£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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21 thoughts on “£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.”

  1. It’s only now people are really beginning to understand what Universal Credit is like. Just a deliberate programme to get people off benefits, to destroy so-called long term unemployment claims, and to provide cheap, flexible labour for employers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m unclear why people have to use a 16 digit number to log in to their universal credit accounts, I was given a username, password and a security question, which are easy to remember. I currently work in Salford, and the (admittedly few) people I’ve encountered at my advice centre also use password and security questions.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that’ll have to change, won’t it? They’re not getting away with making it impossible for people to access their UC accounts. Time for me to ask questions..

        Like

  3. I’m going to ask what is probably a stupid question but surely, surely, there are guidelines about how much of a loan had to be repaid and when? Budget planner at least with an assessment of how much could be repaid?
    Are DWP loans escluded as bankruptcy debts and accounts court adminsistration orders?

    Like

    1. DWP loans are NOT included as debts that can be written off via a Debt Relief Order (DRO) for Insolvency , only private /personal debts such as personal loans, bank loans, credit card debt, and arrears on Utility bills etc. can be written off by the Official Receiver through a DRO. Other debts such as Council Tax, Student Loans, debts to HMRC, are also not covered by a DRO. I am currently the subject of a DRO for Insolvency and am midway through the 12 months Moratorium period, my personal debts will be written off by end of August if there is no increase to my income in that period that results in me having an extra £50 per month available after normal expenditure. If my income does increase beyond that level I have to inform the Receiver and the DRO will be revoked and I’ll be liable to pay the debts that were included on my Credit Report when I applied for the DRO. Anyone wanting to go through this process should contact the CAB and they arrange it all for you and give you all the necessary forms to fill in. But it won’t write off any DWP loans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. P.S.

        It puts me in an awkward position of having to apply for jobs to keep the Jobcentre happy and avoid getting Sanctioned, but I can’t afford to get a job until after August when my DRO is complete, but obviously I can’t tell the Jobcentre that so I’m walking a financial tight rope at the moment!

        Like

      2. P.P.S.

        I forgot to add that there is a £90 fee to pay to the Receiver when applying for a DRO, and the CAB will let you pay this into an account they set up for you in installments as you can afford, though the sooner it is paid the better, because the CAB cannot submit the application on your behalf until the £90 fee is is place.

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  4. Society seems to be falling apart at the seams, crime is increasing and in my area it’s getting really bad with gun crime, shootings practically every week and lots of antisocial behaviour. I got up this morning to find my wheelie bins had been set on fire and destroyed overnight. But I can’t move out because that would trigger a transfer to Universal Credit so feel very trapped.

    Like

  5. This government are refusing to join the dots UC is causing unnessarry homelessness impacting financially on soical services such as children being placed in to care as their unable to be cared for due to cuts to UC benefits would be helpful to know numbers?. NHS people suffering malnutrition spending time in hosptial other illness and mental well-being the human distress it’s causing is heartbreaking however if DWP were to do a impact report I think you would find that UC is a false economy and all that happening is the cost the DWP are saving is just burdening other services with the cost?
    not forgetting legal services all the tribunals that are often overturned in favour of claimants and the millions spent on medical assessments that are often overturned and the private medical companies pocketing millions and not having to pay a penny in fines or legal fees even when in most cases medical assessments are overturned in favour of claimants. Again DWP could use claimants own NHS medial professionals that would cost far less to obtain medical assessments however refuse to do so as clearly there is a hidden agenda and directives set for private medical assessments to follow via there contact with DWP as there are clearly target setting or what would be the need to pay private medical company for assessments they could use NHS staff it’s just such a false economy and the fact DWP are not being included in any stats being collated via the new sucide preventions minster is very worrying and why would they not be included ????

    Like

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