‘We missed out on Universal Credit because of our pay day – we’re struggling’


Lynette and Mark Davies, who live in a council house in Cardiff with their daughter Sophie, said they missed out on their monthly Universal Credit payment because Mark’s wages are paid every four weeks

Lynette and Mark Davies
Lynette and Mark Davies missed out on their Universal Credit payment

A family said they missed out on their monthly Universal Credit payment because they receive their wages every four weeks rather than monthly.

Mark Davies, his partner Lynette and their daughter Sophie live in a council house in Fairwater, Cardiff, and receive Universal Credit because the woman is unable to work due to fibromyalgia, diabetes and severe arthritis.

Sophie, 28, is also unable to work due to mental health issues.

The sole earner in the family is Mark, who gets £1,200 every four weeks from his job at a Co-op store.

Last month, however, the family did not receive their Universal Credit payment as, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assessment period, it resulted that Mark was paid twice in a month.

Due to the issue, they will get no payment between October 29 and December 29, Wales Online reports.

Mark works at a Co-op store and is paid every four weeks
(

Image:

John Myers)

Since Cardiff Council uses the same system as the DWP to monitor wages, their council tax has also gone up.

Lynette, 48, said: “We feel very upset and very anxious. It’s not helping our mental health. I dread the post coming.

“We’ve really struggled in the last couple of weeks. We’ve managed to pay the bills but everything else has been a struggle day by day.”

The DWP and the council said a household’s Universal Credit payments and council tax vary from month to month depending on earnings.

Lynette added: “Our first Universal Credit payment was in July. It’s around £178 a month, but because my husband gets paid every four weeks and Universal Credit is monthly, the DWP claimed he was paid twice last month.

“One of my husband’s wage payments was October 21 and the next was on November 18. They were both put together and the implication was that he was actually getting £2,500 a month.

“I tried contacting the DWP but they said there was nothing they could do. It was such a shock. We’re getting kicked in the teeth left, right and centre.

“The DWP didn’t even tell us [initially]. I had to check the payment on November 25 and it said we were not getting anything that month. In a panic I rang the DWP to be told we wouldn’t be getting anything for November.”

Lynette and Mark live with their daughter in a council house in Fairwater, Cardiff
(

Image:

John Myers)

The family usually benefits from a council tax reduction but Cardiff Council upped the rate from £78 to £184 a month after Mark was judged to have had an increase in earnings last month, even though he received the usual four-weekly amount.

Lynette said she applied for the council tax benefit to be reinstated next month.

The family also said they feel under pressure because Lynette’s mum had to go into a nursing home due to dementia and the council said they will have to move house as the tenancy is in her mum’s name.

Lynette was told she cannot take over the tenancy as it was already taken over when her father died and it passed to her mother – and the law states this cannot happen more than once.

The woman said: “We’re not living. We’re existing day by day, waiting to know when and where we have to move.

“My husband works in Fairwater, and this area is all myself and my daughter have ever known, but we’re told we could be moved anywhere in Cardiff. It seems as soon as we get over one hurdle there’s another.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit adjusts to a household’s earnings to ensure people receive the right level of support. Mr Davies received more than £2,500 in wages during the couple’s last assessment period and, as a result, their payment was reduced.

“But if Mr Davies earns less over the next month then the couple will see an increase in their next payment.”

A council spokesperson said: “Eligibility for a council tax reduction is assessed on income received each month and the amount of reduction applied to a household’s account can vary from month to month depending on earnings received.

“So, a household expecting their income to decrease one month, can expect the amount of council tax reduction they are eligible for to increase.

“The council’s money advice team is available to help residents experiencing money problems and can offer advice with budgeting, income maximisation, claiming grants and discounts as well as practical support.”

The Mirror has contacted Cardiff Council for further comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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