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When me and DH were redundant together for a bit last year and claimed benefits, we wondered how and why people could fiddle the system so well and for so long, we were only on it for 9 months, first time ever, and they are on you all the time with ideas for work, help, advice, etc so how. HOWEVER this is such a small minority of people who doe this who take up 99% of the headlines. The system overall is so complicated in general and even the staff are unclear on some of the workings, which often means you never get a straigh answer or someone changed their mind. So when you do start to work again, you start this process all over again, it was exhausting!
"Despite David Cameron?s promise to ensure that employment ?always pays? more than benefits, the government admitted ?there is a risk? that working women will decide they should give up their jobs when Universal Credit is introduced.
Couples with children are likely to be among the hardest hit by the changes to the benefits system, which are being rolled out across the UK from next year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
...When he launched the reforms last year, Mr Cameron promised that Universal Credit would mean ?it always pays to work?. ?Never again will work be the wrong financial choice,? he said. ?The more you work, the better off you will be.?
?There is a risk of decreased work incentives for second earners in couples (primarily women),? the report said.
?Although the number of workless households will reduce, it is possible that in some families, second earners may choose to reduce or rebalance their hours or leave work.?
Officials claimed that the main earner in the household would be better able to support the family as a result of the reforms, meaning couples will have more freedom to ?strike their preferred work/life balance?.
One of the key obstacles to work is high childcare costs, which increase as parents return to employment after the birth of children.
The DWP found that 1.8 million main earners in a family will be worse off if they take on extra hours under the reforms than they would be now. Another 300,000 secondary earners will also be penalised for taking on extra work under the scheme.
This means up to 2.1 million people would be better off refusing the offer of extra work under the Universal Credit, 600,000 more than would be better off if they agreed to take on more hours.
The DWP also concluded that couples with children ?are more likely to see an increase than a decrease? in financial barriers to taking on extra work. An extra 500,000 working parents who live together with their children will lose between 60p and 80p of every extra £1 they earn under the plans.
...Chris Goulden, head of poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: ?The centrepiece of Universal Credit is to make work pay, but these figures show it could hit the strivers it is supposed to help.
It is self-defeating to encourage more people into part-time work, only for them to see their earnings wiped out when they progress into full-time jobs.
?If Universal Credit is to be successful in helping people out of poverty, it needs to ensure work is truly worthwhile and does not punish people who do the right thing try boost their hours and income.?