Hard-up woman on Universal Credit left with just 7p in her purse forced to sell fridge to pay for heating – The Sun
A WOMAN in lockdown claims she has got just 7p left as she waits for her next Universal Credit payment in coronavirus isolation.
Dallas Kennedy-Willows says she was forced to sell her fridge to pay for heating and is rationing a few items of food.
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She would usually be applying for jobs and out of her home for much of the day – but being forced to stay inside has seen her heating bill go up.
The 45-year-old says this is something she can't afford, as she gets £587 a month on Universal Credit and spends £300 of that on rent.
She is classed as a vulnerable person due to a bout of tuberculosis when she was younger and is shielding.
She has spent the days since the UK went into lockdown to tackle coronavirus wrapped up in jumpers and using candles for lights to save money.
Dallas, who has been claiming benefits for about four-and-a-half years, says she has tried to call the Department for Work and Pensions several times to arrange an advance payment, but struggled to get through.
Demand for help from the DWP has soared as people find themselves without work during the lockdown – with frantic Government staff trying to process all the requests.
Dallas told the Manchester Evening News: "I have been told that coronavirus is a lot like TB.
"It’s like drowning in your own lungs, it’s awful. If I get a chest infection it will last a long time.
“Public Health England says someone like me is vulnerable. So I’ve not been going out.
“I have been trying to get through to them on the phone. I’ve been phoning to see if they could lend a little bit of money on an advance loan. I just wanted to ask for another £20.
“I have phoned up numerous times. I’m just sat on the settee ringing again and again.
“You just get a recorded message then after five minutes on hold it cuts you off.
The DWP has been hit by staff sickness and a huge rise in calls from people making claims – 5,000 people are set to be trained up to help answer the demand.
A spokesman told the MEN: “We are doing whatever it takes to make claiming benefits as straightforward as possible during a time where we are receiving an unprecedented number of calls.
“Our dedicated staff are working flat out to get people the support they need and the system is standing up well to the huge increase in claims.
“We will contact Ms Kennedy-Willows to discuss her claim to ensure she is receiving the help she needs.”
Today Britain's coronavirus death toll jumped by 917 in 24 hours to 9,875.
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The majority of the daily death toll came in England, where 823 people died.
And the latest victims were aged between 11 and 103- including 33 with no underlying health conditions.
The death toll continues to climb as officials believe new Covid-19 infections will peak on Easter Sunday and the NHS is braced for a "tsunami" of cases this weekend.
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