A single mum claims she had to sell her clothes to stop her family starving on Universal Credit.
Leanne Barnett says she endured months of hell trying to survive and keep a roof over her head.
Her ordeal began this June when she stopped receiving enough cash to cover her rent.
Universal Credit officials thought she was living with her ex and didnt need the extra money.
Leanne spent months trying to prove she was in fact living alone with her 14-year-old daughter in Plymouth, Devon.
She wasnt working due to injuries she suffered in a car accident, and her battle with a long-term health condition called Fibromyalgia.
Leanne said she had been receiving a basic child support allowance and statutory sick pay, which didnt cover her rent, bills and food.
The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed child support and statutory sick pay are not part of Universal Credit.
But Leanne said she had no choice but to sell her clothes and anything else of value in her managed property to stay alive.
She said: I paid what I could in rent, when I could, and had to start selling stuff to make money.
I was selling clothes, appliances, exercise equipment, anything really.
Leanne is sharing her story to highlight the emotional toll of Universal Credit, which is a new benefits system that replaces six forms of credit into one monthly payment.
Last week she came close to being evicted, and despite coming to an arrangement with the council, she now accepts she will spend months and potentially years trapped in debt.
Thats because shes racked up rent arrears of almost £1,000.
She says Universal Credit is entirely to blame for landing her in debt, yet the system is only going to cover back a proportion of what is owed.
Leannes situation is made worse by the fact she has to pay bedroom tax – a levy imposed on families with spare bedrooms.
She added: My depression is worse, and when I get anxious about money it makes my Fibromyalgia worse; its a never-ending cycle.
Its going to be hard getting out of the cycle of debt and the problems its caused.
I dont know how long it will be before Im on top of everything.
I feel let down by the system, its completely messed up.
She added: The Government needs to put the benefits system back to how it was; with multiple payments so you knew what everything was for.
There are so many people like me ending up in debt because of Universal Credit; its unreal.
A DWP spokesperson said: Budgeting support and advances are available so no one has to face hardship with Universal Credit, and rent payments can be paid direct to the landlord.
When a couple split up theyre each asked to make a new Universal Credit claim, to ensure theyre getting the right amount.