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.
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.
Hi Uisce, thank you for your question.
My answer is, the cost of living crisis is very far from over. I was at the supermarket a few days ago, my food trolley came to £124.00. Before Covid this would have cost me less than £80.00.
I was shocked at the cost of my shopping which had only gone up in price for the same items, I wasn't even getting more in quantity. Very depressing situation for many people. Especially difficult for families with young children.
Nothing reassures me that this situation is over and there's certainly no evidence of the cost of living crisis being over and behind us. It's very much right in front of me on a daily basis .
I feel this is going to carry on for a long while and that's not a nice feeling at all.
So my son's new school has given him 3 lessons of food and art & design, and because I work an extra 4 hours they won't help me towards it, so I have to buy 3 lots of ingredients a week and 2 lots of art equipment a week – makes me feel so crap that if I dropped my hours to get some/any support I'd be entitled, and same with the uniforms, but with universal credit when your child gets to a certain age you HAVE to work no less than 20 hours a week, how unfair is this?
Feeling very unsupported within the welfare system as a neurodivergent family. No one will recognise that my autism and my husband's ADHD affect our ability to work. Self- employment is work we can do, but not the hours we’re expected so we can’t meet our minimum income floor, and are trying to survive on a monthly UC payment that is less than our rent! But because we fail the extremely narrow (mostly physical) limited capacity to work assessments if we weren’t self-employed we’d be expected to take any job - despite us both knowing that there are aspects of most jobs that we literally can’t do, or that would make us ill. The system is broken.
I hate the minimum income floor. The council are now using our minimum income floor to calculate whether we qualify for a council tax reduction. Which means they are now charging us £200 a month because they’ve taken it away. We don’t have an extra £200 a month!
I don't think it is over. Very little has been done to support people through that. Salaries are still the same. Prices for essentials have gone up. More people are in debt.
Certainly not, while the price of some things has gone back down a bit in price such as gas, electricity and fuel, there are still millions of families like mine that are going to have no choice but to leave the heating turned off this winter and stay cold in our own homes due to the cost. I am unable to afford to cook food on a daily basis, often having to eat cold meals instead that do not require the use of gas or electricity. In the shops the price of some foods has also come down slightly such as fruit and vegetables but again the cost of fresh fruit is still far too high to enable us to afford the recommended amount, also I am sure most people have noticed that apart from price increases in a lot of supermarket prices there has also been a reduction in the amount / size of package simply meaning another increase.
I also feel this has a larger effect on those receiving Legacy benefits that did not get any increase along with other benefits earlier in the year and also missed out on most cost of living payments. My situation on Legacy benefits means myself and my daughter are living on the same amount as we we were five years ago apart from the small increase in child benefit, with no help from my previous partner this is all we have to survive on. So simply, NO the cost of living crisis is not over and is yet a long way off. I am starting to lose hope that anything will change for low income families no matter what government is in place within my lifetime. Whenever there is a price increase in utility bills, internet connection, food or anything else it means I have to make more and more cutbacks in other areas to stay afloat.
It is not a case of if and when things will change, it is NOW that changes must be made in order for a fairer society where we can all have a reasonable standard of living, bring up our families to have the best possible start in life that is achievable and be in a situation to lift themselves out of a life of poverty.