Benefit threat shock after baby son’s birth

Date published: 10 January 2014

A FATHER of three could have his benefits stopped after missing an appointment — because he was at the hospital for the birth of his child.

Richard Allt (32), who claims Jobseeker’s Allowance, received a letter warning he could face sanctions for not attending a work programme at the CTEC building in Oldham.

But he insists he phoned in advance to say he couldn’t attend on December 12 - because he would be at hospital with his new baby son, Isaac.

Mr Allt, from Clarksfield, was made redundant from his refuse-collection job in 2012.

He said: “It was a job search that I had to do. They treat you like a piece of meat.”

He was sanctioned in 2012 when he missed an appointment because he was in and out of the hospital for five weeks with his son Jacob, who has dialysis due to kidney failure. As a result he had to claim from the hardship fund for a month.

He added: “I feel really angry. Why is a child’s birth not a good excuse? My one-year-old child was seriously ill last year and even that wasn’t good enough. Family doesn’t count anymore.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed that they had sent out a letter to Richard on January 2, but claimed he didn’t tell anyone he wouldn’t be able to attend his appointment.

They said: “He has until January 14 to respond and tell us why he didn’t attend. He needs to get in touch with us. If you miss an appointment you have to let us know, and he has not contacted us. There’s still time for him to get in touch.”