Life in lockdown – Jennifer’s story

Posted 5 May 2020

“Sorry, we can’t help you.”

As single parents with abusive ex-partners, this is something we hear again and again. They try every trick in the book – under-declaring their income, dissolving their businesses, hiding assets and revenue, jumping from one job to another. They will even try to deny parentage of our children. And now COVID-19 has just made their lives a lot easier, and ours a lot harder.

We are victims of domestic violence, and victims of the failing government department CMS, both of which have left us fighting to survive. Due to the current pandemic, the CMS no longer requires proof that an absent parent has lost their job – they can simply declare it, and stop the child maintenance payments without any further investigation.

Coronavirus has increased the cost of living suddenly and drastically. Our already limited budgets have become a lot tighter, and now we’re told we will no longer be receiving any child support at the very time when we need it more than ever.

We’re in lockdown, home schooling our children. Basic supplies cost more than they did a few weeks ago. The bills, with April’s increases, are flying through the letterbox. The energy meters are constantly spinning down, day and night. The kitchen cupboards empty faster than we can fill them, and we have no opportunity to shop around for deals and bargains. Add in the costs of online shopping delivery and entertainment for the kids, and there’s nothing left.

All of this adds to the worry, pressure, anxiety and uncertainty that many of us are already experiencing in this terrifying and saddening situation. We feel invisible, that we’re not important enough, that we’re fighting alone against a government whose job it is to take care of our families when we are most in need.

So, “sorry, we can’t help you,” simply isn’t good enough anymore.

Over 100,000 children across the country are not receiving a penny in maintenance that they are owed. We are fighting to #FixTheCMS. Find out more here.