A sick man who racked up £2,000 in debts say he has been left on the verge of bankruptcy due to Universal Credit .
John Betts suffers from a range of debilitating health issues and has been unable to work since suffering a heart attack in 2013.
He lives in a tiny, one-bedroom council home in Deighton, Huddersfield, ExaminerLive reports.
The 47-year-old has now hit out at the much-criticised system which left people like him out of pocket.
Vulnerable people need guidance on how benefits are paid, he says.
John takes 16 different medications daily to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), angina, arthritis and nerve tumours.
He is also being treated for depression and has attempted to take his life on several different occasions.
"I’m on permanent sick now after working all my life. In my last job I was a chauffeur/valet.
"I was told I had to move to Universal Credit otherwise my rent wouldn’t get paid.
"That’s where the problems started.
"The information I got was that my rent was being paid and that the money I was getting in my account was mine, so I was spending that money.
"It was all jargon to me. Even when you’re not stupid, it’s complicated.
"But my Universal Credit payments hadn’t gone to pay the rent. Soon I was thousands of pounds in debt and the court was trying to summons me for my council tax as well.
"I had no idea I owed them that money."
The reality of Universal Credit
He estimates that he owes £2,000 in rent arrears and is afraid that he will eventually lose his tenancy.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is steering John towards bankruptcy to clear his debt in an attempt to live as normal a life as possible.
But John says Universal Credit is to blame for his predicament over payments which are often delayed for weeks.
He said: "It takes eight weeks between transition of benefits. No one takes account of that. I got an advance but I didn’t know that my rent had to come out of that.
"I offered to pay an extra £40 a month on top of my £258 rent to cover the debt but then I realised that I couldn’t afford it.
"Once I’ve paid everything out I’m lucky if I have £30 left. The last time I got paid I had £15 to my name."
John was given his tenancy last summer and moved into the unfurnished flat. At one stage he slept on a towel on a bare floor.
He explains: "Everything in the house has been given to me. It’s all been donated except the TV, which I bought for £40.
"No one told me I was eligible to use the food bank at Huddersfield Mission. I had no idea that I could get help like that. They are fantastic people.
"I got a seven-day parcel with bread, packet rice, beans, tins of steak and tuna, milk, tea bags and butter.
"I also got fresh veg, frozen fish fingers and potatoes but without a cooker I can’t cook them
"I’m very grateful because it could be worse, but it’s not enough.
"How do I feel? I feel swept away, brushed to one side. I’m not a priority.
"The Citizens Advice Bureau said they would do a bank insolvency order so that they can’t chase me anymore. The only way I’m getting out of this is by going bankrupt.
"I’d rather give them the money if I had it because they deserve it, but I simply don’t have it.
"What they are trying to do is for the best but the government is holding them back.
"I am determined to settle here and make a nice home. I want to be able to pay my bills and have nice things occasionally. I just need a chance. But I’m being ignored and I want to be heard."
Stop Universal Credit cruelty
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