Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 88 a Month

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 88 a Month

Article excerpt

Byline: By Louise Redvers

A family-of-five have had to survive for almost a month with just pounds 88 because of benefits red tape.

Julie Hutchinson, her partner Brian Ovington and their three children, of Bensham Crescent, Gateshead, have been left penniless in the run-up to Christmas because of paperwork delays.

Julie, 41, was claiming incapacity benefit for long-term depression triggered by finding her husband Mark, 27, hanged, in 1993.

Four years later the mum-of-four lost her mother, Phyllis, 73, to cancer after caring for her for two years, and nearly died from an ectopic pregnancy.

Two months ago she found out she was pregnant and her doctor took her off her anti-depressants, which in turn led to the JobCentre assessing her as fit to work.

But Julie, mum to Samantha, 20, Rochelle, 16, Stephen, 10, and Ursula, three, had a miscarriage at eight weeks ( the sixth baby she has lost ( and is now back on her anti-depressants.

Because of Julie's sudden change of circumstance, there have been delays while the Department for Work and Pensions reassesses her eligibility for incapacity benefit.

In the meantime the family have received only one payment of pounds 88 since November 11 and are distraught as they've no money in the run-up to Christmas. …

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