Family homeless after benefits delay

FRUSTRATED: Katarzyna Kadela and her daughter Jessica Freaney lost their home after being repeatedly turned down for benefits. (d511c301)

FRUSTRATED: Katarzyna Kadela and her daughter Jessica Freaney lost their home after being repeatedly turned down for benefits. (d511c301)

A MOTHER and her four-year-old daughter had to leave their home because they could not get any benefits.

Katarzyna Kadela, who is originally from Poland, had no income for four months after she lost her job in August.

She was turned down for several benefits because she was not born in the UK and only started receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance in mid-December.

She has had her payments backdated to August, but by the time the money came through she had already lost her home in Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe.

“I didn’t come here to claim benefits – I came here to live and work,” she said.

Miss Kadela, 28, left Poland eight years ago and has lived in the UK since 2008.

Her daughter, Jessica, was born here and until August Miss Kadela was working at William S Graham & Sons in Ravensthorpe.

When she lost her job, Miss Kadela applied to Kirklees Council to claim council tax benefit and housing benefit but was rejected.

At the Job Centre in Dewsbury, Miss Kadela was told she may be able to claim income support. She applied for that in August but in October she was turned down for that too, because she was not born in the UK.

Miss Kadela applied for Jobseeker’s Allowance a week later and her claim was finally approved in mid-December – two weeks after she had to leave her home and start sleeping on her brother’s sofa because she could not pay her rent.

And Miss Kadela’s payments will only continue until February, when she will have to put in a new claim and face more uncertainty.

She said: “I have not lived in Poland for eight years. My daughter was born here, everything she knows is here, but I feel discriminated against.

“I thought people from elsewhere in the European Union would be treated the same as anyone else.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that when Miss Kadela visited the Job Centre she would only have been told about benefits that she might be eligible for – not any she could definitely claim.

For each benefit she applied for, she would have had to complete a habitual residency test to establish whether she was definitely eligible or not.

This is because, although EU immigrants are free to work in the UK, they do not have the same benefit entitlements, and Miss Kadela failed the tests for council tax benefit, housing benefit and income support.




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