Saturday, 31 Oct 2020

Bingo winner loses benefits after spending £22k win on holiday and colouring books

“I can’t even go to a food bank because of my chronic diarrhoea. They don’t have food I’m able to eat”

Jean Jones

Jean said she did “go quite mad” after her win last May.

She added: “Yes, I enjoyed it. I spent it on what I wanted, but I’ve provided a list of everything I bought.”

Divorced Jean, who scooped her win at Castle Bingo in Barnes Hill, was receiving £543 in Universal Credit.

Now her only benefits is a monthly £229 in personal independence payments.

But Jean’s social housing rent is £326 — which she says she cannot afford.

Jean claimed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told her she could reapply for Universal Credit six months after her payments were stopped, in February, but she was turned down.

She said: “I didn’t hear anything from the DWP until I came back from my holiday at the end of August and found out my benefits had been stopped.

“I haven’t had any benefits since August last year.

“The DWP is saying I squandered the money just to get benefits – but I didn’t.

“I bought colouring books because if I can’t go out that’s what I sit and do. It’s my hobby.

“I had one holiday and that was the first I’d had in 11 years.

“I bought a recliner chair for my health, as I have arthritis in my legs.

“I bought new stuff for the house, things I’ve never been able to replace as I haven’t had the money.”

She added that she was now on antidepressants due to the stress of losing her home.

“I keep getting letters from the council saying they’re going to evict me because I can’t pay the rent,” she said.

“I’ve run out of food now and I don’t get my PIP for another week.

“I’m living on what’s in my cupboard. I’m living on egg and chips or tinned tomatoes.

“I can’t even go to a food bank because of my chronic diarrhoea. They don’t have food I’m able to eat.

“I have to walk everywhere as I have no money for buses. It’s been seven months, I just want my benefits back.”

A DWP spokesman said: “We have a duty to taxpayers to make sure benefits go to people who need them.

“If we believe a person has deliberately spent savings in order to be able to get more benefits, their claim might be denied.”

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