MOTHER-OF-TWO Maria Watson, who has spent the last seven months trying to get the Inland Revenue to pay the family tax credit payments due to her, has discovered the money was sent to another family.

Mrs Watson, 39, of Bramble Drive, Pewsham, Chippenham, first applied for the benefit online in December last year.

But seven months on, she has made 135 calls and sent many letters to the Inland Revenue only to be sent down countless blind alleys.

Now she has learned that her money has been sent to someone else.

"I am just at the end of my tether," said Mrs Watson.

"On May 5, I received a letter from the Inland Revenue telling me that my application had been approved and that I would start to receive my payments of £40 a month soon.

"But two days later, my husband Perry and I received separate letters saying that our award notice dated mystifyingly 00/00/0000, had been cancelled. I called the helpline and was assured that the matter would be sorted out. Two weeks passed, we heard nothing, so I wrote a letter.

"Once again I was told I would get the money, but that our wages had been recorded wrongly and that it had to be sorted out."

Mrs Watson continued to telephoned without success. She said: "When I did get through to someone, I was told my claim had first gone to a mismatch section. Then they said it was with the work quest section. And then I was told that my money had been being paid to a single mother called Tracy Atherton. I couldn't believe it.

"Earlier this week, I was told that it had been looked into and was finally sorted out. So I went out and bought a bottle of wine to celebrate. But on Tuesday I called again only to find out that my application was still recorded as cancelled."

Mrs Watson, who has twin sons aged six, had a hysterectomy seven weeks ago and should be taking it easy, but she says the fiasco over the tax credit has left her stressed, often to the point of tears.

"The Inland Revenue make such a big thing about the family tax credit being there to help people, but it's only brought me stress," she said.

"My telephone company tells me that I have now made 135 calls to the helpline number and as far as I can gather, I won't get the money owed to me until the Inland Revenue sort out the problem of having paid my money to someone else."

An Inland Revenue spokesman said he could not comment on Mrs Watson's case because of confidentiality issues, but confirmed that her problems were being looked into."

Have you had a problem with tax credits? Call Debbie Waite on (01249) 654422 or you can e-mail her at: