A family has been forced to go days without being able to shower or eat properly after a mistake saw their self-employed personal payment wrongly recalled.
Sarah Brown, her partner Stephen and five children were expecting the PIP payment to go directly to Sarah’s bank account on June 1. had been recalled.
This left the family with no money for the four public holidays, as the DWP told Sarah it would take five working days to resolve the issue. Sarah, 33, said: “I’m on personal independence payments and I get paid four times a week and payment was due on the third.
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“They told me I would be paid first because of the public holiday so I would get it earlier. I looked in my bank to see if it had definitely come in and it hadn’t. J phoned the DWP, I phoned four times that day and they all said different things.”
The recalled payment meant the family, from Workington, were unable to top up their smart meter for gas and electricity, which meant they couldn’t shower for days. Sarah and Stephen even went without meals at times to ensure that what little food they had at home could feed their children.
Sarah said she was forced to wrap her eight-month-old baby in clothes in the crib so he wouldn’t get cold during the night. She said: “They said there was nothing they could do about it until they sorted the payment.
“So I said you were going to see me stuck with five kids and an eight-month-old baby with no gas, no electricity. That was my grocery money and my gas.”
Sarah shared the family’s story with LancsLive to highlight the detrimental effects that not receiving PIP payments on time can have on families. She was even forced to ask for help on Facebook – which she said was embarrassing for her.
She said: “It’s not my mistake, it’s their mistake. We were so stuck. All the food banks were closed. We hadn’t had a bath or shower since Tuesday.
“We put money on the meter but it got into gas debt. We had no food, we had bread and butter. We found things in the cupboard like tin cans for to try to do something.
“I felt like I was begging. Calling on Facebook was quite embarrassing. It wasn’t all my fault and on the fourth day we managed to take a shower this morning.”
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘Due to a change in her circumstances, the amount of Ms Brown’s PIP payment has recently changed. In order to avoid an overpayment, Mrs. Brown’s last PIP payment was recalled. We apologize for the inconvenience caused. Ms Brown has now received her full PIP award and her monthly Universal Credit payment has not been affected.