▼ Found 8 entries
19 Aug 2023

Erik W

How are you feeling about the new school year?

As far as expense is concerned, the new school year has always filled me with dread. My daughter is now in 6th form studying for her A levels so does not need to wear a school uniform, but she does have to wear smart casual clothes and shoes which still have to be paid for out of my legacy benefit payment.

On top of this, there is a need for students to buy and supply their own books which can be expensive. I am also very concerned that living on an extremely low income, not being able to afford to feed ourselves properly and the fact that my daughter also acts as an unpaid carer for me, is having a serious effect on her studies at school, which seems to be taking its toll on her at present.

On top of this she also has a lump on her knee which causes a lot of pain and discomfort which we are waiting for a hospital appointment for in order to have it removed, which is also affecting her studies and means she will need time off school to recover. So, basically, going back to school in September is not something we are looking forward to as the whole situation we find ourselves in is having a detrimental effect on her ability to have the best possible chance in life she can get.

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20 Jun 2023

Meg K

What do you think would be an adequate monthly income for you and your household?

Unsure, I do think with Carer's they shouldn't take it back as they take like 300 odd I think it is of UC

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20 Jun 2023

Susan S

What do you think would be an adequate monthly income for you and your household?

I'm unsure as don't get UC only PIP and Carer's which is a struggle but my sister gets a bit extra as her health is worse

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5 Jun 2023

Bessie J

Carers week 2023

Carers Allowance £76 per week for often 24/7 working hours.

Doing the jobs of nurses, social workers (and parent). Carers still doing teachers jobs at home, due to budget cuts in education).

Some carers are not entitled to the allowance which is taxable.

No staffroom, no work colleagues to bounce off, no going home at end of a shift.

Carers support charities funding cut, leaving unpaid carers more isolated and burnt out.

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2 Jun 2023

Charles K

How does the benefit system handle changes of circumstance?

From my point of view, six, seven years ago now, when my ex wife left and my circumstances drastically changed, we were on child tax credit and because I notified them that my wife had left me, that then called chaos. And I ended up with six weeks of no payments while I got full onto Universal Credit because I was a registered carer as well. I still am for my youngest daughter. That as well, when payments went down by 34 pound a week because I wasn't a couple. Which is a bit kind of ludicrous, really, because you're struggling on your own more than when you are the couple. So that was mind boggling. But no, I haven't had a good experience of changing over from one to the other or much support at all in the benefit system. I'm currently not able to work due to disabilities and because I'm on universal credit and I spoke to ESA and they went, 'well, you do qualify but universal credit would just take the money off you so you won't gain anything at all from that'. So I had the benefits of DWP. To me, there's no point claiming employment support long term sick because give it for one hand and take it with the other. And because I still claim carer's allowance because it helps me budget, they pay weekly so that's my weekly food bill when universal credit is monthly, which I use on my main bills and my rent, they also take off my carers allowance as well. So no, I've not had a positive experience of one benefit system talking to the other one at all.

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18 May 2023

Bessie J

Loneliness, isolation and unsupported... Life of an unpaid carer in 2023.

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1 May 2023


What changes are needed to support more people who want to get into and progress in work?

I've done alright on UC as a lone parent who is fortunate enough to be in full-time work. My UC works for me because a) I am left alone by the work coaches and b) the taper rate moving down in Dec 2021 was a massive help.

That is when UC works - when you are in full-time work.

I think the improvements needed to the social security system as a whole come down to:

1. dropping sanctions. There is no real evidence that these work and they just hurt people affected by them;

2. Incentivise people back in to work by increasing rates, and increasing rates when in work - UC benefit rates are still woefully short compared to 10+ years ago. The LHA has not moved in the last 3yrs. If people felt their ability to pay their rent was more secure even when returning to work, they would.

3. Change the perception of the social security system. Make the benefit system more like how the NHS is seen - as a help, not a stick to beat people with. Practical effects would be open up the DWP to doing proper benefit checks so people could feel they trust what the DWP say about returning to work. Simplify the system so people can easily see the benefits of working. Stop hassling people who are ill or carers or old or young. Teach more about the benefits system at school. I think this would take a longer time to shift people's opinions but I have known the benefit system since the late 90s and never once are the good things it does shouted out loud.

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16 Apr 2023

Pippa G

What is your experience of speaking to the DWP?

I found I knew more then they did and I was constantly moved through the work coaches.

They said they had to find me work so I told them "you are right you find me one where I can have 6 weeks off and all other school holidays off too, one that's within school times".

They then would just move me onto someone else.

They tried to get me to sign up to fancy named courses that I asked what they were about and my work coach had no idea about a few, one sounded great and a high level credited course. Again my work coach tried to make it sound brilliant and important. I decrypted it and said "it's just training on how to talk and greet customers isn't it".

She said "yes"

"I have years of retail experience and can clearly talk articulately"

They will pay for one to go in a basic level entry course which is pointless when you have a degree and yet they will not pay for the next level" I asked, "how does this help me?" they had no idea.

They couldn't help me find work yet they had to, as they kept telling me. They had to try and make me do courses, yet they where pointless for me.

I said "I am trapped on benefts, out of work and I have skills and qualifications, you can not find me work or answer my questions, or advise on how to help myself".

They said "we have not trapped on benefits, it our job to get you back into work"

I said "help then"

They went quiet for a very long time and the manager rang me weeks later and told me to go into carers allowance NOW, mark as a carer on your profile straight away" she rang me a hour later in her own time to make sure I did.

I'm not sure why but maybe I was going to be sanctioned or pulled off benefits.

I have a autistic child who is in FT school.

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