Brit who was born and raised in Manchester told he couldn't get Universal Credit because he lived in Spain for two years

A BRITISH man born and raised in Manchester was told he couldn’t get Universal Credit because he’d lived in Spain for two years.

Matthew Stockall, 38, recently returned to Britain after a spell working in Benidorm.

But he was shocked to be told he couldn’t claim benefits to support himself – because of his time living abroad.

The rejection came despite the fact he’d paid National Insurance contributions for nearly two decades during his career as a train manager.

Mr Stockall was eventually allowed to claim benefits after a desperate five-week delay when he had less than £3 a day to live on.

He said: “The DWP told me they didn’t recognise me a resident of the country as I had no permanent residence or offer of employment.

“I have paid National Insurance and tax for almost 20 years before moving, and when I needed help my country didn’t listen.

“Since returning, I’ve had no help and relied on what my auntie and sister could offer me. I’ve had to sofa hop between their homes, as well as relying on them to feed me.”

Mr Stockall moved to Benidorm and worked as a bar rep to be with his partner, but returned to the UK when they broke up this year.

He said DWP officials appeared to think he would squirrel away the benefits and return to living in Spain.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “We have an obligation to ensure we support people who are fully resident in the UK to avoid abuse of the welfare system.

“The Habitual Residence Test ensures that only people intending to remain within the UK for the foreseeable future can claim welfare support.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

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“This includes returning UK nationals, and we will always speak to claimants and examine evidence for this.”

The rollout of Universal Credit, which replaces six older forms of benefits, has been hit by a string of serious problems.

The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign is pushing ministers to fix the flaws in the new system so claimants don’t lose out when they switch.

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