A disabled woman from Lincolnshire has been told by the Department of Work and Pensions that her benefits claims repeatedly went missing, along with thousands of other claimants, in an IT black hole.
As reported by the Disability News Service, Vicky Pearson was forced to survive for two weeks over Christmas and New year without food as the DWP “lost” her benefits claim.
When she called the DWP to ask what to do, a civil servant told her that she should “rest a lot and drink a lot of water.”
Vicky’s three ESA50 forms, each of which she hand-delivered to her local Jobcentre, all went missing over a period of two months from November to December last year, and she received no letters from the DWP acknowledging her claims for benefits, despite receiving letters to the same address about a separate claim for PIP.
She was forced to call the DWP two days before Christmas, when she was told that their offices were going to close for the holidays, and she was not entitled to emergency support as her ESA claim had not officially been registered.
Vicky was unable to use food banks for health reasons as they only offer processed food, and upon hearing this the adviser told her to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. Her local council does not offer emergency financial support, and Vicky was forced to ask for help from family and friends on social media.
When the offices reopened in the New Year, the DWP had still not received her form, forcing her to submit a fourth ESA50 health questionnaire – when she was finally able to secure a £70 from the DWP as an emergency loan, but it would be another two weeks before she would receive her entire backdated payment for £600.
DNS contacted the DWP for comment, but they had not responded at time of publishing.