BENEFIT bosses have been forced to apologise to a man who claims he was left on the verge of being made homeless after being wrongly accused of owing money.

William Aherne claims a mistake by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) saw him issued with a demand for almost £500.

He says the money was deducted from his benefits, leaving him unable to pay his rent and facing a life on the streets.

Mr Aherne, of Oxford Grove, Heaton, had been receiving Income Support and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit after he was hurt in a timber yard in 2009.

But government changes to the welfare system meant in September last year he was forced to reapply for a new benefit — Employment and Support Allowance.

But, Mr Aherne said, the DWP claimed he had made a mistake on his application form, which resulted in him being sent a demand to pay back the money he did not owe.

Mr Aherne, aged 45, said: “They said I owed them £488 because I hadn’t put down that I was claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit on my form but I had, and they later admitted I had.

“They’ve taken about £50 off me and nobody will tell me when I’ll get it back.

“They’ve also cut my benefits from £101 a fortnight to £42 and I don’t know why.

“I can’t afford my rent and have just had my notice of eviction.

“It’s made me feel really depressed, nobody will give me any answers.”

The DWP has now apologised for the mistakes made on his benefit form.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “We are also making further checks to ensure that all aspects of his claim have been assessed correctly.”