Keeley Sheppard who is 20, and is 29 weeks pregnant and about to move into a new home has had her Universal Credit payments cut without her knowledge and will presently have to survive on a penny a month.
She expected to get £500 per month but was crushed to discover that her payments had been suspended almost entirely and without notice.
Keeley Sheppard and her partner Dan Pye, 25, are awaiting the delivery of their first child at Christmas and moved to live with her dad and step mum in the Cotswolds in May when they changed to a joint Universal Credit claim.
At the moment Keeley Sheppard doesn’t work and partner Dan is looking for work.
They were both on single universal credit claims before and everything was fine, they went to appointments, and did all the right stuff but they went onto a joint claim because they were moving in together. However, it wasn’t until last month when they logged on to their UC account to find out they were only getting paid a penny.
If a claimant hasn’t done one of the activities in their claimant commitment they could be sanctioned, indicating their UC payments will be briefly reduced. Nevertheless, Keeley Sheppard was given no reason for the penalty and has been forced to take out a £300 Recoverable Hardship Loan from the job centre.
Since then, their UC payment has risen to £40 but is still well under what was expected.
Keeley Sheppard has been told, because she is 29 weeks pregnant, she can only be sanctioned up to 20 percent, if she is sanctioned but she’s been sanctioned a sizeable amount.
Keeley’s step mum Billiejo has got Fibromyalgia so is no longer working, while her 16-year-old sister also lives in the same flat so it’s all five of them on their dad’s salary. Clearly, their UC supports them a tiny bit and their dad can’t support all of them, and he’s trying his hardest, and they’re making it work to a certain point but it is difficult.
The DWP won’t give them an explanation and Keeley has been prescribed anti-depressants due to the magnitude of the situation.
It’s utterly sickening that they are setting them up, a young couple, about to have a baby at Christmas and now going into their first home, into debt and to fail already and the DWP is not giving them any explanations and it’s an outright scandal.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment to assist with living expenses for those who have low income or are out of work and it is currently being launched across the United Kingdom and supersedes Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit and income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
The Government has come under heightened tension to pause the rollout of UC, which critics maintain puts defenceless families in danger and Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke announced that the questionable 55p-a-minute charge on the welfare helpline would be abandoned, but denied proposals for a pause in the rollout.
However, Theresa May will not hesitate on the rollout despite Labour gaining a House of Commons majority requesting a pause in the introduction of the flagship benefit reform and the DWP has been approached for an explanation.
There are young people out there that have diabetes, coeliacs disease and other illnesses that have missed appointments, or are ten minutes delayed because of public transport and have ended up with precious little to live on a month because they have been sanctioned.
Some of these people have to have a special diet and if they don’t that could be life-threatening to them, this is inhumane and animals are treated better.
There are a number of people out there who will say that this chap must get off his behind and go and look for work however you require money to find work.
You require money to eat food so you can be equipped for a job. You require bus fares or petrol to get to interviews. You require money to write and post letters. You require money to purchase work clothes. Doing this sort of thing to people makes it much harder to obtain work, the notion that the Government are doing this to encourage people into work is sheer propaganda.