was now closest to me. I asked if my money was still due to come in that Friday.

“Yes, I can see £550.74 will be going into your account on Friday.”

I was silent.

I’d originally been promised £801 a month, to cover my rent and living costs.

That had been slashed to £616 when I eventually received my payment – after a 10 week wait – because “I’m under the age of 35.”

This month, I was receiving £550.74.

My rent for the house on their records was £550 a month.

The DWP would have left me with 74p for the month, and no way to claim additional funds – I’d already had to claim the maximum allowance of internal loan from them while I waited for them to process my first payment.

When I went into the jobcentre for my appointment, I was told my details hadn’t been retrieved from the other jobcentre yet, and sent away.

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