A FATHER who has to live off £20 a month said he felt like he had been ‘kicked in the teeth’ after he was told to budget better by benefits officials.

Kallan Rhys Mullen said he often has to chose between eating and washing after the £383 a month he receives from Universal Credit is swallowed up by bills.

The 24-year-old, from Great Harwood, said after his rent, gas and electric he ends up with around £20 for food.

The father-of-one said he spoke to a Department for Work and Pensions worker via an online communication portal and asked for a ‘budgeting advance’, an emergency loan to help him get by.

He said the DWP worker’s response was refer him to Citizens Advice to get support with budgeting.

Officials at the DWP said he has already received two advances.

Mr Mullen said: “I felt extremely low and insulted by their reply as how on earth can you possibly budget on £20 after bills.

“I asked them for an advance and they turned round and said I need to budget which obviously is not possible on my income.

“It’s extremely difficult, there’s certain days where I choose not to eat and choose not to wash, just so I can preserve enough money for gas and food until next month.”

The emergency loans – which people can apply for at the start of their Universal Credit – are paid back through regular Universal Credit payments.

Mr Mullen said he has been on Universal Credit since April 2018, apart from September and November when he worked full-time at Richmond Hides in Blackburn.

He is currently looking for a job.


Mr Mullen said he regularly has to buy food at the reduced section in supermarkets and the situation is affecting his mental health.

He said: “It has been an incredibly tough road and it feels like a kick in the teeth.

“I have been told you are entitled to three advances/loans, whether that is true I am not sure.”

The Universal Credit system is replacing the child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, income related employment and support allowance and working tax credits systems.

A DWP spokesman said: “Deductions are being made each month from Mr Mullen’s Universal Credit to pay back an advance, and also a budgeting loan he had received.

“We have however recently deferred repayments of his advance for three months, and Mr Mullen is also receiving help with his housing costs from the local authority.

“We continue to support Mr Mullen with his search for work and have also offered personal budgeting support.”