Meet Applicants Facing £ 86 Monthly Universal Credit Cut
In less than a week, nearly 6 million people across the UK are expected to lose £ 86 per month from social assistance, as the government prepares to cut the amount people on universal credit receive .
A weekly £ 20 increase in the benefit was made during the Covid-19 pandemic to help struggling families, but ministers plan to remove it on October 1 as they say it was always intended as a ” temporary measure “.
The government has come under pressure, including from Tories on its own benches, to maintain the top-up payment after being warned that soaring energy prices and rising cost of living mean it is the “worst possible time” to pull up.
But the cup is ready to move forward. A government spokesperson said The independent the increase was “designed to help claimants get through the economic shock and financial turmoil of the most difficult stages of the pandemic, and it has.”
As they prepare for lower aid benefits starting next month, universal credit applicants have said The independent how they feel.
Kerry Purvis, 39, Middlesbrough, caring for disabled 15-year-old son
I lost my partner in 2015. He passed away two weeks before our wedding. It was very sudden. Because we weren’t married, I didn’t get a death benefit. I have three children and my son is disabled.
My partner was the full-time employee. He was paid weekly. Getting universal credit once a month is a reality check. It lasts about two and a half weeks. I often have to rely on my mom for the rest of the month.
The £ 20 increase has helped tremendously. I could buy my children’s school uniforms and get a broadband connection at home for home schooling. It was as if a ton of bricks had been lifted to me.
I tried not to think about the cut. It fills me with utter terror. I don’t know what to do. Gas and electricity prices are going up and food prices have gone up, but they’re taking £ 86 from us – it’s horrible.
Anthony Lyman, 35, Northampton, on sick leave
I have been on Universal Credit since 2019, when I went through a crisis with my mental health and had to give up my job in Special Needs Support. I loved my job, but unfortunately life hits you. I got sick.
I recently went through a custody procedure for my daughter, which I take care of half the time, and am trying to get the same with my son. But as a single dad, getting the support you need to manage your family is very difficult.
We already rely on the local food bank. I use my sickness benefit for the daily management of the household. We are already on the razor’s edge.
These hardships imposed on us will only prolong the rate of recovery for people like me. I’m just trying to show my kids a brave face.
Sonja Ferguson, 47, in south London, works part-time
My work as a palliative caregiver in a private home ended in June. My spouse is self-employed but did not earn anything during the confinement. We had to switch to universal credit.
I was not aware of this uprising. I was shocked when I found out he was being pulled. We will get £ 390 per month. It’s not going to cover everything for both of us. Something must give.
I am studying a course in criminology and psychology. It will give me a better chance to progress in my career. I also work part time. I work nights and go to college from there. It’s exhausting, but you do what you have to do.
I hope to be able to get out of universal credit soon. But I’ve worked my whole life and paid taxes, and I need it now – and it’s just not enough.
Brookemorgan Henry-Rennie, 23, in south London, founder of the social enterprise She Oath
I became homeless when I was 16 and had to move to a shelter. I got a new job at a music management company in February of last year, but was put on leave in November. I found another job but it ended in June. It was then that I started to claim universal credit.
During the first lockdown I started my own social business, and I decided to put all my eggs in this basket. So it’s not like I’m doing nothing – I’m actually working full time to run my business.
There are government grants for the self-employed, but I am dyslexic, so writing applications for them is a challenge. It’s a trip I have to take, but the reduction in universal credit will make this process more difficult.
You cannot withdraw something that is already a very small amount. £ 80 a month is a lot of money. We should stop bothering people on benefits. I didn’t think I would ever be on universal credit, but here I am.
Kim, 35, Wales, unable to work due to disability
My husband lost his construction job due to Covid in October of last year. We applied for universal credit and waited nine weeks to start receiving it. He’s looking for work but hasn’t had any luck yet.
It is extremely stressful. I have a disability and would prefer my partner to be at home as it helps, but financially and for the children he has to work. Staying on long-term universal credit is not an option.
As a parent, you eat less. I guess it’s a sacrifice you make for your children. And it’s going to be much, much worse once the uprising is suppressed. There is nothing that can be reduced that I have not already reduced. So it will literally be a choice of heating or eating.
Maybe £ 86 a month doesn’t seem like a lot to people, but when you have to count the pennies it’s a lot of money to waste.