I’m a mum-of-five and our family couldn’t shower or eat properly for days after benefits mistake

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One in five children said their family was trapped when their benefits were not paid due to a mistake – they were forced to live without food or bath for several days.

Sarah Brown, 33, was expecting her personal independent payment to be sent to her bank account last week, but her payment was withdrawn due to a system error.

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Sarah Brown, 33, says her family was unable to shower or eat properly for seven days after an error had wrongly recalled her personal independent paycredit: Main Media
Sarah's partner Stephen, pictured with the couple's eight-month-old

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Sarah’s partner Stephen, pictured with the couple’s eight-month-oldcredit: Main Media

Sarah lives in Workington, Cumbria, with her partner Stephen and their five children, one of whom is just eight months old.

mom shares her story lens live To highlight the consequences that may result on families like theirs not receiving PIP payments.

After not receiving the cash when it was expected on June 1, Ms Brown said the family was unable to turn on their pay-as-you-go meter. gas and electricity Meaning they could not take a bath for several days.

Sarah said the situation meant she had to wrap her baby in her cot to keep her warm throughout the night, and the rest of the family had to go to bed full-time.

parents also had to go without food Sometimes just to make sure their five kids can eat.

Sarah said: “I’m on Personal Freedom Pay and I get four weekly payments and the payment was due on the third day. They told me I would be paid the first time because of a bank holiday, so I would get it early.

“I looked at my bank to see if it was definitely in and not. I called the DWP, I called four times that day and they all said different things.”

The mother revealed that the dire situation got worse when the family was not able to get an emergency package from the local food bank as it was closed.

Sara is eventually told that the problem was caused by her payments being processed above the amount normally allotted to her, resulting in a cash recall.

It could take up to five days to fix the error, leaving the family of seven stuck.

“They said they can’t do anything about it until they pay. So I said you’re going to see me stranded with no gas, no electricity with five kids and an eight-month-old. That was my purchase. Money and my gas,” said the mother.

Sara also appealed for help FacebookAnd said asking for help left her embarrassed, because “It’s not my fault, it’s their fault. We were so stuck. All the food banks were closed. We hadn’t showered or showered since Tuesday.”

“We put money on the meter but he went into debt on gas. We didn’t have food, we had bread and butter. We were finding things in cupboards like tins to try and make something.

“I felt like I was begging. It was embarrassing enough to appeal on Facebook. It wasn’t all my fault and on the fourth day we managed to shower this morning,” said the mother of five.

Ms. Brown has decided to take the matter to the Tribunal.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Due to a change in her circumstances, Ms. Brown’s PIP payment amount has recently changed. Ms. Brown’s latest PIP payment has been withdrawn to prevent overpayment. We are sorry for that. Ms. Brown has now been paid her PIP award in full and her monthly Universal Credit payment was unaffected.”

two of Sarah's five children

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two of Sarah’s five childrencredit: Main Media



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