It will bring serious and multiple issues if benefit rates don't increase next April. We have already been rationing since early 2022. We are still no better off for doing so.
Every household bill has increased beyond a reasonable rate, not just energy bills.
I was forced to replace my vehicle this summer. Paying for it, insuring and taxing it has taken a bigger dent out of my bank balance than anyone on a low income would like.
The money in my bank account is literally the only source of money I have to my name, no pension to think about, no savings to speak of.
This wasn't the way I ever imagined I would be living my life at my age, trying to raise a family single handedly all these years has been incredibly difficult on every level.
It's a depressing prospect. I'm not sure how much more of this cost of living crisis we can take. It's embarrassing to ask for charity, we aren't in debt yet, but that could change overnight at this rate.
I already have an empty fridge freezer. I can't face buying a trolly full of food that will end up going off and in the bin because I forgot to freeze it or our appetites change over the course of the week, or I'm unwell and can't manage to cook or eat anything.
I live with the dread of the landlord selling up or increasing our rent. It's a constant worry.
Nobody can be certain whether there will be funding to help with winter fuel costs, I'm already disgusted by the mould growth on our belongings since we moved here 18 months ago, because the house is difficult to heat aside from rationing the heating bills. I can see us still trying to claw our way out of the shortage in our budget after Christmas.
As it currently is, I've never felt so skint as this, in years.
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 What if the benefits are reduced or withdrawn?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
The social security system has a difficult system to notify changes of circumstances. The total benefits goes upside down if someone does this. That's why lot's of people don't notify benefit system of their little change of circumstances. For example, due to my chronic sickness, I had to leave job and update the benefit system with submitting relevant docs. But after few months, I have realised that the social security system didn't update my benefits and still getting less money where I should get more. It has sorted after submitting further docs and liaising with them a few times which is a nightmare.
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.
Just scrolling through my social media.
Seen a post about pension entitlements for women born in the 60s... It's up for judicial review early June. The current government are highly unlikely to make improvements to the situation. It makes me think how out of touch with the people the current government actually are.
I have no company pension scheme. Not paid enough earnings into the system due to having children to bring up single handedly & Ill-health. I'm facing the strong prospect of serious poverty in old age.
It makes it difficult to want to stay alive. Fear of the future makes a huge impact on my state of mind. Sometimes I just don't want to be here.
I have had mixed experiences with DWP.
My worst experience was signing on and my daughter who was 6 at the time was very poorly. I had nobody to help with childcare as she was absent from school.
I called the job centre to explain the situation but they insisted if I did not sign on and comply with them, I would have my benefit sanctioned. It was hard work, carrying a 6 year old from the bus stop to the job centre. My daughter was running a temperature and drowsy. She cried throughout the time of interview / signing on. She sat on my knee and I felt stressed.
The woman working for the job centre had no compassion. It was not a place to take a child. There were aggressive customers and the security guard asked personal questions of my situation and why I hadn't got a sitter for my daughter. It's surreal as if having a child didn't matter and it was expected that I had parents to help out, and I had to explain they both passed away. I felt as if I was judged and I was embarrassed to be signing on.
Just tested positive for covid. I have no energy at all and will now have to book a delivery for my shopping which I could do without paying delivery charges.
Plans to scrap [insert pension related thing here] scrapped due to backlash,
I've seen five such articles in the last week. So backlash over largely conservative voters means the government will backtrack but not stuff that effects largely labour or lib dem voters like the recent budget that punishes the more vulnerable with additional vulnerability.
I laid awake in bed last night, cold sweat panic of being forced to look for work again, these last two and half months of being on LCWRA had given me a false sense of security that the government would finally let me focus on healing, focusing on being well enough to be able to work. I look forward to being able to work again one day, I don't know when yet, could be a few years cos treatment doesn't happen overnight and is a process. But if I have too look for work or forced into work while seeking treatment it will jeopardise my healing process with additional stress. There is literally no job I can do safely with my mental health as it currently in, I'd pose a health and safety hazard, be a risk to myself my colleagues and potential clients/customers. No one will employ me and no special measures, besides having a constant supervisor assigned to insuring I'm safe and well every few minutes will enable me to work as things currently stand. I'm not even able to safely care for my children until after treatment due to how my mental health poses a risk to their development and welfare. I get a lot of support from social services and a lot of access to my children cos social see me as sick and vulnerable and deserving of help, but while I'm deemed too ill to care for my kids the gov thinks me and people like me can work. I wish I could, I'd love to role model that to my kids, and one day I will. But I can't run before I can walk. Its mental. I dread the utter desperation if hunger and cold, after my childhood trauma such retriggering makes self harm and suicidal thoughts stronger. I'm fine, safe, right now but if things keep on getting worse and more unsafe (like it's mental that people like me aren't safe in our own country, not safe from hunger or cold or starvation, like this is Britain FFS, how can government do this to its own people!), If things keep getting worse then how will my mental health ever get better if I can't just focus on healing for a short time. In the factor of my life, a few years out if the workforce to heal is small compared to lifetime out of work cos no one will employ me. Sometimes it feels like the government is just trying to kill off as many poor and vunerable persons that it can, cheapest way to lower their unemployment rates if we're dying. And loads of evidence that mental illness lowers life expectancy, as does stress and hunger and cold.
As for sanctions, they're disgusting, Government sanctioned torture. We've clearly never moved on from Victorian punish the poor mentality and it shows.
I've had nothing but threats of a fine from school. I got an attendance fine threat after 2 days off physically ill. Same month we’re warned about my child's fever, they have 2 days off and I’m threatened with a fine. This is a child who’s waiting for dual assessments. Waiting for a speech and language assessment.
A sickness bug is making its way through our household. The price of ‘own brand’ paracetamol for the kids is now £2.80. My prescription for my mental health is due in 3 days which I need to pay for. Struggling to pay for basic medication never mind anything else on top.
My daughter has been unwell for 10 says now. She got antibiotics for a chest infection but she was wheezy.
I called out of hours at 6pm last night ( Friday) and finally was called back to an appointment made at local community hospital at 10.50pm. The doctor said to hurry as he was to return to city hospital, 15 miles away at 11pm.
I do not drive so called a taxi firm who didn't have free drivers.
I called 5 taxi firms before one was free.
My daughter received an inhaler from the doctor which is relieving the wheezing.
Sat for half an hour calling various taxi companies. The phones would ring out.
Eventually got a taxi home. It cost me £10 for 2 local trips across town in a taxi.
Not much to some, but a lot to me on a low income. This means another trip to the foodbank (that is closed at weekends) once open.
A task that should be a simple part of being a parent stresses me.
Lack of family and friends support.
Lack of Income, making me feel guilty for spending money for food on taxis.
Questioning whether the cold damp house is contributing to her wheezing.
I'm exhausted, through lack of sleep with daughter coughing and mentally due to the stress of costs of being poorly.
January has been a struggle - I’ve been suffering with a severe throat infection since Christmas which wouldn’t clear up fully, even with antibiotics. Found out it is Strep A which I have no idea how I got but now I feel more miserable as I’ve been going into nursery to pick up my daughter all month and could have easily infected the kids… the doctors didn’t think it would be that so didn’t test for it til now.