I became a single parent of one child after my husband of 13 years walked out on us. I became ill back in 2010 and could no longer work. I have been receiving Contributory ESA and Child Tax Credits which total £1000 a month.
I recently moved into a Housing Association property and the housing officer advised me to claim Housing Benefit. As my area is in a full Universal Credit area I had to apply for Universal Credit instead.
So here is how they have worked out my claim for Universal Credit and how much money I will get : A month in arrears by the way.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT.. is made up of :
Personal Allowance £317.00
Housing £368.55 which is my total cost of monthly rent.
Disabled Child £126.11
TOTAL ………………. £1089.56……………
MINUS MY ESA £516.24
NEW TOTAL £573.32 universal credit + cont esa £516.24 = £1089.56 TOTAL RECEIVED
So in fact when you look at it I received £1000 on ESA and Child Tax Credit BUT…..
I now receive £1089.00 with Universal Credit WITH MY CONTRIBUTORY ESA, which ALSO INCLUDES THE HOUSING ELEMENT. It is only £89.00 more than CONTRIBUTORY ESA and CHILD TAX CREDITS WITHOUT THE HOUSING ELEMENT.
I am not the brightest at maths but even I can see that I am now £279.00 a month worse off than I would have been under the old system.
So in reality the only additional money I received to cover my housing costs was a total of £89.00 a month.
I am sitting here howling with laughter because to add insult to injury they have sent me a work capability assessment to fill in for UC. I am already in the SUPPORT GROUP for CONTRIBUTORY ESA, which runs along side Universal Credit and I am now trying to work out how being declared fit for work on Universal Credit but being in the Support Group for ESA is going to work.
You just couldn’t make this up.
They are not going to be able to use this capability assessment for both UC AND ESA as my Contributory ESA is running alongside my Universal Credit totally separately. It is complete and utter madness., which is why it is so amusing.
The system of Universal Credit is clearly not designed for people who are sick and disabled and receiving old style Contributory ESA. It is possible to claim Contributory NEW ESA under Universal Credit but I would not even dare to even go there as this whole process is complicated enough.
I am more than grateful for the assistance I receive from the state as without it I would struggle to bring up my Son. However, having applied for assistance with my housing costs and only ending up £89.00 a month better off to pay a £368.55 rent bill is a little bit of a joke, which would be really funny if I wasn’t facing bankruptcy. At least Bankruptcy only lasts for a year now so there is some light at the end of the long dark financial tunnel, either that or they find a magic cure for my disability.
Unfortunately this is the new system. I was getting some tax credits (just under £100 a month), now it’s UC I get £0 despite being a single parent. Am now pregnant (and single) and just hope I will get some help then!