A DESPERATE tenant had to rely on her landlord for food after a paperwork blunder led to her benefits being stopped.
Michelle Remmer spent almost a fortnight without money after being told she had not fulfilled legal requirements to receive jobseekers allowance.
That was despite completing a six-week college course and applying for 10 jobs.
The 32-year-old said she was told that to continue getting her money, she had to take on a role at a charity shop, even thought she could not afford the bus fare into the city centre.
The situation became so bad that Michelle’s landlord Charlie Pink had to take food to her, as she could not afford to buy her own.
He was also worried as there had been no word on how Michelle’s housing benefit would be affected and her rent was due.
Neither had received any correspondence explaining the decision or when Michelle could expect her next payments.
The only advice Michelle, of Emsworth Road, Carley Hill, was given was that she had the right to appeal the decision.
However, she was told that could take as long as three weeks, time she could not afford.
Only after Michelle contacted the Echo in desperation did the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) admit its mistake and pay her the full amount she was due to, as well as confirming she would receive her housing benefit.
Today, Michelle thanked Charlie for his help and said she was delighted at not having to fall further into debt.
“I feel much better now,” she added. “It’s definitely a relief.
“I’m so pleased about the housing benefit because if that hadn’t gone in, I could have faced homelessness.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We apologise to Michelle Remmer for the administrative error on her claim which affected the payment of benefit.
“We reinstated the payments immediately. We have written to her to apologise.”
Charlie said he was happy that Michelle’s situation has been resolved, but added that other tenants face similar problems.
“I’ve got three or four more like Michelle,” he added. “It’s going to be a big problem, people getting their benefits sanctioned and having no money.
“Some will potentially go shoplifting or mugging people.
“At least if you go to jail you know you’ve got food and a roof over your head.”