Beaminster: Benefits maze leaves man with no income

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: SYSTEM FAILURE: Beaminster man Michael Norcott has been left without any income after failing to succeed in his bid for Jobseekers Allowance SYSTEM FAILURE: Beaminster man Michael Norcott has been left without any income after failing to succeed in his bid for Jobseekers Allowance

A BEAMINSTER man fears being made homeless for Christmas after failing to negotiate the benefits maze.

Michael Norcott, of St Mary’s Gardens, was a commercial tyre fitter until injuring his back in an accident at work last year.

Mr Norcott said until November he was getting £65 a week employment and support benefit which replaced the old incapacity benefit.

He was then judged fit for work and told to apply for Jobseekers allowance but when he tried to he was told because he still had sick notes he wasn’t entitled to that either.

Since then he has been living on the charity of neighbours and says he doesn’t know where to turn for help.

He said: “I have nothing coming in whatsoever.

“I have no food.

“A disabled chap next door gave me £20 for my electricity.

“If it wasn’t for him and his mother I would be starving by now.

“I am at a loss.

“I have tried every avenue but nobody is telling me I am entitled to anything.”

Mr Norcott said that he has been referred to a neurosurgeon for an operation on his back but is still being told he is fit for work.

He added: “Nobody is accepting anything.

“I will have no money to pay my rent – if they don’t pay that I am going to become homeless.”

He says he tried the Citizens’ Advice who referred him to Age Concern and the Job Centre in Bridport.

He said he was then led through a maze, ringing numbers in Barrow-in-Furness, Hull, Belfast and Bridgend and being told something different by each office.

He has also tried to contact MP Oliver Letwin and is waiting for a reply.

A spokesman for Bridport Citizens’ Advice Bureau advised Mr Norcott to come in again with all his paperwork.

He said: “We have a lot of people coming in with just these circumstances.

“It is difficult enough for anybody to fully understand the benefits system.

“In fact it is possible that there isn’t a person alive who understands everything about the benefits system.”

He added: “It would appear that a lot of people do fall though the cracks.”

A spokesman the Department of Work and Pensions said: “We have been in contact with Mr Norcutt to ensure he is getting all the benefits he is entitled to.”

He added that anyone could appeal decisions which are then heard by independent tribunals.

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