Devastated Universal Credit mum to spend Christmas alone after being left with just £7


A DEVASTATED mum will be spending the festive season alone after being left with just £7 to live off for Christmas.

Lynne Myers, 65, has been surviving on Universal Credit since she lost her job as a sales assistant three years ago.

NCJ Media

Lynne Myers claims she only has £7 for Christmas Day this year[/caption]

While she is due to retire in March next year, the 65-year-old says she still has to go to the job centre to say she’s looking for work.

She claims she has just £7 in the bank for Christmas Day, before her next paycheque comes in.

Ms Myers said: “It’s Christmas Day on Wednesday and I have £7 in the bank until I get paid next Friday, so I won’t be having much of a Christmas.

“There is no extra money for anything other than bare survival and I’m not surprised people have been driven to suicide because I have been very close to it myself.”

What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit

IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:

Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it’s a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit pay out.

Alternative Payment Arrangements– If you’re falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you’re part of a couple.

Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the government to help with emergency household costs of up to £348 if you’re single, £464 if you’re part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You’ll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You’ll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.

Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren’t enough to cover your rent.

Foodbanks – If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussel Trust website.

Lynne, who has been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, explains that she is unable to buy Christmas presents for her loved ones this year.

Because of her lack of cash, she will also be spending the festive season alone, as she can’t afford to visit her family.

She told Chronicle Live: “I have a son who lives in residential care in Sunderland as he is severely disabled, but I struggle to find any money to go and visit him.

“I won’t be having a happy Christmas. I hope next Christmas will be better.”


Lynne isn’t the only one who can’t splash the cash this Christmas – as former miner Barry Parker is currently receiving £424 less than he should in benefits.

The 61-year-old from Byker, Newcastle has been on benefits for years after he was deemed unfit for work – and claims he should be receiving £712 a month, but is actually getting £288.

Speaking about how he will be spending Christmas, he said: “Past Christmases have always been alright, but since I’ve moved over to Byker from Jesmond things have been terrible.

“I will be spending Christmas on my own this year and I won’t be having a Christmas dinner.”

A struggling family-of-four on Universal Credit also claim they will have to eat sandwiches for Christmas dinner.

Neil Campbell and Jo Holbrook-Morris, and their two young kids, have been left to live off £175 a week after being forced to live on Universal Credit – and won’t get to indulge this festive season.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email to share your story.

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