Universal Credit in Great Yarmouth: 'They told me I didn't have a right to be in the UK - I've been here 20 years'
PUBLISHED: 08:21 02 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:21 02 December 2016
Rosinda Louro came to England 20 years ago with her two young children to work in a packaging plant in Peterborough.
But the 49-year-old has now been sent a letter from the DWP refusing her universal credit on the grounds she doesn’t have a “right to reside” in the UK.
She worked for the first four years she was in the UK and stopped eight days before the birth of her third child in 2000.
But after having her child she suffered a stroke. She has not worked since 2000.
She survived on disability benefit and housing benefit, but she was told she would be transferred to universal credit in August.
Ms Louro, who uses a wheelchair, then received a letter from the DWP saying she would only have a claim to universal credit if she had worked after the birth of her son.
It means she is living off a £300 Personal Independence Payment a month.
Her partner’s universal credit payment is used for the rent at their home on Middle Market Road in Great Yarmouth, but they have fallen into £1500 arrears.
“I have been through hell with my health,” she said. “I didn’t choose to have a stroke. I didn’t choose to have MS. I got disabled in this country.”
And she has no wish to return to Portugal.
“I don’t know Portugal anymore, its been 20 years,” she said. “My kids are here, my family is here, I have nothing in Portugal whatsoever.”
She appealed the DWP decision but her appeal was rejected because the DWP said she still had “no permanent right to reside as she is not a current worker or holding retained worker status and is currently inactive”.
She is now appealing again and is planning on marrying her partner in December.
•Read our full investigation here or listen to more interviews about the impact on Great Yarmouth