'A young couple in Devon were left homeless because of an error with Universal Credit rent payments which resulted in them being forced to sleeping rough. Their distressing circumstances of destitution and severe hardship resulted in Debbie Ballard, aged 23, suffering a miscarriage.
Debbie and her partner, Ryan Gifford, were forced to spend 15 nights sheltering in a car park, after a DWP error meant that an ‘automatic’ rent payment was missed.
The Mirror reports that they became homeless just before Christmas, shortly after being moved on to Universal Credit. A rent payment was missed and their landlord subsequently evicted them.
They are now staying in emergency accommodation, but the terrible damage has already been done as they have lost their unborn child.
Debbie said: “Losing my baby makes me feel like s**t. I feel useless and worthless. And now I have lost another baby.
“I was about six weeks pregnant when we were street homeless in December. I had a miscarriage because of all the stress.
“All we want is a chance for us to be a proper family.”
Before they were evicted, the couple were living in a flat, but were switched onto the new benefits system when they had a row, and Ryan took Debbie off his claim. However, due to the change in circumstance, they were automatically switched onto Universal Credit.
Originally, their rent was paid directly to the landlord but a payment was missed in the changeover and the pair were evicted due to being in arrears.'
Read more: Woman loses her baby after Universal Credit ‘error’ left her homeless
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