How winning at the bookies or bingo can affect your benefits
A grandmother who won big on the bingo is now living off egg and chips after her £22k windfall led to her benefits being cut.
Jean Jones, from Northfield, splashed her winnings on a trip to Disney World and a special chair for her arthritis, according to Birmingham Live.
However, she said she now faces losing her home after her benefit payments were cut following the win leaving her struggling to pay the rent.
Jean, 63, was receiving £543 per month in benefits until last August. However, after her windfall - most of which she has now spent - they were cut to £229. She says this does not cover her £326 monthly rent.
She said that she did not know that her benefits had been cut until she got back from her holiday to Florida’s Disney World in August last year.
Here’s why her benefits were cut
The reason Jean’s benefits were cut is because how much a person can receive in benefits is based on their capital.
These are called ‘means tested’ benefits. This means that how much you can receive is based on how much you have compared to how much you need to live.
Capital is any money you have in savings or assets. The more capital a person has, the less they can receive in benefits.
Currently, you are not eligible to receive housing benefit if your capital exceeds £16,000.
Because the bingo winnings meant that Jean’s capital increased dramatically by £22,000, her benefits were cut. She was not deemed to need the amount of money she had previously been receiving.
And although housing benefit is stopped for those with capital of more than £16,000, other benefits can be reduced if your capital is more than £6,000.
If you do not let your local authority know of any big wins, and those wins take you over £6,000 in capital, then you can face prosecution for fraud.
Regular income also affects benefits.
Here is a list of means tested benefits that could be affected by winnings
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
Council Tax Support
Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payments)