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Published on Monday, December 23, 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook staff homeless and suffering mental health issues

Former Thomas Cook staff have been made homeless and are now living in shelters, according to the BBC.

The BBC says it has been contacted by dozens of worried former employees who are struggling with the welfare system.

It says some have been forced out of their homes because their landlord knew they would struggle to pay the rent.

One couple, who both worked for Thomas Cook, are now using their redundancy money to pay for a B&B while others have been forced to live in shelters.

Meanwhile, many former Thomas Cook workers complain they have been poorly advised by their job centres and, as a result, have received nothing since they lost their jobs when the group collapsed in September.

There has been much confusion over whether they are entitled to job seeker's allowance or universal credit while the tour operator's administration process remains ongoing.

Some say they have suffered depression and other mental health issues since they became jobless.

One woman was heavily pregnant when Thomas Cook failed so was forced to apply for state maternity benefits.

She said eight weeks after applying the claim was cancelled because she was sent the wrong paperwork. The stress means she is now on anti-depressants.

The Department for Work and Pensions apologised, saying: "We are sorry if people have experienced delayed payments and urge them to stay in contact with their job centre so we can urgently fix their claims.

"We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people. When Thomas Cook collapsed we were ready on day one to help the 11,000 people who lost their jobs.

"Our dedicated staff have helped thousands of those affected, including through home visits to those unable to reach the job centre and by fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible."

The report comes as a fundraising appeal, set up by former CEO John Donaldson and former MD John McEwan, has raised more than £180,000.

But the pair say more help is needed.

The campaign, administered by the ABTA LifeLine charity, is dedicated to supporting travel industry people in need.

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