Christmas - with benefits

Jamie and Jamie will celebrate Christmas after all.
Jamie and Jamie will celebrate Christmas after all.

A dad and his young daughter almost missed out on Christmas, denied vital cash because of Department of Work and Pensions rules.

Jamie Tripney (36) and three year-old Jamie are now looking forward to December 25 after the DWP finally stumped up the cash they owed in time for the festive season.

“It looks like Christmas is back on,” said Dennyloanhead man Jamie. “Everything’s looking okay now the money has finally come through, but I was worried we would have to give it a miss because this thing was dragging on and on - I didn’t have much hope for Christmas to be honest.

“Now it might not be the biggest, most expensive Christmas ever - but Jamie and I will have a Christmas just the same.”

The nightmare began for dad and daughter back in September when Jamie’s happiness at winning custody of his wee girl turned to despair after much-needed benefits failed to materialise.

Jamie said: “I had to quit my job as an electrician to look after Jamie full time and I applied for the benefits I was entitled to. I was advised I would be getting Income Support, Child Tax Credits and Child Tax Benefits at that point.

“But then I was told I wouldn’t be getting any of it because Jamie’s mum was still claiming benefits for her and they couldn’t have two people claiming benefits for the same child.”

Jamie contacted everyone he could think of, including his local MP Michael Matheson, as things became desperate. In fact, up until last week, it was looking doubtful if dad and daughter would even have a roof over their head, never mind be able to celebrate Christmas.

Jamie said: “I missed rent payments and it’s only through the good grace of my landlord we still have a house. It’s certainly no thanks to the benefits system. Everyone I talked to about it couldn’t believe the DWP had taken so long to sort this out.”

Last week Jamie finally got his benefits - backdated to when he applied for them - and will receive them weekly or fortnightly from now on.

A DWP spokesperson said: “If someone claims benefits as a lone parent, they need to be receiving child tax credits/child benefit for that child. When arrangements change, the original parent must stop claiming before the other parent can make a claim in respect of that child.”

Thankful Jamie praised those who stood by him in his time of financial need.

“We had a lot of people working on our behalf and I want to thank them for all their help. Grangemouth social services were great and supported us all the way through this and Falkirk Job Centre couldn’t have done any more to help.

“And of course my parents for allowing us to live out of their fridge for food.”