‘Benefits officials stopped my cash for moving house’

Job seeker Michal Clarke of Newton
Job seeker Michal Clarke of Newton

FRUSTRATED dad-to-be Michael Clarke had his benefits stopped - because he’d moved addresses to be live with his pregnant girlfriend.

The 31-year-old (pictured) was left angry and baffled in equal measures by the decision of Job Centre officials to suspend his £71 weekly job seekers’ allowance.

But his misery was compounded when staff refused to reveal the exact reason for their decision, instead hinting it was because he’d recently moved from his native Yorkshire.

“I just wanted to know why so at least then I could argue my case but they just wouldn’t give me a proper reason,” said Michael, of Roman Close, Newton. “The most I got was that it may have been due to me moving from Yorkshire to live with my partner.”

Michael left his job as a warehouseman in Keighley, West Yorkshire, shortly before Christmas after discovering his girlfriend was expecting their first child. He was then told the company he worked for was going to make him redundant.

Eager to start a new life in Newton with partner and because his brief stint at the firm meant he wasn’t entitled to a redundancy package, he handed in his notice.

“My boss at the last place understood my position and gave me a letter verifying that I was about to be made redundant, that I hadn’t just walked away from the job,” explained Michael.

“I am one of those people who has to work, I can’t just sit around doing nothing. I have been applying for jobs every since I got here but haven’t had any joy.”

The couple, who meet when amateur photographer Michael took part-time model Louise’s portrait, are surviving on her wage as a care assistant at a nursing home.

Said Michael: “I asked them what I am supposed to live on, but equally, how am I supposed to get about looking for work when I have no money to get there?”

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions declined to comment.