Help - Lost my job, never been unemployed and need benefits advice

(15 Posts)
SelwynFroggit Fri 26-Apr-13 11:58:13

Hello,

Does anyone know what benefits I'm entitled to? I lost my job on 18th March, was hoping to be able to find another job before my saving ran out but looking very unlikely so will need to claim benefits. The benefits office won't tell me what I'm entitled to - it seems i need to tell them what I want to claim for.

I have never done this, I don't have any benefits other than Child Benefit.

Background....
Single Mum, womens aid helped me escape an abusive marriage 3 years ago. Just being dragged through court by ex for anything and everything!

I have DS 6 - he is statemented, has been for 12 months. He will be going to a special school in Sept as mainstream are struggling to cope as he is on the Autistic spectrum. (being called out of work to deal with him in school mostly why I got fired!)

I have DD 8. No issues whatsoever.

I have a mortgage.
Always paid NI contributions as I've luckily always worked.

What should I be asking for? I'm completely baffled and feel so alone and unsupported.

tinker316 Fri 26-Apr-13 13:09:19

Hi!
I am in a similar situation, I got dismissed yesterday& the most upsetting part was that I didn't have a clue what to do!
I rent privately & my lo who is 3 next month goes nursery 3days a week-as that was when I was working.
I currently claim child tax credits & child benefit, I also have housing benefit which will now alter due to me not working.
I am applying for council tax benefit & have started my application for JobSeekers.
I just don't want to lose my home, that's my main worry. If the worst did happen, I will move in my mums til I get sorted.
I do have a job interview next week & just going 2 apply as many as poss.
This is a very distressing position & I feel for you.
Just stay positivesmilesmile
X x x

minsmum Fri 26-Apr-13 13:18:22

Firstly you need to apply for jobseekers allowance, child tax credits and as your child is on the autistic spectrum make a claim for disability living allowance for him. Apply to the local authority for help/free school dinners. Also apply for council tax support. I think you can get help with your mortgage after 12 weeks but it maybe getting your claim in now. Do all this as a matter of urgency as they will normally only pay from the day you apply.

SelwynFroggit Sat 27-Apr-13 12:19:24

Thanks so much for your advice minsmums. I'll get on with the claims.

tinker316, thanks for the kind words. I hope everything works out for you too. I'll be here if you need to chat and get your worries off your chest.

Thanks ladies.
x

littlefirefly Sun 28-Apr-13 12:53:29

I have a DS with autism and he gets DLA - I agree with minsmum that you should definitely apply for it as there's a high chance of getting it as your DS is statemented, but do seek specialist advice, as the form-filling is complex and takes time/needs trigger keywords for their needs to be recognised. There is a good guide to filling out the form on the Cerebra website.

Try phoning Contact a Family for support - they can give advice on benefits specifically aimed at parents with a child with disabilities, which will be different to the type of benefits you'd claim as a lone parent of a non-disabled child. For example, once your DS is awarded DLA, you could then claim Carer's Allowance which would enable you to apply for income support (if you meet the income thresholds - you need to have a low income/amount of savings). This is easier to claim than JSA as you wouldn't need to show evidence of jobseeking/have to sign on (which may be difficult if you're being called in to deal with your DS).

You can also get a higher rate of child tax credits if you have a child on DLA. I think for one child on higher rate DLA you'd get about £4000 extra per year. You might get additional support with council tax as well.

There is also financial support you could claim through social services, either as direct payments or access to respite care. CAF or the NAS helpline will be able to tell you more about these. It is worth contacting local groups as well (you should have a parent carer forum in your area, plus possibly a carer's support group) which can tell you about more localised support, like form-filling assistance, local grants and free access to leisure facilities.

SelwynFroggit Sun 28-Apr-13 19:46:12

Wow, thanks littlefirefly... I had no idea we would qualify for this financial support and it would be invaluable presently. I have tried so hard for so long to keep everything together and have now reached crisis point. I have googled contact a family, I had no idea that this kind of support was available for us, no one has ever told us.

Thank you so much for your advice and support.
x

PearlyWhites Sun 28-Apr-13 22:11:13

You should be able to claim
Interest only money towards your mortgage, think only for six months.

cuteboots Mon 29-Apr-13 13:48:35

Just to had to say would there be nothing you can do regarding putting in an unfair dismissal claim against your employer. its sounds like they were a bit unhelpful . Just a thought

SelwynFroggit Fri 10-May-13 09:54:59

Thanks PearlyWhites, I'll find out how to claim for the interest on the Mortgage (or part of).

Hi Cuteboots, my employer was awful, extremely unsupportive. I was going through court cases with my ex as he makes everything extremely difficult (suspect he has NPD). I am a single mum with my son being on the Autistic Spectrum (and his father is utterly vile to him). I was being called out of work constantly. All work did was turn the screws more and tell me I was letting them down... adding "Isn't there anyone else that can go and get your son?" !!

I work in IT... not only was I the only single parent I was the only lady. All the others are either middle aged men with wives at home or Uni Grads working 60 hour weeks to impress the management. I asked 3 times to reduce to a 34 hour working week to make school drop off and pick ups easier (I was refused every time). I asked for help and to see the Occupational Health Department and was told I didn't need to. I kept my manager and HR Dept informed of my difficulties (court cases were exhausting me and making me very depressed).

Then in February I was informed that I had a disciplinary hearing as I had "Not performed during October and November 2012". I said, Have I missed any deadlines? The answer was no. I said, Has my work been sub-standard? The answer was no. I said, Have I been unprofessional or rude to anyone? The answer was no. I asked many questions about the actual issue they had with me during Oct and Nov 2012 and why I wasn't talked to about the issues they had with me at that time and why had they waited until February 2013.... I had no answer to any of my questions.

In my hearing I had a tag team of an HR rep and a manager telling me I had claimed 37.5 hours each week on my timesheet for Oct and Nov but they could only see me online for 32 - 35 hours each week. I am an Engineer and part of my role is study, reading, analysing and interpreting the facts to the job I then need to perform. I explained this would certainly account for the missing time. My immediate manager said my work was superb and he couldn't do without me on his team. However, I was fired for Gross Misconduct for mischarging hours.

I just don't know what to do. I cannot afford legal representation. I was fired on 18th March and paid until 18th April. They told me on 18th March that I had 7 days to appeal or I wouldn't be able to come back on them. I was in no fit state (given all my other issues) to be able to form a case or appeal.

All of my colleagues are shocked and disgusted by what has happened.

I feel set adrift. My employer has been in the news recently for a very high profile case of unfair dismissal. The Chairman fired his secretary of many years because she was in her 50's and he wanted a younger secretary. He did not lose his job, the company paid the fine!! There are very few morals in the company I was working for in the Senior and Exec level management which is concerning given what the company does!

To be honest, any advice on my predicament would be gratefully received. I'm in my 40's... my DS is 6 and on the Autistic Spectrum and my DD is 8 and has no issues whatsoever. I have always worked full time as that is the ethic I was brought up with.... but oh boy - I am struggling.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 10-May-13 10:00:49

Talk to a union. You won't need to be a member to get some basic advice, though if you want more help from them you'd probably need to join. If you don't know which one is relevant, ask the TUC.

SelwynFroggit Fri 10-May-13 10:04:48

Thanks lottiegarbanzo, I'll give them a try. I just figured I hadn't responded in the 7 days I was told to so therefore had no comeback.

SelwynFroggit Fri 10-May-13 10:09:24

I collapsed and was taken to hospital in an ambulance following the disciplinary hearing. I was already completely overwhelmed by court cases with my ex and trying to get the correct help for my son... it was the straw that broke the camels back.

Bramshott Fri 10-May-13 10:15:50

Try calling the ACAS helpline about your employment case (which you've set out very clearly here, and sounds very unfair to me). They're on 08457 47 47 47.

Their blurb says:
The Acas Helpline is the place to go for both employers and employees who are involved in an employment dispute or are seeking information on employment rights and rules. The Helpline provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

SelwynFroggit Fri 10-May-13 12:08:32

Thank you Bramshott, I have called ACAS on that number you provided and explained what happened in detail. The tribunal process has now started. I really didn't think I would have a leg to stand on with such a large, multi-national company when I've struggled so much in recent months.
Thank you.
x

Bramshott Sat 11-May-13 15:49:44

Brilliant - pleased to hear it!

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