ON Christmas morning as an alternative of opening presents together with her two sons Wanda Kosta will be wrapping up in an additional cardigan to maintain heat because Universal Credit means she can’t afford to have the heating on.
The 44-year-old, who lives in Kelty, Scotland, doesn’t have sufficient to cowl her payments not to mention purchase presents for her sons Bradley, 10, and Sean, 18.
Michael Schofield – The Solar Glasgow
Wanda, 44, pictured with youngest son Bradley, 10, who suffers from extreme nervousness and ADHD
The climate in Fife is about to plummet to three levels on Christmas morning however Wanda has to restrict turning on her fuel for 2 hours within the night to assist dry garments for her household.
“We won’t be able to put the heating on on Christmas Day any more than normal because I already don’t know how I’m going to pay for it anyway,” she advised The Solar.
“We’ll just have to put extra layers on and keep moving around to make sure that we don’t get cold.”
She is among the hundreds of households struggling to stay, because of Universal Credit.
Michael Schofield – The Solar Glasgow
Wanda has solely been in a position to afford one current for her son and her tree and decorations have been donated by a neighbour
This week we are highlighting the struggling of individuals like Wanda in our Make Universal Credit Work Marketing campaign.
When her subsequent fuel and electrical invoice is available in for £145 she’s nervous she gained’t have sufficient money to pay it.
“I’m absolutely dreading it to be honest,” Wanda stated. “I don’t have any financial savings to depend on so I do not know how I’m going to pay for it.
“However I can’t give attention to subsequent month an excessive amount of because it’s so distant and we reside from day to day.
“If I don’t put on a happy face now, then my kids will see that something is wrong and they don’t need that sort of worry at Christmas.”
Wanda has solely been in a position to afford one current for her youngest son. The household is counting on a care package deal from single-parent charity Gingerbread to put meals on the desk over the festive season.
Michael Schofield – The Solar Glasgow
Wanda has hardly any meals left in her cabinets to final over the festive interval
- 1 I really feel like I am failing my household by going to meals banks
- 2 Are you on Universal Credit? Inform us your story! E-mail: [email protected] and be a part of our Universal Credit Fb group.
- 3 We are £130 brief each month – I really feel sick with nervousness on a regular basis
I really feel like I am failing my household by going to meals banks
The field consists of long-life milk and pasta sauces, in addition to a £30 grocery store meals voucher to spend on Christmas dinner.
Their Christmas tree and decorations have been donated to them by a neighbour.
“Having to turn to food banks and charity handouts to feed my family makes me feel constantly degraded,” Wanda added.
“It makes me depressed and like I’m failing my household.
Are you on Universal Credit? Inform us your story! E-mail: [email protected] and be a part of our Universal Credit Fb group.
“The packages additionally included a few presents for the boys thank God, because with out it they might get up on Christmas morning with nothing beneath the tree.
“I can’t afford to pay the bills, let alone buy them any gifts.”
Wanda is unable to work as she’s a full-time carer for her youngest son Bradley, who suffers from studying disabilities, extreme nervousness and ADHD.
Whereas he does go to faculty, he is typically unable to attend due to his nervousness and wishes frequent journeys to the hospital for appointments.
“Bradley needs constant prompts for day to day things like getting dressed and washed,” says Wanda.
“His issues are very difficult and he is very weak. He struggles to construct new relationships with buddies at college.
“A psychologist report says he wants help each in class and the group because the outcomes put him inside the training incapacity vary.
“He is my hero and he all the time will be my hero. He is very courageous.
“He has been through so much and he still has a smile on his face, so I have no intention of not smiling not matter what.”
The Solar needs to Make Universal Credit Work
Universal Credit replaces six advantages with a single month-to-month cost.
A million individuals are already receiving it and by the point the system is absolutely rolled out in 2023, almost 7 million will be on it.
However there are massive issues with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the primary cost and it might depart some households worse off by hundreds of kilos a yr.
And whereas working households can declare again up to 85 per cent of their childcare prices, they need to discover the cash to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of households ready up to 6 months for the cash.
Working mother and father throughout the nation informed us they’ve been unable to tackle extra hours – or have even turned down higher paid jobs or extra hours because of the quantity they get their advantages reduce.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We need the federal government to:
- Receives a commission quicker: The federal government should slash the time Brits wait for his or her first Universal Credit funds from 5 to two weeks, serving to cease 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Hold extra of what you earn: The work allowance ought to be elevated and the taper fee must be slashed from from 63p to 50p, serving to at the very least four million households.
- Don’t get punished for having a household: Mother and father ought to get the 85 per cent of the cash they will declare for childcare upfront as an alternative of being paid in arrears.
Collectively, these modifications will assist Make Universal Credit Work.
Be a part of our Universal Credit Fb group or e-mail [email protected] to share your story.
Wanda has no prolonged household to depend on to assist her plug the money hole.
Her youthful brother died in 2004 of a heroine overdose and she or he misplaced her older brother 4 years later in automotive crash.
Whereas her mum, who lives in 50 miles away in St Andrews, hasn’t acquired any spare money both.
That is the second Christmas that she’s had to depend on a charity care package deal for Christmas, however this yr they’re much more strapped for money after rolling onto Universal Credit.
She’s been to a meals financial institution 3 times – the utmost quantity she will go to – this yr.
She provides: “With out the care package deal we’d don’t have anything. We wouldn’t find a way to heat our residence or feed ourselves.
“Each day we scrimp and scrape to make it by way of – I lie in mattress each night time sick with fear about how I’m going to pay for the subsequent day.
“We don’t have any extended family we can rely on for any extra cash. What we get from Universal Credits is everything and it’s not enough.”
Wanda is just not alone. Contact a charity for households with disabled youngsters says that 100,000 households with disabled youngsters will be worst off by greater than £1,750 a yr, due to the incapacity cuts underneath Universal Credit.
“We want the government to reverse this as a matter of urgency,” Una Summerson head of campaigns at Contact informed The Solar.
Michael Schofield – The Solar Glasgow
Wanda is unable to sustain together with her payments whereas dwelling on Universal Credit
“We’ve discovered households with disabled youngsters are struggling to afford necessities like meals and heating and their funds are precariously balanced.
“These are a few of the most weak households in our society – and the very ones that our social safety system ought to be supporting and defending this Christmas.”
We are £130 brief each month – I really feel sick with nervousness on a regular basis
On the previous advantages system, Wanda was entitled to declare £927 a month however now she’s left with £312 a month to pay all her payments and purchase meals.
Though she’s entitled to £1,070 Universal Credit, £319 goes to the council for lease, £280 is taken off to cowl the Carer’s Allowance and an extra £128 is taken to pay again two advance loans.
She’s additionally hit with a £32 a month penalty for being in lease arrears and has requested for her lease to be paid immediately to her landlord so she does not get behind anymore.
She has no money left over if she pays all of her £450 payments every month, actually, she’d be £130 down.
That means she’s unable to sustain with funds and is apprehensive about how she will help the household within the New Yr.
“I now get letters in the post telling me how much I owe the council for rent but I just don’t have the cash,” she stated.
“It makes me feel sick with anxiety all the time. I don’t know whether we’ll even have a roof over our heads in the New Year.”
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A spokesperson from the DWP stated: “We have apologised to Ms Kotska for the delay in establishing the direct lease cost to her landlord. That is now in place and we are supporting her arrears repayments.
“Monthly Universal Credit statements clearly set out the amounts being paid to claimants each assessment period.”
What to do in case you have issues claiming Universal Credit
IF you are experiencing hassle making use of on your Universal Credit, or the funds simply do not cowl prices, listed here are your choices:
Apply for an advance – Claimants are in a position to get some money inside 5 days somewhat than ready weeks for his or her first cost. However it’s a mortgage which means the repayments will be routinely deducted out of your future Universal Credit pay out.
Various Cost Preparations – Should you’re falling behind on lease, you or your landlord might have the opportunity to apply for an APA which will get your cost despatched instantly to your landlord. You may also give you the chance to change your funds to get them extra regularly, or you possibly can cut up the funds in case you’re a part of a pair.
Budgeting Advance – You could give you the option to get assist from the federal government to assist with emergency family prices of up to £348 for those who’re single, £464 in case you’re a part of a pair or £812 in case you have youngsters. These are solely in instances like your cooker breaking down or for assist getting a job. You will have to repay the advance via your common Universal Credit funds. You will nonetheless have to repay the mortgage, even in case you cease claiming for Universal Credit.
Reduce your Council Tax – You may find a way to get a reduction in your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Funds in case your funds aren’t sufficient to cowl your lease.
Foodbanks – Should you’re actually exhausting up and struggling to purchase meals and toiletries, you will discover your native foodbank who will give you assist without spending a dime. You’ll find your nearest one on the Trussell Belief web site.