Penniless cancer patient received Universal Credit payment day after he died

A cancer sufferer spent his final days penniless as he waited for a Universal Credit payment that arrived the day after he died

Mark Scholfield endured an eight-week delay for the payment before dying, aged just 62, after losing a battle with mouth cancer.

Partner Jill Fennell, who was with him for 23 years, told the i reports.: "When you’ve been given a devastating blow being told you have terminal cancer, money is the last thing anyone should be worrying about.

"The benefits system is barbaric and inhumane."


What is Universal Credit?

A single system replacing six benefits: Child and Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefits, Income Support, Jobseekers’ Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance.

It was launched in 2013 as the pet project of Tory Iain Duncan Smith supposedly to make work pay.

Who claims it?

Low earners, those out of work and the sick or disabled. Already 610,000 people are on UC – 8% of benefit claimants.

It is being rolled out to individual Jobcentres including 52 in October 2017.

What are the problems?

Debt-ridden claimants must wait six weeks (five from early 2018) for their first payment, with 19% waiting longer than that and 4% waiting ten weeks in late 2017.

Research also suggests overall, UC leaves many working families worse off than the old system.

That is because payments taper away at 63p for every £1 claimants earn.

The timetable has also been put back nine times since 2013 after a string of glitches and will only be fully complete in late 2022.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Scholfield’s friends and family.

“While Mr Scholfield was receiving Universal Credit, we are extremely sorry for the delay in his ESA payment which should have been fast-tracked.”

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