A Leith musician has been left penniless after her Universal Credit meeting was cancelled by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) without warning or explanation.
Martina Cannon, 43, saw her income disappear because of the lockdown, with venues closed.
She had relied on performing at open mic nights and gigs to meet her living costs.
But since the lockdown started she has been left with no income and found the benefit system hard to navigate – before her appointment was cancelled.
And matters were worse when her assessment appointment was cancelled two days after it was due to take place.
Speaking to highlight the plight of self-employed people, she said: “The whole process is horrific.
“I was trying to get through to them but that was when everyone was trying. You go through the automated stages and think you are getting somewhere but then you would press a key and then be kicked out and back to the beginning.
“I had an email and a text to remind me of my appointment the day before but I never received a call. Confirmation of the cancellation only came through one or two days after the proposed meeting time.
“I have always worked hard. When I was not performing I was practicing to make a living and that is just gone. There has to be more support out there. It is scary enough being surrounded by death without worrying where your next round of money will come from.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit is delivering in these unprecedented times and more than 1.2 million people have successfully made a claim.
“With such a huge increase in claims there are pressures on our services.
“Extra support is available including our Help to Claim service, delivered by Citizens Advice, which supports people with their application.”