Mother advised by DWP to visit food bank if Universal Credit doesn’t arrive by Christmas Eve

A mother of three children has been left with just £10 for Christmas after her Universal Credit money was not paid.

Paulette Reid from London was expecting to receive her money today but nothing was paid into her account. When she telephoned the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) she was told that the money should be paid on Christmas Eve.

Reid was then stunned to be told to go to a local food bank if the money did not arrive. She has just £10 left in her bank account and now fears she and her three children could be spending Christmas without electricity or food.

“At this point I don’t actually know what I’m going to do. If I don’t get anything I won’t even have money so that I can travel to a family member’s house,” she said. 

“I will have to spend Christmas at home possibly with no electricity. It really is at that point because I was really relying on that money today, I need to pay the electricity, there’s no food in the fridge.

“I’ve done no Christmas shopping either – it’s not like I’m ok until that point.”

Reid has recently found a job in customer services after months of unemployment. However,  because she only started work on 4th December, she will not receive her wage until the end of December.

“I went in to my local DWP to say to them ‘look I’m working’ and I’m struggling because I’ve got childcare fees to pay, I’ve got to get to work everyday and I don’t have anything right now so I can pay my childcare fees in advance because I have to do that,” she said.

Reid’s youngest child is six and she has two adult children. Last week she was given £90 to cover childcare, but nothing else.

She added: “Nothing for travel, nothing for food, nothing to help support me stay in work in general.”

She was told instead that she would receive a full payment on 21st December because payments were being early due to the Christmas holiday period.

She said:”I thought ‘ok that’s not too bad’,” but I woke up this morning and there was nothing.

“I called the 0800 number and was told ‘if you were due to be paid on Christmas Day normally then you won’t get anything until Christmas Eve if you’re financially stuck and you find Christmas Eve arrives and you haven’t received any money then you’re welcome to visit one of your local foodbanks for support’.”

However, that was also the money she had planned to spend on her family for Christmas.

“That was also me getting presents for my little one, being able to contribute towards Christmas dinner,” she said. 

She added: “The rent is due on Christmas Day so they will either take it before or after so if they take it this weekend that’s me failing on my rent.”

In utter despair, Reid called her local MP Rupa Huq who has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, raising her case.

Reid made a claim for Universal Credit in March after being made redundant.

She said of the system: “I’m shocked by the way that it’s run, I can see why people are in debt, why they’re suicidal, why they’re depressed. It isn’t a system that is set up to help people get back to work.”

The MP for Ealing and Acton tweeted a photograph of the letter saying: “Last weekday before Christmas/ first day of recess.

“Office has just received a call from a mum of two in tears as payment not come through yet and has £10 to her name for festive season.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Same day advances worth up to 100% of a Universal Credit award are available on day one, so no one should be without money.”

Perhaps it’s time the Department spent time ensuring that people actually get the advances when they are badly let down.

No matter how many time this line is repeated by government ministers and the DWP, it’s meaningless unless it actually happens.

former DWP

A comment in a Facebook group where I have posted this article.


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20 thoughts on “Mother advised by DWP to visit food bank if Universal Credit doesn’t arrive by Christmas Eve

    1. hi shelley, psycosis is a mental illness which just means experiencing something that other people do not experience. eg hearing voices or seeing things that are not there.
      a psycopath is someone who has no conscience at all. they can kill someone without feeling remorse for example.
      it is widely thought that wee georgie osborne is a psychopath. i think this must be what you are getting at.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s correct. Psychopathy is a personality disorder, and is not classified as a mental illness. Psychosis is a mental illness, it can happen as a symptom of schizophrenia, among other things.


    2. although actually when i thought a bit more about it another definition of psychosis could simply be madness. in which case you could be spot on. there is a collective madness in this government, and frankly in the country as a whole.


      1. Madness – and psychosis – implies a lack of control and/or choices.. The government hurts citizens deliberately, their policies have intent behind them. They’re bad not mad


  1. She won’t get a payment as her pay from her employers is at the end of December you can get paid twice in a month so they will stop her payment she won’t get any help..


  2. I was due to get universal credit yesterday,was told there was error they can’t put in my account till two days after Christmas,not had any money for 4 weeks,I m a single parent two children.i have not a penny and had no food for a day and can’t get my help ,no food toilet roll nothing for anothr 6 days


    1. It’s their error, they should at least pay you an advance. But I guess you weren’t even offered one. Tory ministers need taking to task on the rubbish they trot out.

      Have you got any wider family who can help? I am so sorry you are going through this x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dear god in heaven how much more my bodies is broken by this and other stories christians they are not and dearly hope father takes away from them like they taken away from those in need jeff3


  4. I’m not sure how many food banks will even be open on Christmas Eve. The DWP advice was faulty. The food bank I volunteer with finished on Friday, having opened twice last week instead of the usual once a week. Almost double the number of parcels were given out as at the same time last year. The difference – Universal Credit started last month.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. UC early pay was always 24th December. It was only 21st for legacy benefits so they told her wrong. The Jobcentre staff should have known this. The UC helpline is open on 24th December until 5pm for payment queries if its not in your bank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. Everyone pays tax and national insurance, as well as council tax. Therefore you should be able to expect what you pay for – social insurance – to work when you actually need it. This government is taking people’s money and giving them no decent services in return. Our money is being handed out to billionaires and rogue private companies. Meanwhile working mums like Paulette get paid a pittance and need Universal Credit as her wage isn’t enough to live on. She gets treated like this.

      Liked by 1 person

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