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Mum's cash grief

By Jo Deeks on Thursday, 15th June 2000.

A SINGLE mother with four children has hit out at bureaucracy and delays which left her with just £24 in her purse and a £400 cheque she could not draw on for 10 days.
Carmen Wass, 34, of Hundon Place, Haverhill, has four children aged between three and 10 and started to work two nights a week at Addenbrooke’s Hospital last November.
Family credit meant she was slightly better off than if she did not work, but this has to be reclaimed after six months.
Ms Wass filled in her forms to reclaim family credit and sent them off in early May, then more forms were sent to her employers and returned by May 25.
She waited until last Friday,before receiving a cheque for £411, only to be told by by the Post Office it could not be cashed and had to be paid through a bank.
Ms Wass banks at a building society and, at first, feared her direct debits would not be honoured getting her into more debt.
The building society agreed to honour the direct debits, but she still cannot withdraw any cash until the cheque has cleared next Tuesday.
By that date her next family credit payment will be due to her.
“I want to let people know that they say they will make it really easy for you to go back to work, but it isn’t easy at all,” she said.
“I decided I wanted to work, even though I would be only marginally better off and I have had nothing but delays and problems.
“The school holiday week was absolutely terrible because we had no money.
“I had got my child benefit the week before thinking this money would come, but it didn’t. When I got the cheque and could not cash it I felt like lying down in the road and letting a car run me over.
“I was relieved about the direct debits and I borrowed some money for food, but now I have just got to wait until next Tuesday, which will be a month after I should have got it.
“People like me need this money, we cannot afford to wait for cheques to clear.”
A spokesman for Inland Revenue said it would have arranged for an emergency payment if Ms Wass had not paid the cheque into the bank.
He added the cheque could have been replaced with an uncrossed cheque if this was necessary.

Haverhill Weekly News

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