It’s nice hearing/seeing other people’s views on how to get through certain situations. Helps you realise that you’re not the only one out there that has struggles and it helps to inspire ideas to help with future events. I have found it to be useful and does help when you feel a little low in mood.
Been an interesting few days, my last 3 weeks have been busy, going to Disney Paris with my partner and her children, attending court regards my children and no professionals turning up because the court forgot to send the order. My partner has a colonoscopy that went wrong and now I am in trepidation with regards Monday coming as I am back in court. Life if very on edge for me, I am struggling to know what to do for the best sometimes when though I think things will be better soon. Life definitely is throwing me some curve balls at the moment and I hope it will get easier soon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I feel grateful throughout all of this time, because no matter what, no matter how bad things get, we survive. That's a hugely important message I want my son to take away from his childhood. You can get through anything and at some point, things will level out and we will be ok.
The roof needs repairing, and the roofer has said that I can pay him in instalments! How amazing is that?!
I am slowly changing my mindset because I realise the impact that poverty has had on me is to make the previously happy and hopeful person I was, into a very depressed person, the cup has definitely been half empty. But I want to change that for myself and for my son.
I am a survivor of adversity, of trauma, and that is an amazing thing I think. I am one of the lucky ones.
It isn't easy to change your mindset when things are difficult and when maybe you didn't have the best start in life either, but I am trying because I want a better life for myself and for my son and despite the challenges we face, there is so much to be thankful for.
I am currently in intensive therapy and slowly, the lady I am working with is helping me to develop a toolkit of coping strategies. I'd like to share these with my son in a positive way and help him to see that his own reality can be better. No matter how tough things get, we are here and we are survivors.
I appreciate the Covid Realities and subsequent Changing Realities projects and the teams and partners, very much. The experience of being involved in these has been so uplifting and there are so many reasons to never give up. I have become an activist, I have become a person who sees the truth behind so many things, that's priceless. The projects have expanded me as a person and made me better in many ways. How lucky I am to have experienced this.
I do feel sad that the projects will be coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful to have taken part.
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.
Things are already hard enough and every week it feels like it gets harder to be able to afford food shopping alongside petrol. My son needs new clothes and I just can't keep up with the increased cost of everything. It's really hard to be watching the pounds this tightly.
It would be very hard as I'm struggling now with bills and food. I know the people who decide what's happening never struggle.