Homeowner has jobseekers cut

Kathleen Clarke has had her benefits and JSA cut because the DWP claim she is in a relationship with the man she lives with.  They bought a house together eight years ago but split up four months later. Due to the dip in the housing market they haven't been able to sell the house.
Kathleen Clarke has had her benefits and JSA cut because the DWP claim she is in a relationship with the man she lives with. They bought a house together eight years ago but split up four months later. Due to the dip in the housing market they haven't been able to sell the house.
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A woman says her Jobseeker’s Allowance has been stopped because officials claim she is sharing an income with her ex-partner.

Kathleen Clarke, 46, said she was in a four month relationship with Barry Briggs eight years ago and bought a house in Mendlesham with him.

But when they split up in 2005, they found they could not sell the property due to the slump in the housing market.

Kathleen said because her ex-partner still lives in the house, her income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance has been cut. The house, valued at £169,555 in 2010, had been put on the market through three separate estate agents but a buyer could not be found, even when the price was slashed by more than £25,000.

Kathleen said she had visited the Jobcentre to argue her case, but they won’t believe she is isn’t sharing her income with her ex partner. She said she has also been turned down for a hardship loan and that the appeal process may take months.

Kathleen said: “I am stuck between a rock and a hard place – I haven’t got enough money to feed myself.

“I have worked all my life as a courier and am entitled to those benefits.

“I am in a horrible situation where I have had no money for three months. I was in a relationship with Mr Briggs for four months, eight years ago - we are not a couple.

“I would like them to put it right, give my benefits back and stop calling me a liar.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said Mrs Clarke was not entitled to benefits as they were living together according to its records.

She said: “We always make it clear to people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance what the rules are.

“If people are living as a couple, their partner’s income could have an impact on their entitlement to benefits.

“If a jobseeker’s circumstances change they need to inform us, after which we can reconsider whether they are eligible for benefits.”