Taxing time as newlyweds lose benefit

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GETTING married was a happy moment for Nicola and Shaun Topham who don’t work due to depression - but then their benefits were stopped for six weeks.

Nicola had informed the Inland Revenue and the DWP of her change of name after the big day. She normally receives £158-a-week in tax credits and £165-a-fortnight in jobseeker’s allowance.

But the money stopped while both organisations slowly processed the information.

Meanwhile Nicola and Shaun had to borrow money from friends and family to survive. Nicola, aged 32, is mum to Leonie Gregory, aged 13, who has severe ADHD, and Lucy Gregory, aged 10. Leonie’s £78-a-month disability benefit was unaffected.

The family live in a Places for People home, paid for by housing benefit, they also receive council tax benefit which also continued to be paid.

Nicola said: “We don’t qualify for a crisis loan because between us we’ve had three already.

“But if this goes on our washing machine and dryer could be repossessed.

“I don’t know what I’d do if my parents hadn’t given us money. Dad got made redundant at Christmas and all his money has gone on me.

“I don’t want to be like this forever but at the moment I’m battling everything and I can’t see me coming off medication yet.”

HMRC restarted the family’s payments after a call from Action Desk. The DWP restarted their benefits after seven weeks.