Mother forced to rely on food banks because of DWP rule that denies reality

Have you ever heard of the minimum income floor calculation?

If you aren’t on Universal Credit – and considered to be self-employed by the Department for Work and Pensions – then it’s most likely that you haven’t.

The premise is that, if a person is self-employed, they earn a specific amount of money per week, and Universal Credit is provided to them on that basis.

In the case of Roxy Theobald, of Long Stratton, Norfolk, this meant that she was assumed to be earning £822 per month, working 25 hours per week as a courier, from the time she started claiming UC in October 2018.

In fact, being able to work only the hours she was given, Ms Theobald earned much less.

This was of no interest to anybody at the DWP.

As a result, she had to visit food banks and rely on friends and neighbours giving her leftover food in order to keep herself and her daughter Bella alive.

She appealed against the DWP’s decision that it could use the minimum income floor to dock money from her claim, and a judge has ruled in her favour, saying he was not satisfied that she was in gainful self-employment.

Ms Theobald, now a full-time carer, has said she hopes her case will set a precedent, leading to a change of DWP policy.

That would be welcome, as there are undoubtedly many, many people – not just couriers, who are adversely affected by this rule.

It’s also possible that the arrival in cinemas of Ken Loach’s new film Sorry We Missed You, which explores the plight of couriers, may also focus the minds of the powerful on this matter.

Don’t hold your breath waiting, though.

Source: Norfolk mother left relying on food banks while working as courier wins Universal Credit tribunal | Latest Norfolk and Suffolk News | Eastern Daily Press

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