I'm scared that we are going to starve

(40 Posts)
Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:07:27

I made ex-h leave the family home when we separated, as I was about to sit my degree finals, so didn't have the time to look for a place to rent. They are all over and done with, and I am now working f/t in London.

The family home is 6 miles from dd's school, and 8 miles from the station. We cycle in as the parking costs at the station are too high (£6 a day on top of a £22 commuters rail fare) so we have to leave the house at 6.55am, and don't get home until 7.30pm. Then there is tea, homework, a bath and a story, and dd isn't getting to bed until 9pm at the earliest. I then have work to do from home, so am getting to bed around 1am and am up at 5am to get us ready for the day.

It is killing us both, and I have decided that we need to move out, and ex-h will have to sort the house out until it sells. I have found a place very close to school and only 2 miles from the station, which is absolutely perfect for us. It is an average rental price for our area (Cambridge), but it takes up all of my income (It is £1000 pcm. There are places that are £950, but they are much further out, so I would rather pay the extra £50 and be sane!). I don't know what to do. I have tried renting bedsits and 1 bed flats, but no letting agents will let me as I have dd (apparently this makes me a Bad Person-she sleeps in with me most nights and she would have the bedroom anyway, I would have a sofa bed).

I am so stressed about all of it. I really do want to just curl up and die, but know that that is no use to dd.

I am on a full time vocational course, so was advised that I could possibly apply for benefits, but my decision came back stating that I am only allowed child tax credits. Dd is too old for me to get income support, but because I cannot be available for work I cannot get jobseekers allowance. I am therefore not entitled to any housing benefit. I really am at my wits end, as I cannot fit another job in during the week, and at the weekend I need to look after dd, as I have no friends or family that can watch her for me.

This is the first time I have ever felt that there is no way out, but I really can't see one. I'm petrified.

expatinscotland Fri 05-Oct-12 12:11:28

You are entitled to HB even when working full-time. Someone gave you incorrect advice in this. If your income is low enough, and you are not over the savings threshold (it used to be £16,000 but may be less now), then you will be awarded HB to help with your rent costs.

Please, please, just put in a claim and also GET the tax credits!

legohouse Fri 05-Oct-12 12:13:53

Hi,i'm sorry to read that you are in this situation and feeling so desperately worried...i don't really have answers (hopefully someone who does will have some advice for you quickly).

Have you been to speak to lone parent advisor at the job centre? mine is lovely and has answers to most of my questions,if she doesn't she puts me onto someone who does,might be worth trying that?

Hang in there x

cestlavielife Fri 05-Oct-12 12:17:22

you working full time in london but on a full time vocational course? needs clarifying - if you on a course speak to the university about grants maybe accomodation in london?
you mean a course which pays a bursary/grant ? or you working for pay?

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:18:24

I have the tax credits, as I have carried on from a university degree to the next stage of my training they have just continued at the same rate.

The lady assessing me on the benefits helpline wouldn't put in a claim for HB for me as I wasn't entitled sad. I'm going to go down to the CAB after lunch as I can't even breathe, it is petrifying me.

Does the fact that I still own some of the family home cause problems because I won't be living there? If I had moved out immediately I would have been entitled to social housing as dh was violent towards dd, but I don't know if I am now. I have some equity in the house, but I also had to borrow a great deal of money to take this course, so the equity will cancel the loans out, so I won't have savings once it is sold (if that makes sense!).

NellyJob Fri 05-Oct-12 12:20:47

reiterating the point that HB is not necessarily linked to JSA, but can also be claimed if you have a low income.
also you could try renting a studio or one bed place but not through a letting agent, put 'wanted' ads in newsagents windows for example, or in the local paper, stating no agents.

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:21:11

Sorry, I didn't mean "working" full time. I'm doing full time hours (9-4.45), I'm in a tizz!!

I applied for every grant, bursary etc going but got none of them, and they don't do hardship grants, only short-term loans, which are of no use to be anyway as I will have no way to pay them back.

I have been tempted to move to London, but even there the rents are much higher, I need to find dd a school etc (which she won't cope with as it takes her forever to form friendships), and I want to be in Cam as I have friends here, and without them I don't think I would cope.

NellyJob Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:20

the woman on the benefits helpline might have been misinformed.

Thewidewideworld Fri 05-Oct-12 12:24:01

Have you tried the CAB? - they are very good at sorting out what you are entitled to. Could you put the house on the market and carry on living in it until it sells? Presumably once it sells you will have some equity at least. You say you are separated from ex-H? Have you got a financial agreement in place? Is he paying enough maintenance? It all sounds horribly stressful for you, but probably doing what you can to get the house sold is the key to getting the stress levels down.

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:24:02

Ok, am going to head off!! Am I better going to the Jobcentre or the CAB? Am very nervous!!

Solo Fri 05-Oct-12 12:27:51

I would go to CAB. IME the job centre staff don't know their arse from their elbow! even an employee of the JC said that!

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 12:29:09

Brill. Will toddle off now, fingers crossed for good news.

Solo Fri 05-Oct-12 12:29:56

Good luck! smile

zippey Fri 05-Oct-12 12:43:14

Good luck, and please dont give up hope. Maybe you have family who could help out in the short term till you get your feet together? Maybe you could apply for housing. My god £1000 a month is high for rent.

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 14:09:08

Yay, they are letting me have an application form to fill in, and if successful I get £135 a week towards my rent! I cannot help but get my hopes up, but know I shouldn't. Am still very very scared, as I feel like this is my last chance, and without this we die, but I must try and stay positive.

I remember the heady days of living in Yorkshire and thinking £450pcm for rent was tough going. Tis peanuts, PEANUTS! Ha!

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 14:12:31

I haven't even said thank you for all your advice. Thank you all so much, I was utterly despairing, but feel much more positive now. Thank you for making me enquire again, it really was worth it!

Solo Fri 05-Oct-12 14:13:26

Well done Newly fingers crossed for you smile

I will say that you'd be surprised at how little you can actually live on. I know you/we all need money, but I've somehow managed to tread water with very little money for quite a few years now, so don't give up, be strong; you can do it!

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 14:20:44

i must admit, I've also had times where I have looked back and thought "the doesn't work on paper, how on EARTH did we manage?" but we did. Hopefully I shouldn't need to use the car half as much as everything will be in walking distance, so I will have saved the extra £50 in rent by not having to top the car up with petrol every week, and dd's biological father has started paying maintenance shock. I got my first £20 yesterday! We have been seperated since she was born 8.5 years ago, but hurrah for small things!!

Solo Fri 05-Oct-12 14:27:19

Let's hope he continues to make regular payments. If I were you, I'd not include any money he gives you in my weekly/monthly budget, that way, if he pulls the plug on it, you wont find yourself stuck. Maybe you could put it away for emergencies.

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 14:34:30

Very sensible advice solo, you are very wise. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful advice and such kind people on here willing to give it to me. Thank you.

Solo Fri 05-Oct-12 14:35:34

Well, good luck smile
Let us know how it all goes for you and your Dd.

Newlysingleandstuck Fri 05-Oct-12 14:39:05

I will! It is heartening coming on here, as a number of us seemed to become single parents at the same time, and we are all doing well now, so I like catching up on how others are getting on too. I love the super-indulgent "me" time that I get in the evenings now!

cestlavielife Fri 05-Oct-12 15:40:15

who lives in the family home? can it be rented out or sold ?

RedHelenB Fri 05-Oct-12 16:54:21

You should get council tax benefit as well & free school meals for dd.

whatthewhatthebleep Fri 05-Oct-12 18:02:41

you can find out about clothing grants for school uniform too...through Ed Department at local council offices I think.

Through JS you could ask about community care grants too...these aren't paid back and can help with lots of different things...relocation costs, upfront deposits/bonds, basic living things like beds/sofa bed/ cooker/fridge, etc...ask about this too the next time you go into JS...

good luck

lilachair Fri 05-Oct-12 18:09:11

I'm on a full time course and receiving full Housing Benefit. They needed a Student Certificate from my college and details of any other income. They don't count maintenance, child tax credits or child benefit. If you have a one stop shop for your local council, go in. You may have to hang about a bit. Take as much info as you can with you. Bank statements, P60 etc. They will also sort out your council tax as it is linked.

Agree with going for free school meals, and because my DDs get them, breakfast club at their school is also half price. \

good luck x

lilachair Fri 05-Oct-12 18:11:02

Sorry. Missed half of the thread. Hope it gets sorted for you.

Whitecherry Fri 05-Oct-12 18:16:43

Are you working op? I'm confused?

detectivebeaver Sat 06-Oct-12 17:47:04

I got full HB as a single parent at uni. It almost entirely covered my rent. I had to pay about £30pcm as a top up. I am certain you have been misinformed. Definitely make a claim for HB.

ParsleyTheLioness Sun 07-Oct-12 15:16:19

Well done getting the degree! Sounds like things might be about to get better for you. Hope so. When do you expect to hear about Housing Benefit?

ponygirlcurtis Tue 09-Oct-12 21:36:25

Hey newlysingle, just wanted to say hi because I became a single mum in Cambridge too (five years ago), and so I know about the struggle with rental prices, parking costs, etc. I'm no longer in Cambridge, and I miss it! It's an expensive place to live, but it's a lovely place to be.
Hope you sort out the housing benefit, I agree that it sounds like you should be able to get it. I've just applied for it too, so fingers crossed we both get it.

Jennynero Sat 13-Oct-12 22:59:52

Hi Newlysingle, I hope you have managed to get some advice about benefits. Most council websites have a link to an online benefits calculator where you enter your income (and outgoings) and it gives you an idea of what you may be entitled to. I would take any Tax Credits with a pinch of salt though as they have lowered the amount you are allowed to earn before you are entitled.

I really can relate to you. I am a single mum to three boys and have recently moved to London from west yorkshire, as I secured a full time training job in the NHS, which also involves undertaking a part time masters.

The online calculator said I am entitled to housing benefit (I have not applied yet) and I earn £30,000 pa so I am sure you would qualify if you were on a student loan or bursery.

Life can be so tough at times but you are doing this for all the right reasons and your daughter will be so proud of you for not giving up. Life has a way of throwing things at you when you don't think you can take anymore, you just have to have the strength and faith in yourself that one day you will look back and realise what you have achieved.

I have been so fortunate that my brother lives in London and I have been able to stay with him until we find our own house (our rent will be £1,350- a typical 2/3 bed house in Walthamstow) and I have had to borrow money from my parents for the bond etc. Just when I thought things were manageable, I have had a letter from Tax Credits saying I owe them £5000 for last year and I have no idea why.

I wish the government would give more support to single Mums who study so we can work ourselves out of the benefit trap and work to secure a better future for our children.

I wish you all the best of luck X

achillea Sat 13-Oct-12 23:08:34

Hi Newlysingle, you might also want to try Gingerbread, they have a helpline and will give you a very detailed and thorough breakdown of your benefit entitlements.

TheObfuscatoryOven Sun 14-Oct-12 07:46:26

Have you thought about trying to find a flat share with another single parent?

Also wanted to say that there will be food banks near you - worth having a google. You won't starve. Good luck x

monicarhm Wed 14-Aug-13 14:48:09

Are you still living in Cambridge? I was considering applying for a course down there, but with a little girl too, it would be far too expensive and lonely!!!
How have you been coping recently??
I know how hard it it sad In in my early twenties, and have all my years of university with my daughter! This will be my last year of education...!!
We will get there! Will be worth it in the end!

KateCroydon Wed 14-Aug-13 20:13:48

Could you sell the car?

More importantly, good work on getting this far.

saggyhairyarse Thu 15-Aug-13 00:32:31

When I was studying and on benefits there was a box to tick that said you would be available for work, the advisor said I should tick that box...

PearlyWhites Thu 15-Aug-13 18:56:05

The advisor is WRONG you should claim housing benefit it has absolutely nothing to do with IS or JSA

mummylin Thu 15-Aug-13 19:05:34

This is an old thread

PearlyWhites Sat 17-Aug-13 21:23:09

Oh yes flipping zombies, hope the op got it sorted

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now