Nanna, 63, 'forced to live on egg and chips' after £22k bingo win sees benefits axed
9 April 2019, 12:12 | Updated: 10 April 2019, 08:48
Jean Jones fears losing her home after the Department for Work and Pensions stopped her Universal Credit payments after her May windfall... which she says she spent on 'colouring books'.
A bingo-loving nanna had her benefits stopped when she scooped a £22,500 jackpot - and now fears she will be made HOMELESS.
Jean Jones, 63, won the bumper prize last May, but rather than budget the money she admits she "went mad", splurging on a Florida holiday, a new armchair and a haul of colouring books to keep her occupied in her West Midlands home.
Now - less than a year later - she is penniless and at risk of being made homeless.
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."
DWP officials told her that she could reapply for Universal Credit in six months' time - but her application was denied.
Now Jean claims she is at risk of losing her council house as her £229-a-month personal independence payments - the only benefits she receives - doesn't cover her £326 rent.
She told The Sun that the DWP has accused her of giving away half the money to her niece, which she denies.
A DWP spokesperson 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."
Jean told the paper that she has been put on anti-depressants as she struggles to cope with the thought of being left homeless - and has had to ransack her cupboards to survive.
She said: "I keep getting letters from the council saying they’re going to evict me because I can’t pay the rent.
"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.”