A SOUTH Yorkshire couple with 10 children are snubbing thousands of pounds in benefits after getting fed up of ‘scroungers’.
Lee Hamlin, aged 39, and his partner Emma Payne, 36, live in Penistone, near Sheffield, with their brood of children aged between three and 19 - but survive without claiming from the state.
Lee, a carer, and Emma, a part-time support worker, admit life is tough on their £14,000-a-year wage but the couple prefer to provide for themselves instead of claiming benefits including housing, income support and free school dinner.
They said strangers have accused them of being benefit ‘scroungers’ and they want to put the record straight.
The family only claim £114 a week in child benefit but forgo thousands in benefits for housing, income support, working tax credits, council tax allowance and free school meals in favour of working.
The couple spoke out after an unemployed mother-of-10 admitted she claims £30,000 a year in benefits.
Lee, who has applied for a second job in a call centre to help make ends meet, said: “Those that sit on their backsides all day claiming sick really annoy me.”
He added: “We’re working, but we’re struggling.
“In an ideal world I would be on a lot higher pay but that’s just not the way it is.
“I’ve just applied for a second job in a call centre for days I’m not working - I would rather work seven days a week than have to rely on benefits.
“We would be better off financially on benefits but it’s our choice to work and not be on them. Those who sit all day claiming sick really annoy me.”
Emma added: “It is very hard work but the kids muck in and help out with the chores. We are quite strict with them and have to have a very structured routine or it wouldn’t work.”
Lee and Emma met in 1996 when Emma already had four children.
They have gone on to have six other children together. They say they have taught Mitchell, 19, Mason, 17, Jordan, 16, Shannon, 15, Callum, 11, Dillon, 10, Ellie, nine, Fallon, seven, Alfie, four, and Charley, three, old-fashioned values.
The run a second-hand Vauxhall Corsa which costs £50 a week in petrol and they spent £200 a week on groceries, including 84 pints of milk, 21 loaves of bread and 24 toilet rolls.
Emma wanted to put the record straight after being accused of being ‘spongers’ by a customer when they were in a fast food restaurant.
She said: “A customer said, ‘Are they all yours? I bet you’re on benefits’.
“Lee went mad and asked if she was a pensioner. When she said yes, he said that was also claiming from the state.
“Each time I get people giving me grief I remember how lucky I am to have such good kids.”