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.
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.
4 years of not knowing how. Going through ups and downs of a breakdown of a marriage, shared parenting and downhill projection of what I would be financially capable of, and finally it was here - my first abroad holiday post divorce. Although I would have loved it with my kids, having that ‘Pray, Eat, Love’ movie moment was also necessary. I might not have had the endless pocket money to spend on things, putting presents to bring back for my kids the main priority, the experience of feeling refreshed was souvenir enough.
Finally what I wasn’t expecting, was that in Britain we might be complaining of the cost of living, but in the Mediterranean it is something they have come to terms with and just knuckle down and work as hard as they possibly can. Their restlessness inspires me that however my year will end, I will not give up on dreaming of getting to my end goal too and that is to be on the road back to work as well. Sometimes fresh inspiration is all you need to spark the innovative ways, in order to create your own opportunities in life. Cost of living will not continue to define the goals I haven’t achieved, anymore.
So I'm definitely feeling the cost of living and the damage that was done by the Truss short period of time in office. My landlord is selling our home so we're having to find somewhere else to live – he told me Friday evening so not been able to get any help from any government or authority just yet, but I am blessed with a few good friends, who are already on the case and trying to help us, which has made me feel very emotional.
When we moved here, we thought it was for at least the next 10 years but because of the mortgage rises my landlord is selling up. He's a very good landlord and I'm very upset that we have to move, but I understand his situation and why he needs to sell – I just don't know what we're going to do. I don't have money to move, I don't have money for a deposit or anything and what's worrying me the most is everywhere I'm seeing online is £3000 and up per month. How is anyone able to afford this? I know my housing allowance won't. I can't work, I can't save, and I can't seem to find positivity from this. I'm scared we're going to be left homeless, or worse, in a damp mould filled property like last time.
It's scary and I don't know what the future holds for us or if we will have to relocate completely and uproot our entire lives or not. It's very upsetting. How is anyone meant to manage on the price increasing for absolutely everything? Housing isn't great where I am and £3000+ for a month to live in my town is so ridiculously overpriced. The government did this to us –why aren't they doing more to help?
No absolutely not , I plan one day to the next. I can’t even plan a week in advance. Things change so quickly, it’s all uncertainty
Specifically with the DWP, I personally dread the process of a change in circumstances no matter whether positive or otherwise. It's always a time of uncertainty, worrying how it will impact our finances. Also there's always the possibility any changes in my health will trigger another assessment which would be a real inconvenience to us. I worry it would be like starting all over again from scratch or it could take months to complete as I believe they are so far behind with claims.
Likewise the local authority has to be notified of changes in status or circumstances. I particularly feel the phrasing they both use to get their message across implies threat or significant consequences for not doing so urgently. i.e. "You must tell us immediately"....
Last year we moved house so I anticipated a bumpy ride in respect of my details needing to be verified or changes in payments. It's like throwing stone on a pond some create ripples some can turn to waves or some even turn into a tsunami depending on how dramatic the changes are.
I do remember feeling as though the DWP didn't believe me when they needed to ask for further documents to prove I was living here. How a tenancy agreement wasn't good enough proof, I just can't imagine, but they wanted more information and when you've only just moved house you're not necessarily going to have that to hand. It took time to change utility bills or update my bank account with the new address which especially in the days of paperless bills can take time to process. I mean it was enough of a mess switching energy companies, in order to have gas and electric supplies set up with my preferred supplier. Then internet and water utilities, never mind satisfying the DWP further than I had already tried to.
Not as though we can predict our futures, however, I personally prefer to avoid changes in circumstances at all costs.
Having to change circumstances is a scary process, you never know if they're gonna stop your benefits or not, especially PIP, I've heard loads of stories of people being forced to reapply when they report a change in circumstances.
I've got an upcoming change in circumstances at the end of the month, it'll mean changing address, probably twice cos I'll be homeless for a while, I hope not long, and a reduction in my benefits of nearly £500. I'm lucky to have support from a local charity who's going to handle those phone calls for me and help me set up bills because I'm gonna be emotionally strained at the time, my mental health won't handle being homeless very well (triggers flashbacks of being homeless as a teen and sharing rooms in hostels with people taking drugs, drinking alcohol and violent - not to misunderstand I meant some amazing people when I was homeless and most turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with being homeless, most also protected me in my youth from copying them and I was only homeless for a few months but it was still very scary experience to have). I have to go through that again as an adult through no fault of my own but cos I was put in temporary accommodation which isn't a real contract but a licence meaning they only have to give 24 hour notice but gave a months, I'm bidding on homes but there's been nothing to bid on since early May, it's scary. Anyway, so I know I'll be at risk of mental health decline, I have a housing officer at local council who's trying to help me find a home there, I've local charity supporting and trying to push getting me a place, but can't give what's not there to give. So right now I feel homelessness, I fear loosing my benefits and I fear the uncertainty I face. Benefits are seldom straightforward and they often look for excuses to screw us over and we can't trust benefits services to be there when we absolutely need them, that's when they're most likely to screw us.
I feel that we are glossing over the many price rises we are facing as supermarkets, including the ‘go to’ cheap ones, raise the cost of everything.
I want us to talk about the doubling of the price of female sanitary products… I want us to talk about deodorant and toothpaste being almost doubled or more in some cases, that tape and wrapping paper is massively hiked in price.
I want us to talk more about the level of greed in this country making the gap between its people and their living conditions, so much wider.
I want to talk about our kids being unable to have life affirming experiences and the children of those of us living in poverty being so directly affected by the huge, huge stress it brings to parents and carers who are just trying to make ends meet.
That washing our clothes is a luxury! I want to talk about that!! I want us to be brutal in our criticism of corporate greed meaning that affording our phones is touch and go, where anything beyond the immediate is becoming unreachable for so many of us…
Why are we not talking about these things more?
When we do go back to lower inflation, the prices won’t return to what they were, so it’s not the huge relief it should be. Because so many companies have exploited our need in such a grotesque way, and got away with it, the power imbalance is so much greater than it ever was and that, is so frightening to me.
Poverty is not something we should just expect… but we are being made to believe that it is ‘a cost of living crisis’ and we need to pull our belts in and there are media influencers giving us ‘tips’ on how to live ‘better’ with our meagre income… it is not the cost of living, it is the cost of greed and the many who cannot afford it at all, are footing the bill.
I want us to talk about cancelled hospital appointments, the ultimate effect of this on already reduced people, the worry over our health, our finances, the future, I want us to talk about the bitter taste that leaves us with… I want us to talk about why, we are raising a generation of children to believe that this is how we are meant to live…
I have different benefits but I not feel sure and confident to move to Universal Credit.
I didn't switch the benefits because I prefer continue in the system I have until now.
If there is a WCA removal, it will make things more uncertain. For example, who and how will decisions be made where peoples income is at stake? If someone is unable to work due to a health condition, this is surely something which should be looked at by a compassionate human being. This is such a complex area of UC and I feel scrapping it is a dangerous move which could leave myself and many others in a precarious situation through no fault of our own
Another cold snap coming just as the government help with the cost of energy bills comes to an end. After a visit to the doctor I was told that I have caused serious damage to my feet due to being diabetic and not being able to keep myself warm during the long cold winter. On top of this I am very concerned about the upcoming benefit increase in April as I receive legacy benefits, what I receive as an increase is taken straight back from what they call a 'premium' after being changed from incapacity benefit to ESA. After all this the deadline for changing all claimants over to Universal Credit is going to cause even more hardship due to the lower rate I will receive and the time it takes to asses the claim, in which time you receive nothing. Where is the fairness in trying to live a meaningful life and raise a family faced with a life on benefits?
Just when we were beginning to think spring was here with it's warmer temperature's, suddenly it's gone very cold again here.
Relaxing warmth 1 moment, tensing up due to cold the next.
How depressing it feels & disappointed I am with these fluctuations, after feeling so optimistic all week. I can't live with the financial uncertainty it brings for much longer.
We are being fooled if we believe the government actually even cares about those of us who are what they term "economically inactive".
Walk a mile in my shoes!?