A devastated mum fears she could owe thousands and lose her home after tax credit payments were stopped.
Nancy Gardiner says she has just £100 to pay her bills and care for her three sons this Christmas after being told she would no longer get tax credits.
She said: “I’m absolutely speechless. I can’t eat, I’m exhausted, I can’t stop crying. I’m absolutely mortified that I’m having to have such a battle with the system that should be there to support you.”
Nancy is a law student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and mum to three boys aged 10, 11 and 14.
She has a part-time job in ticket sales for Wigan Warriors, but mostly relies on student finance and tax credits.
But last week she received a letter saying she would no longer receive the tax credits.
The letter said it was because she and her husband “were not separated under a court order or separated in circumstances that were likely to be permanent for tax credit purposes”.
But Nancy, 42, says they separated just over two years ago. She said she cannot afford a divorce from her husband and it was not possible until they had been separated for two years.
Nancy, of Chapel Lane, Coppull, said: “When I rang them up they said they had information to say we were living as a couple. I said we were not and provided all this proof.”
Nancy is appealing the decision but has been told it takes 30 days – and she believes it could take longer due to Christmas.
A HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC does not comment on identifiable tax credits claimants. When we have reason to believe something may be wrong with a tax credits award we write to the claimant to ask for further information to make sure the right money is being paid.”