Thousands of hard-up families are disputing bungled Universal Credit payments – and winning.
New figures show almost 9,000 a month challenge the amount they receive as being too low, with around 20 per cent succeeding.
Problems arise when Real Time Information (RTI) – details of hours and pay – is miscalculated or supplied too late.
That leaves families out of pocket, forcing record numbers into relying on food banks. Employers provide RTI details to HMRC, which passes it to the Department for Work and Pensions to calculate credit.
Government figures provided to Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck show the numbers affected have rocketed from 11,100 two years ago to 107,500 in the past 12 months as Universal Credit has been rolled out.
Almost 35,000 have successfully appealed against low benefit pay in three years.
It can take weeks or even months as challengers have to supply wage slips and bank statements to JobCentre staff before a claim can be lodged.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “The Tories made Universal Credit deliberately bureaucratic and difficult.
"I am certain these figures underestimate the extent of those in dispute.”
Andrew Forsey, director of charity Feeding Britain, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people are driven to despair by this system.
"For there to have been so many low-paid workers disputing RTI calculations is a sign of the chaos caused to household budgets by wild fluctuations in payments.
"That so many are upheld indicates serious flaws at the heart of UC.”
In a parliamentary answer, DWP minister Will Quince said: “HMRC have guidance to reiterate to employ-ers the importance of accurate dates… the Treasury is working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.”
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