A sick and disabled gentleman and former carer has spoken about how an “error” by benefit bosses left him unable to afford bills or put food on the table.
Peter Wilson, 51, from Hull, depends on Universal Credit payments to make ends-meet, but an adminstrative error by the Department for Work and Pensions resulted in his payments being slashed by £140 per month.
Mr Wilson, who used to recieve Carer’s Allowance to care for his sister before being moved to Universal Credit, lives with an ileostomy bag and suffers with a heart condition, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and needs to use a mobility scooter.
Hull Live reports that Mr Wilson was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, not long after the death of his sibling, and has been unable to work ever since.
A Universal Credit payment was delayed because he was unable to attend a Jobcentre meeting, resulting in a sanction.
He claims that he missed the appointment due to being in hospital for emergency surgery, but this didn’t prevent the DWP from slashing his Universal Credit payments.
This is despite the DWP claiming that Universal Credit is a flexible system that adapts to the needs and circumstances faced by claimants.
Mr Wilson told Hull Live: “I’d work if I could to pay my way, but I’m so unwell at the moment after my surgery that it’s impossible.
“I have a nurse coming in every morning to help me with my tube feed, I have to change my iliostomy bag every few days with difficulty, and I have to get my hairdresser in to wash my hair as I can’t get my arm above my head.”
He continued: “I’m constantly tired and can only sleep for around three hours on a night as I’m having nightmares about spiders and monsters and I wake up sweating and shaking, and in the morning I always have a headache and need to vomit.
“I also struggle with my mobility and need to ride a mobility scooter to get around, so I have to rely on benefits to pay rent, gas, electric, council tax, water, for my phone and for food, but yet again the DWP have let me down by deducting £140 from my Universal Credit and not paying me what I’m owed.
“I’ve tried to get in touch with them on the online journal to ask them for my money, but they haven’t got back to me, and now I’m just so worried as I’m not able to pay my rent or bills, and I’m having to decide between whether to eat or keep warm.
“I’m so upset and angry about missing the payments that I deserve – I’ve been crying my eyes out and I just don’t know what to do with myself”.
Mr Wilson has now contacted a grief counsellor following the tragic death of his sibling Susan.
“I’ve never lived on my own before, and I just miss her so much and get so lonely”, he said.
“The evenings are the worst when I’m on my own and can’t get out to see anyone like I can in the day, and I often break down in tears thinking of my sister.
“Losing out on my benefits and stressing about being penniless and unable to pay rent and the bills just isn’t something I need at the moment, but I feel like I’ve got nowhere to turn.
“I’ve saved the Government thousands over the years in looking after my sister, and now look how they’ve repaid me.
A DWP spokesperson admitted the mistake and said the DWP “have apologised to Mr Wilson and will be repaying the amount deducted in error”.