Single dad from Fareham speaks of his benefit ‘nightmare’

Mark Haines with his son, Bailey Haines-Lewington
Mark Haines with his son, Bailey Haines-Lewington

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A SINGLE dad is worried about caring for his six-month-old son after his tax credits were repeatedly stopped.

Mark Haines said he had been left out of pocket and now didn’t trust when his next child tax credit payment would arrive.

He gave up work in order to care for his baby son Bailey at the end of April.

He said he had informed HM Revenue & Customs that he had stopped work and was sent a letter confirming that.

But his child tax credit was then stopped by the HMRC as it believed he was working when he was actually unemployed.

The 47-year-old said: ‘I’ve been put through hell.’

Mr Haines, from Fareham, said he had spent £200 on phone calls attempting to resolve the problem, which left him barely able to afford food or formula milk for his baby. It had also put him behind with his rent and in debt to his friends.

Mr Haines, of Westley Grove, said: ‘I’ve never asked anything from the government in my life. But now I need help and it’s a nightmare.’

Mr Haines said the only help he had been given had come from YOU, a charity with an office in Fareham.

He added: ‘I seem to be a victim of the way the government runs things.’

A spokesperson from the HMRC said that it was unable to comment on the case.

They said: ‘HMRC does not comment on identifiable tax credits claimants. When we make an error we take urgent steps to put things right and apologise.

‘When we have reason to believe something is, or may be, wrong with a tax credits award we write to the claimant to ask for further information to make sure the right money is being paid. This protects both the claimant and the taxpayer.’

Mr Haines said that his child tax credit payments were backdated in October, but his weekly payments had now been stopped and this had caused him a great deal of stress.

Mr Haines also criticised the system for forcing him to turn to charity for help.

YOU, which provides support, advice and care services across Hampshire and Dorset, is helping him with his tax credit issues. A spokesperson said: ‘We are continuing to support him and will resolve this ongoing situation.’