Universal Credit error forces man to eat out of bins after being left with just £26 for month

A man says he has been forced to eat out of bins after a Universal Credit blunder left him with just £26 for the month.

Ryan Webb, 32, claims he was sanctioned for not turning up for a Job Centre meeting, despite being informed of the appointment by text a month late.

And, with hardly any money, he now has to steal food or rummage in bins for scraps, the Liverpool Echo reported.

Ryan, who lives in a bedsit in Tuebrook, applied to the Department of Work and Pensions for what are known as hardship payments – but was denied these as well.

He told the ECHO: “I got a text message on October 2 telling me about an appointment in September.

“My money stopped on October 6 and I have had £26 to survive on since then. My advisor actually turned round to me and admitted they had made a mistake.

“But when I applied for a hardship payment to get me through until the next payment it was rejected – and they advised me to go to a foodbank.”

Speaking about his desperation, he said: “I’m ashamed to say I have been forced to steal some food from supermarkets and have been rooting around in their bins for food as well.

“I actually had to borrow some money from my nan, but she is struggling too and needs it back – I don’t know what to tell her.”

Ryan’s story prompted a tidal wave of criticism from ECHO readers against the Universal Credit system.

On Facebook, Lucy Dawson said: “The effects this has on people’s health is massive! “Not only are people going hungry, they are in fuel poverty and their mental health is affected massively!

“It then becomes a issue getting a job! Without help and understanding these people struggling to get out of this situation.”

Debbie Spencer posted: “It’s disgusting for this guy he shouldn’t have to resort to these measures to eat this government needs to get their fingers out and get rid of this UC it’s crippling families with young kids and decent hardworking people that’s worked all their lives and due to bad luck find themselves having to claim.”

Muriel Broomfield-Reid said: “Sad and heartbreaking, demoralising for people.

“The Tories, yes you Mrs May, need to act and stop this and make it easier for them to get what’s due so they can eat like you do every day.”

On the ECHO website, an account under the name Fibonacci said: “Half of adults in the U.K. will develop cancer, many of us reading these forums will also suffer a serious, life changing event; an accident, a serious illness to a loved one, a redundancy, or failed business venture etc., that could derail us for several years, or permanently.

“With current reports suggesting 75% of U.K. households have less than a couple of grand savings, to bolster against outlier events out of our control, it’s a constant mystery to me as to why so many of the working poor look down upon the really poor; the nearly poor hating on the really poor is a particular U.K. trait.

“I hope those who are critical of this guy don’t have to ever walk in his shoes.

“The Tories have cut welfare budgets by 30%, they’ve cut the civil service by the same, meanwhile they’re slyly introducing a universal credit system that has deep fault lines running through it for a purpose.”

Barry Hawley said: “Absolutely DISGUSTING. This thing of universal credit should not be allowed to continue, it’s quite obvious to be a cruel system for the sole purpose to put as many claimants into the gutter, the government is quite simply targeting the most vulnerable in such a cruel manner.

“With current reports suggesting 75% of U.K. households have less than a couple of grand savings, to bolster against outlier events out of our control, it’s a constant mystery to me as to why so many of the working poor look down upon the really poor; the nearly poor hating on the really poor is a particular U.K. trait.

“I hope those who are critical of this guy don’t have to ever walk in his shoes.

“The Tories have cut welfare budgets by 30%, they’ve cut the civil service by the same, meanwhile they’re slyly introducing a universal credit system that has deep fault lines running through it for a purpose.”

Barry Hawley said: “Absolutely DISGUSTING. This thing of universal credit should not be allowed to continue, it’s quite obvious to be a cruel system for the sole purpose to put as many claimants into the gutter, the government is quite simply targeting the most vulnerable in such a cruel manner.

“How on earth is this suppose to help anyone to be getting back into employment, this system is useless and ineffective, Hopefully this fella will get sorted an be treated in a humanely manner.”

Kind hearted scousers also sent offers of help, with Facebook users Will Brennan, Elliee Mason and Catherine Warner, amongst others, offering to drop off food.

The government – and Liverpool-born Welfare boss Esther McVey – are coming under increasing pressure to stop the roll-out of Universal Credit – their flagship policy which attempts to merge six existing benefits into one.

The roll-out has been hit with major problems with many saying a significant amount of money now needs to be pumped into the system to stop people falling into poverty.

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

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