WHEN Liam, 9, handed his mum a handful of one and two pence pieces to help her pay the bills it broke her heart.

Mum Stacey Seivewright, 31, is struggling to keep up with her finances and has been cutting back on food and essentials after being moved onto Universal Credit in July last year.

Stacey, Liam and husband Peter, 36, live in Methil, Fife, Scotland and are one of the thousands of families who are hundreds of pounds worse off and struggling to make ends meet since moving onto the controversial welfare system - highlighted in our Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

“What made me really upset was when Liam raided his money box, which only has 1p and 2p pieces,” Stacey told The Sun.

“He came up to us with his handful of coins and said he wanted to help out with the bills.

“We couldn’t take his money but it broke my heart that this little boy is so aware of the money troubles we have. No child should have to think like this.

“This is what Universal Credit has done to us.”

The couple were initially told that they would still receive benefits but after applying they were told they didn't qualify for Universal Credit.

Immediately their weekly child benefit payment of £20.70, and monthly working tax credits of almost £320 and Peter’s £80-a-month disability allowance stopped.

The family were told that their £1,400 a monthly household income meant that they weren't suitable for extra help - but after paying their rent, bills and buying food the couple are now struggling to keep up with bills and have even cut back on food.

"I'm struggling. Once food and bills are paid we have no money left to our name," Stacey adds.

"If an unexpected bill comes in we have to ask family for help.

"I've been pushing back paying bills and even had to ask my mum for cash. I was very, very embarrassed to ask her."

Stacey who has a job for the council as a carer works 23 hours per week and is on her feet most of the day.

She says: "I'm absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. My job is very challenging.

"I've been thinking about getting another job to keep the money coming in but its completely unfair."

"I think that those that work are being punished. We get no help or advice, whereas those who refuse work are getting cash."

Stacey adds: “I was expecting a smooth transition, and was assured by the woman I met at Universal credit that we would continue to receiving all our benefits. That was just a lie.

"When we switched to Universal Credit I noticed that our rent wasn’t being paid to the landlord. We’d not been informed that payments would stop.

"It did make us feel very angry, not get any benefits or explanation, despite being told we would be entitled to payments."

Previously, they got an extra £500 a month thanks to child benefit, working tax credits and an £80 a month disability allowance which Peter got for his dyslexia.

Peter, who currently works 24 hours a week as a cafe assistant in Sainsbury's, has been trying to get another job to help out with bills but he's not had any luck.

His dyslexia makes it hard for him to apply for jobs and he's not been about to get extra hours at the supermarket.

Stacey said: “We struggle to make all the payments every month. It’s very stressful. Effectively we are down hundreds of pounds each month.

"I honestly think Universal Credit is an absolute joke they say they will help families if they need help and then we get stabbed in the back.

“They have said the reason why we aren’t receiving any universal credit is because our wages are too high to get anything, but our wages aren’t high at all.”

In October, it emerged that two in five households in receipt of benefits would lost an average of £2,700 a year due tot he changes to the welfare system.

A move which is pushing some of the most vulnerable and hard-working families into poverty.

Stacey adds: "We were just getting by before and now we are really struggling."

“We have had lots of arguments due to all of this. We try to help each other when bills are due, but when we can’t help each other arguments start."

This Christmas they family had to cut back on presents for their son.

Stacey said: “It is hard on us as a family anyway, but made even worse because we want to be able to give Liam a really good Christmas.

"We have been relying on friends and family to help with presents so our boy can have a good time.

“I have had to cut back on my son’s gifts. We were only been able to get him a few games that were on sale and shoes which were also down in price.

"Also, a family member donated four big bags of clothes that were too small for her son but perfect for mine.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit is a force for good for many. The benefit adjusts to monthly earnings to ensure the right support. Parents can claim back up to 85 per cent of childcare costs and child benefit can be claimed separately.”