Disabled man gets just 1p Universal Credit payment to live on over Christmas

Neil Wright, who received a 1p Universal Credit payment over Christmas (SWNS)
Neil Wright, who received a 1p Universal Credit payment over Christmas (SWNS)

A disabled man was given just 1p to live on over Christmas after receiving a Universal Credit payment.

Plymouth-based Neil Wright, who suffers from arthritis, received the penny payment on December 14, 2018.

He will not receive another payment for almost another fortnight.

The 50-year-old usually receives £284-a-month in benefits but for some unknown reason received just 1p before Christmas.

‘I’ve got 25p in my pocket and about 52p in the bank,’ said the former taxi driver.

‘I had some savings but used them to buy Christmas presents.

‘It’s all confusing. I can’t make head nor tail of it. I got my bank statement and checked it and there’s 1p of Universal Credit on it. They’ve offered me 1p to live on.’

It is the latest hiccup for the government’s flagship scheme which replaces six benefits with just one monthly payment.

Even before the latest small payment, Mr Wright said he was only getting through the month on his savings.

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And in November, In November, he also received a £163.98 in Employment Support Allowance (EESA) – a disability benefit which he was not entitled to, but was issued to him anyway by mistake.

Under the new rules, payments which have been wrongly issued outside Universal Credit are deducted from the monthly benefit.

He said he asked officials about the payment but had yet to receive an answer.

Mr Wright has not worked for 12 years (SWNS)
Mr Wright has not worked for 12 years (SWNS)

Mr Wright, who is divorced and has six grown-up children, said he is trying to get a job even though he has not worked for 12 years because of his arthritis.

He developed arthritis in his lower back, neck and shoulders and also suffers from asthma. He is on antidepressants.

‘We’re looking into the details of this case,’ said a Department for Work and Pensions.

‘Universal Credit is a force for good for the vast majority and is helping people get into work faster and stay in work longer.’

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