Great news for me. After years of failed applications, I have finally been awarded the basic rate of PIP. After being offered help to work through the form and seek medical evidence it turns out that I had not understood the forms correctly and been completing them wrong. I don't think this extra help is going to directly ease any problems I am facing in my personal life, but it will mean that I can let my daughter use the heating occasionally during the winter months, also enabling me to provide for her in a reasonable way during her final year of A levels. I will now be able to buy some fresher and healthier food to feed her and some suitable warm clothes for the coming winter months. My daughter has always been understanding about how difficult it is being part of a single parent family, but now I feel I may be able to make her life slightly easier.
As if things aren’t hard enough as it is living pay to pay, bank account empty, waiting on UC payment in 8 days, however receive a message about my childcare costs, they’ve rejected my childcare costs because they’ve paid for someone else’s kids, I have one child not named any of the names they’ve mentioned, so because of an error on their part I won’t now be paid the childcare I’ve paid already, so I will struggle further, can’t phone them as now the job centre deal with childcare costs, but I call the job centre and because I don’t have a claim number as I work they won’t speak to me, I can’t go down because I work and there’s a day left to the cut off to get the money in my next UC payment, universal credit say it’s not a matter for them, they take weeks to respond to messages put in the journal, I get this is a mistake on their part however these issues take too long to sort out, it took 4 months for their last error to be solved. I can’t deal with this right now.
The dates for the next cost of living payments have been announced for those most in need. But as usual I am stuck in a position that leaves me with no help at all this winter. Claiming Legacy benefits which I receive as a single person despite having a school age child to support, I am not able to claim tax credits or income related benefits, so apart from child benefit we have to struggle with the little we do get that was also not increased in line with other benefits in April. The government needs to look at the situation urgently and make changes. My daughter and I will be forced to survive through winter without the use of heating or lighting and very little warm healthy food. I don't want charity and handouts I just want to be treated like a human being in a safe and fair society.
Many low income families rely on government benefits. It will be very difficult if their benefits do not increase in line with inflation in April. Already we have cut lots of essential items in our household to survive. So, we urge the government to increase benefits in line with inflation in April.
It is hard enough living below the poverty line, surviving on benefits, if they don't rise with inflation it is effectively an income cut to the poorest people in UK society. We would have to make more difficult decisions about how to spread the same amount of money even further. We are stretched thin enough already and have been for years. It affects our family's health but I believe that is Government's intention and desire.
As a family who already have used food banks to get by in the last 6 months, to then not have benefits increased in line with inflation would be a devastating blow to our already struggling finances. Everything is costing more and more, I can't remember the last time we went out to the cinema or had a meal out - increasing days are spent at home, wondering how we can utilise what we already have and thinking about different revenue streams. To then have to worry further about our household income demonstrates how profoundly the cost of living crisis is still affecting families like mine. The stigma attached to people claiming benefits continues, as the general feeling surrounding increasing benefits is often frowned upon. I've heard people saying "They get enough already. Why don't they get up and work for a living" We still have a long way to come as a society, and increasing benefits will at least give those struggling a sense of dignity.
We are already under pressure to run family. Top of that if benefits not increase then we have nowhere to go. Government should take care of its citizens by providing them the quality of life that they deserve in civilised society.
Benefits have not kept up with inflation. For instance, the increased rents for the housing benefit element, where rents have increased significantly but the local housing allowance stays the same. This is pricing those who have no choice but to rent privately into further difficulties. It is already difficult to make ends meet on benefits. We feel powerless about the decisions only the government can make. In simple terms we will be plunged into deeper poverty if benefits do not keep up with inflation, and the government does not care.
If benefits do not increase in line with inflation, it would mean we will become homeless. I am already in receipt of full housing benefit and I still need to pay extra to the private landlord. I struggle to cover this and energy bills, food and necessities.
It causes me anxiety on a daily basis of losing our home. We have lost 2 homes already in the last 6 years.
The council refused support with discretionary housing payments.
They are not adhering to rules of benefits where disability benefits are not to be taken into consideration when processing applications. Citizens Advice are overwhelmed and have a backlog for support.
I feel I am trying to keep my head above water and it's exhausting.
I get very down at knowing what the Conservatives think of our worth and how we are punished for not bringing in a high wage, and prejudiced for relying on benefits
I really would not be surprised if benefits are not increased in line with inflation. There is no understanding in this government about how much it costs for families to live a normal, healthy lifestyle without the constant worry about how people will be able to feed themselves and their children, and cover the cost of rising bills. A lot of bills like broadband and phones rise in line with inflation plus a percentage more each year, leaving families in more financial difficulty. This, I find, is extremely tough as I am one of those who is still on Legacy benefits, who have not seen any sort of increase for several years even during the cost of living crisis, which is continuing despite what they want us to think.
If, next April, all benefits are not increased in line with inflation, I genuinely believe that we will end up malnourished and needing hospital treatment or simply freezing to death in our home, unable to put the heating and lights on even for a short period of time. I am now unable to remember the last time I ate a cooked meal or used the heating, I am now not even boiling the kettle in order to make a hot drink. There are just no more areas to cut back on so if there is no increase in benefit rates in April it will have a devasting affect on myself and my daughter, who is already struggling to work her way through school studying for her A levels. A rise in all benefits is the minimum that the government needs to announce in order for those living on a low income to even think about surviving through another long cold winter.
Hi, Millie. Thank you for the big question of the week. I think for myself and my son and for many others who are sadly on Social Security payments, I think if they didn't increase in line with inflation, I think it's just really a little bit of another nail in the coffin. I think we're already really struggling. My weekly shop is so high and I'm reducing our expectations on a regular basis. And although we will probably just have to manage, I think, with having to manage with a lot of things and we're having to get used to going without a lot of things, I think we're really good at that. People on low incomes.
I think that it would be desperately unfair and I think that it would compound an already difficult situation. I do, however, feel that at the moment there's a huge amount of anger towards people who are on Social Security payments. And I think that any increase could bring further anger and ire from people who are struggling themselves who aren't entitled to Social Security payments. It's really complex, isn't it? Because you can either get used to not having the increase and nobody gets mad with you, or you can have the increase and then you're considered a bit of a social pariah, difficult one. I think it would impact us directly.
I have been enjoying the warm weather recently, despite complaining that I could not afford an ice cream, but now the temperature has dropped its reminded me that the long cold winter months are fast approaching. Some people seem to be thinking the cost of living crisis is over but for millions of families it's certainly not. There will be no warm home for myself and my daughter again this year, as there is simply no way I can afford the cost of heating while living on legacy benefits alone. In supermarkets the price of food is still high and package sizes are also dropping. I mainly survive on food that does not require cooking now as I am constantly having to make cutbacks wherever possible to avoid ending up in dept. Legacy benefits do not increase with other benefits so every year and every price increase is putting more strain on the money we do receive to survive on.