A STRUGGLING Warwick mum fears her children may go without this Christmas after a payroll blunder left her desperate.
Single mum-of-four, Tonia Frane, is surviving on handouts from her parents as she continues to wait for around £1,800 worth of Universal Credit payments.
The 51-year-old has two part-time jobs as a personal assistant to two disabled employers with complex care needs.
Penderels Trust, which works in partnership with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to provide a recruitment and employment service within the care sector, has managed account and payroll services on behalf of the employers since September.
But since the company took over, Tonia explained there had been a series of setbacks including delayed wages, missed Universal Credit payments and the introduction of additional paperwork – causing stress for both her and her employers.
The Warwick Gates resident said she had not received any solid updates from either Penderels or HMRC regarding the missed payments.
She told the Observer: “I’ve made endless phone calls but it’s just going round in circles with everyone saying ‘it’s not our fault’. All they say is ‘we do payroll’ and say they won’t deal with me directly even though all these changes they brought in all drastically affected us and none of us were told anything at all.”
It transpired the missed UC payments were due to a system glitch meaning her earnings to date were registered as her wages, impacting her benefit payments.
Tonia said she had sent a letter to HMRC, using a template provided by penderalls, to explain the system error.
But the increasingly desperate mum is still no better off.
She said: “It’s not a great wage and I can’t tell you how badly this has affected me. I’ve been crying in front of my children and it’s just been the most stressful time of my entire life.
“It’s December now and my kids have given me Christmas lists and I just can’t afford it.
“It’s just a nightmare. Nobody is being accountable for it.
“The foodbank is my next step. My mum and dad have been buying food for me and giving me petrol money but I can’t keep relying on them.”
A spokeswoman on behalf of Penderels and WCC assured they were working to resolve the issues.
She said: “Upon transfer of this service, some system issues were encountered out of our control in a very small number of cases.
“Penderels Trust and the county council have been working closely with affected customers to resolve any resulting problems as swiftly as possible and this is one such case.
“Whilst we cannot comment on individual customer circumstances, we can confirm that all issues have been addressed, we are committed to providing good customer care and are doing all we can to ensure the process continues to work as it should.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”