▼ Found 35 entries
18 Sep 2023

Lili K

What would it mean for you and your family, if benefits didn’t increase 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.

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15 Sep 2023

Bessie J

What would it mean for you and your family, if benefits didn’t increase in line with inflation in April?

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

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14 Jul 2023

Bessie J

Do you feel able to plan for the future?

I am unable to plan for the future as my daughter with autism is 17 and she doesn't tick the boxes of the education or employment systems. Her support network pulled out after lockdowns and I'm left to care for her 24/7.

I have letters from DWP for reviews on disability benefits. The anxiety I go through when these letters come, is off the scale. How can I prove her and mine care needs? What if the benefits are reduced or withdrawn?

I'm muddling through paying rent and bills.

Citizens advice are overwhelmed and unable to see me for another 2 weeks to support me with review forms, past the date I need to supply the information.

For the last 5 years we have lived in 3 private rent homes. I have experienced the rug pulled from under us by landlords selling up or housing benefit cuts. Anxiety is now the norm. I'm heavily medicated with anti depressants. Constantly checking my bank acct. I've cut down our Sky package, and only pay rent, council tax and energy bills.

The atmosphere in the house is tense as my daughter is immature for her age and demands what I cannot give her. I'm mentally exhausted, worrying

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16 Jun 2023

Pammy W

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

I think an adequate monthly income for me and my family would be around £2,600 - £3,000.

As a single parent I have taken on a second job to boost my income has one wage means we can't eat properly.

I currently earn from both jobs just under £2K and am still struggling. It would be nice not to have to go to food banks or collect surplus food just to be able to feed my kids properly.

It would be nice to book a holiday and have spending money to be able to treat my kids.

I work on average 55 hours a week and also take on extra hours where I can to boost our income for a holiday or when my car needs repairs etc.

Luckily I have ADHD so have a lot of energy without needing much food etc and am able to sustain working long hours without getting tired. I do however still experience burn out from time to time but just carry on.

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8 Jun 2023

Beverly W

Dealing with life's problems, it's like living on a hamster wheel. Sometimes everything's fast, sometimes slow, but forever constant.

There's no beginning, no end.

For months now, I'm compelled to wake up in the early hours, 3 nights a week, in order to check the social housing list... It's become so habitual, so engrained in my heart & soul I don't seem to be able to let go of looking online through tired eyes.

But If we could find somewhere more suitable, somewhere cheaper then I could save enough spare money to at least think about a replacement for the old unreliable car we have.

As if we haven't cut back on tons of life's little luxuries already & continue to unplug electrical appliances where ever we can or wash less often or deny ourselves fancy foods or a full meal or go without where we can. All in the name of the cost of living crisis.

This week for instance, a property came up. Weighing up all the pros & cons is easy enough. All without being able to see inside the place is a different matter. I want to bid on the place... I remind myself we need a real good reason to turn it down if I do bid... can I take the risk of bidding on it then getting to view it only to find it doesn't have all the things on our wish list? After all "beggars can't be choosers"

It's hard being a 'beggar'.

It's hard having to compromise.

Trading off one thing against another. Some outside space, for a more energy efficiency property? Or the security of social housing that's only a fraction cheaper to rent, compared to the insecurity of a rent increase at any point?

I have aspirations, this wasn't the life I imagined I'd be living. Yet here I am. Stuck on the loop of property poverty.

I'd best sleep on things... If only I could.

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6 Jun 2023

Evelyn D

It’s been a tough few months here, financially, I’ve been so lucky, I am blessed with a great friend who supported me to be able to move house.

I have a tiny budget to do a lot of work and am trying to find support with some things, which isn’t easy. People think if you have a mortgage, it’s your own home and so why should you get support.

So you struggle, and it isn’t easy at all.

I do feel more empowered when I’m able to sort out my finance, but, with living on social security payments largely, I worry constantly and I check my journal when it’s close to the time of payment, just in case they’re taking something out or putting something in. It feels a bit sad really!

I feel like some people think they have the right to judge what I buy and how I spend the support money. I feel wasteful and think; ‘you don’t need that’, or ‘that’s a waste of money’. Could be anything from moisturiser to nice bread.

In particular at the moment, my internal dialogue when I’m shopping is really unkind and miserly. It’s so expensive!! So even the things I might previously have been able to justify are no longer an option.

It’s isn’t the worst off I have been, but I’m so afraid of the financial carnage of no support with energy costs and the cost just to live. When that is gone, what then? So I have to be extra careful… and I was already quite careful with what we had…

Not many new clothes, shoes needed but need to afford them, no trips out to anywhere paying, no holidays… there’s only so much imagination you have when you’re exhausted from just surviving…

Sometimes, people say that you can have adventures even with no money… I used to agree, but when that no money time extends so far into the future, there is just not enough imagination to make poverty into a Wes Anderson film anymore…

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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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4 Jun 2023

Gabbie S

Feeling extremely demoralised. My 18 year old is currently in the midst of a mental health crisis for over 10 days now, fuelled in part by him not being properly followed up by CAMHS. We hadn't had an appointment since January 2023. Part of the problem is the he is 18 now - so "should" be cared for by the Adult Community Mental Health Team - but he is very complex needs including his recent ADHD & Autism diagnosis, which is taking some adjusting to. It got so bad that I had to take him to the local A & E to access acute psychiatric support from the on call duty psychiatrist. We managed to get an urgent CAHMS reveiw for the following Tuesday, so he is now "back on the books". But for over 12 days, now, I have been unable to go anywhere or complete any home duties fully or even take my dog for a walk, because the reality of self harming or worse is ever present & I can't take the rise. I am exhausted to the nth degree, but it's not his fault. Nor is it CAMHS' fault either - they are totally & utterly overwhelmed by children even more unwell than my son. But the Government is patting itself on the back with the announcement that they will invest £150 million for mental health services & fund the provision of 90 mental health ambulances to respond to people in crisis rather than than the Police Service as they are not qualified. The idea is a sound one, but I fear it's going to take much more than that to reverse the trend of declining national mental health.

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31 May 2023

Lexie H

I’m tired…. I’m so tired of trying to make the small amount that is Universal Credit stretch to cover the rising cost of everything. Bills are higher, food cost are still climbing and I’m left wondering when I will be able to afford the desperately needed new clothes and shoes for my kids.

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20 May 2023

Bessie J

What is your experience of switching benefits?

I am still receiving legacy benefits.

I knew that a change of circumstances can mean a move onto Universal Credit.

I was not aware until this week that there would be less income for same claim on UC.

I was offered an affordable flat to rent by a housing association.

I went through a screening process to see if i was eligible.

The advisor on the phone explained about UC rules and a drop in income. Anxiety and confusion ran they mind. I did a benefit check on an online calculator.

The outcome said we would be £322 a month worse off claiming UC.

How can this be and why?

I Googled but couldn't find an answer to justify it.

I was under pressure to make a decision quickly to the housing advisor. I explained our position of our dog being put down but she was abrupt and business mannered, I had a full 24 hours to make my mind up. If I refused the flat, I am blacklisted from applying for any other homes offered. If I agreed, I would lose a huge chunk of benefit income by moving onto UC.

I broke down in tears and refused.

I have an autistic teenage daughter and no support. I wasn't in the right frame of mind.

We are stuck in a private rent home over the benefit cap which I need to pay out of benefits. To move would not mean we be "better off" as income would be reduced on UC.

I'm too exhausted to get angry just now.

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18 May 2023

Beverly W

I'm trying not to beat myself up about the fact my son set off on a field trip yesterday and today with next to nothing to eat for the day.

Poor health, fatigue, lack of support and disability has meant I've not been able to organise myself to the point where I could plan ahead to provide him with an adequate lunch.

The bread we had in already was a reduced to clear item that had gone mouldy since I purchased it despite storing it in the fridge to prolong it's shelf life. The cupboards were bare of any suitable alternative. We didn't have time to collect anything before arriving at school this morning.

He's messaged me to say he's starving hungry now.

Ordinarily we would have plenty of items in to choose between only I've been avoiding excessive shopping lately because I'm fed up with the amount I've had to bin due to things going off before we've had chance to eat them.

Having to wrestle with products stacked at the back of the shelves at the supermarket to make certain we buy the longest shelf life item is a fight I can well do without whilst my arms are shackled to my crutches.

Teaching my son to do the same when he doesn't want to be there in the first place creates additional stress on me I can also do without.

Wish it didn't have to be like this.

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8 May 2023

Gracie E

So this is my first diary entry. As a single parent of 3 currently surviving on Universal Credit, I say surviving as it's most certainly not living and long term I hope to be in a better position financially.

But for now my youngest son is almost 2 and I have no childcare to access work right now. Anyways I digress, the worries of everyday life sometimes consume me.

Will I be able to afford food this week? What am I going to do for his upcoming 2nd birthday? What do I do when my older two are growing so fast they constantly need bigger clothes and shoes. School uniforms for a new high school, etc. Etc.

But this week my youngest had an accident and potentially broke two bones in his foot. It was something that was completely out of my control but the worry of having to pay for fuel to get him to hospital, then hospital parking and while I was there with 2 of my 3 children the worry of feeding them while we were there away from the food we have at home. These are things a parent should not have to be worrying about knowing the knock on effect will be felt at the end of the month.

Due to the hospital negligence we have had to go back another two times since Friday which is two more amounts of fuel and parking payments. Luckily this time I was prepared with home made snacks, etc

But this has even my week so far and its exhausting.

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