Desperate dad’s fury after Universal Credit payment error leaves family of terminally-ill girl broke

Payment mix-up means family’s benefits cut

From- https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk

‘The distraught parents of a terminally-ill girl have been left broke following a Universal Credit payment error.

Parents Brendan and Kelly-Anne Shortall have been receiving the controversial benefit for daughter Hannah, 10, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy , since September last year.

The family, from Co Armagh, Norther Ireland, have now been told their cash will now be cut because of the system mix-up which caused them to be overpaid in previous months.

Kelly-Anne and Brendan with their daughter Hannah

Speaking to Belfast Live, emotional dad Brendan says they’re “ready for the hills” and can’t get any answers.

He explained: “Our money started to drop month by month, and at the start of this month we were told we would receive £622 that was to do us for the month.

“When our first payment was due this month I went to the cash machine and there was only £109, and we were due to get half of £622.

“I asked them what was going on and they couldn’t tell us, and they decided to pay us a further £145 because they ‘forgot to pay it’.

“That was all sorted out and we were told we would get the remainder of the £622 in the next payment. So I went last week to collect the payment and again it was only £109.

“They reckon that we have been overpaid in the system and it has just taken all of our money and they couldn’t figure out how to give us any more money.”

Mr Shortall said the family was offered a budgeting loan to tide them over.

He complained: “Basically, they told us the way the system is going we will receive a zero payment for next month because once it figures out that I’ve got another loan it will take back everything that I owe because of the overpayment.

“They basically told us we’ve no payment for next month.”

Mr Shortall, who give up his job as a lorry driver to care for his daughter alongside his wife, said they’re watching her deteriorate every day.

He explained: “I had to give up my work and this is when it all started and they put us on Universal Credit. I had to quit because Hannah needed me.

“This is destroying us. We’re putting a brave face on for Hannah but she knows what’s going on, she knows something is happening. We’re just destroyed and no one can help us get any answers.”

A Department for Communities spokesman said: “The department is implementing Universal Credit in line with the policy and remit set previously by the Northern Ireland executive.

“The executive agreed a number of important measures to assist customers by paying Universal Credit twice monthly in arrears and paying the housing element of Universal Credit directly to the landlord to prevent potential issues with rent arrears.

“Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we are aware of the particular details of this case and have been in direct contact with the customer and will continue to engage with them to address any concerns they have.”

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