In the first of our new Universal Credit: Real stories series we have been contacted by “Tina”, here she outlines how she feels universal credit and the changes to the benefit system will affect her and her young family.
Under universal credit my family will probably be worse off. I am on ESA support group and receive DLA, I have two children aged 7 and 1. My husband works for himself as a gardener which he works round myself and the children as he is caring for me and taking my 7 year old to school and picking him up. Under universal credit, my husband works 16 hrs a week that is broken down from a total years hours. Under the new system when my husband can not work either due to weather or staying home with me he will fall below the threshold of earnings and that’s not with deductions taken into account. Also as the vehicle he uses is a car and the mileage is low – we will lose out (he can only drive an automatic so a van is out of our price range). Under this system we will lose out on benefit, this will throw out council tax benefit every month which is already causing me problems each year with updates to each department, so that every time they recalculate my council tax benefit they delay a month taking from my bank. This would or could happen monthly every time we update our universal credit claim.
My husband chose to work for himself because he wanted to contribute to society instead of going on the dole – even though he may only be taking slightly more than the dole pays. He feels now that he is wasting his time and feels that the government will give him no choice but to give up on his business even if its not that big or greatly profitable and either become my carer or go on the dole. He feels he wont be able to keep a job because of my disabilities and caring for our children so we will probably be the losers. Both myself and my husband have worked since we left school my husband is 50 and i gave up work on health grounds when i was 38 i am now 44.
Is your story similar to Tina’s? Please contact us and we can hopefully publish your story and highlight the issues that affect you the most .