A HAVERFORDWEST woman was offered £100 compensation for a four year delay in receiving recalculated child support payments.

Even though a tribunal found in favour of the woman's complaint that she had been receiving insufficient payments from her ex-husband, the DWP issued apologies and excuses, including offering a £100 consolatory payment for 'inconvenience caused', as they struggled to update her payment plan.

The woman, who lives in Haverfordwest and cannot be named, made an initial appeal over the amount her support payments were, in September 2017.

It took almost four years for her case to be heard, which she won in a tribunal in May 2021.

However the fight was not over as it took a further two months for the verdict to be written up (July) and another month for payments to be readjusted (August).

In documents seen by the Western Telegraph, correspondence the 57-year-old had with the DWP included her being told there was no timescale in place for the CMS to implement a tribunal decision.

Throughout each stage of the process the woman was continually told, ‘we are unable to give you a timescale on how long this will take’.

Explanations on delays included back dated adjustments to child maintenance cases having to be updated manually with the intervention of a ‘specialist team’.

Part of the DWP system faults included generating payments that were not ‘validly due’.

And in a letter written by the complaints team, dated September 2021 - four years after making her initial complaint - the DWP wrote saying: “You ask us to compensate you for delays and poor service you have experienced.

“We can, where there is clear evidence of gross and persistent errors having been made on a case, consider making a consolatory payment.

“On view of the inconvenience you have experienced we have awarded a consolatory payment of £100.”

Speaking to the Western Telegraph, the woman, who was in tears, explained how she could not believe her battle to get fair support payments for her two children wouldn't just be against her husband, but with the government department that oversees these matters.

“When my marriage broke down I had to leave my job to look after the girls.”

“To raise money I had to carboot my possessions. I was working as a cleaner.

“The humiliation of having no food in the fridge, people said go get a food parcel, but you get interviewed and I could not do that. I am a qualified professional and it was humiliating.

“I struggled bloody hard to return to work. I set up a company and earlier this year I gained employment as a consultant for my local solicitors.”

Government statistics show a massive rise both in the amount that has been paid in child support payments and the amount that still needs collected.

In the quarter to March 2015 £126m was paid with £26m still to be paid.

In the quarter to June 2021 over £4.4billion was paid with a staggering £421m still to be collected (*figures UK Government website).

The DWP were contacted for comment and a spokesperson said the woman in question will receive a payment plan for the child maintenance owed by her ex-partner imminently.

They went on to say: “Unpaid child maintenance should be paid immediately and where a parent fails to pay on time or in full, the CMS has strong enforcement powers to retrieve the financial support children deserve.”