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in wondering why I bother working?????

(44 Posts)
EarlyyearsChildcare Wed 24-Aug-11 13:48:02

Just met with mummy friends and was horrified to discover that one of the group is coming off benefits to return p/t to work and has calculated (with the help of job centre) that working 18 hrs a week on £6 ph she will have £900 disposable income per month.
This is because of WT credits and Ch support of £98 per week.
She has 3 kids and is single.
Now, I am not anti benefits or working tax credit or single mothers, but can this surely be right?
My dh and I flog ourselves full time me working at night, him at day and we are drowning in a sea of debt and we are on a better salary than £6 ph.
Is it being single? or a mis-calculation? I cannot believe that it can possibly be right, it would mean including her bills that her income would be comparable to about £34k+

Can I go to a night class in how to claim benefits because I am fed up with working and having to write the children IOU's for their birthdays and wearing shoes with holes in.

Sorry to vent my frustration here but the cat ran off when I tried to discuss it with her.

GypsyMoth Wed 24-Aug-11 13:50:30

Almost £400 a month in maintenance
Child benefit
Tax credits

Where's the problem?

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Wed 24-Aug-11 13:52:32

Well tbh probably she is better off cause she doesn't have a sea of debt. Not a dig just an observation.

PrincessScrumpy Wed 24-Aug-11 13:54:14

I'm with you - a friend of mine is in a similar situation and is always buying new things (ie, new kitchen etc). We've been fine but I'm now in a position that I'll have to give up work as I'm having twins and cannot afford 2 babies in childcare on my salary (the reason we waited until dd would be at school once my mat leave ended). However, we can't afford for me to not work, but will have to somehow as dh earns too much to get benefits and works long, unpredictable hours so I can't even get a weekend or evening job. Seems unfair to me.

SuePurblybilt Wed 24-Aug-11 13:55:10

Sorry, "the cat ran off"? Are you a Jazz fan? Or are Cats the new Bitches?

GypsyMoth Wed 24-Aug-11 13:55:41

What's unfair??

EarlyyearsChildcare Wed 24-Aug-11 13:56:53

If someone pays most of your bills it is easy not to get into debt.
My Dh and I both lost our jobs in 3 months of each other and didn't qualify for anything because it was based on last years earnings. We have both taken less paid jobs in order to pay the bills. Unfortunately it doesn't cover shoes, birthdays etc etc.
I guess that is why I am so pissed off. We should have gone on benefits!

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-11 14:00:32

She really only has £500 a month disposable income, as the maintainance is for the DC's from her ex, £33 a week per DC. So £125 per week, it depends on what you have to do with that, travelling costs, childcare etc.

Are you sure that it includes rent and CT, which is not paid by WTC. She may be mortgage free or in a very low rent property. That is what makes the difference.

I would rather have less disposible income but be able to afford a better house, i, like many LP's cannot get a decent sized mortgage, its swings and roundabouts.

MrsVidic Wed 24-Aug-11 14:01:00

To be honest I think it's worth seeing the full picture, it stops me getting benefit envy- as we get hardly anything.

I remember that both Dp and I have good jobs and good pensions. We both have fulfilling jobs which I really enjoy and would do my job even if I just broke even. Also the Childcare thing is temporary and sureley you'll be better off at work? Also if you have a mortgage you'll own a property long term instead of having to rent and get housing benefit

EarlyyearsChildcare Wed 24-Aug-11 14:01:13

Surely benefits of any kind should be there to feed and cloth your children and put a roof over their heads.
Most working people who pay tax in order to maintain the benefit system do not have £900 disposable income each month.
My point is- benefits are giving people a far better standard of living than working, so why bother working?

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-11 14:02:02

OP you should have been entitled to contributionary job seekers, don't see the problem.

StrandedBear Wed 24-Aug-11 14:04:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-11 14:04:39

OP- the friend in this instance is working, this is WTC, brought in to make work pay because of the rubbish levels of pay compared to living costs in this country.

CTC was brought in to end child poverty as the working poor has the highest rate of DC living in poverty.

Are you criticising in work or out of work benefits?

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-11 14:05:45

OP clarify because you are quoting a working mother. I am trained in benefits so explain why you couldn't get CJS.

GypsyMoth Wed 24-Aug-11 14:06:40

'we should have gone on benefits'

You aren't allowed to give up jobs and choose 'benefits' instead. You would be made to seek work you know!

EarlyyearsChildcare Wed 24-Aug-11 14:06:42

Right that's it. If the government are giving out free goats too I am giving up work.
Always wanted a goat and I can save money on electric because I wont need to cut the grass.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Wed 24-Aug-11 14:09:26

She's well off because she actually sees her maintenance payments. It's not counted as income for WTC etc presumably due to feckless fathers who don't pay reliably. So a single parent who gets maintenance is better off than one who doesn't, and the stats top ups will be the same.

Anyway, WTC is a working benefit. She'd get far less if she didn't work. But then she'd still get income support on top of her £98 a week maintenance.

oldraver Wed 24-Aug-11 14:10:54

I think once you get to the '3 kids' mark then 'benefits' start to become quite lucrative imo

SuePurblybilt Wed 24-Aug-11 14:11:25

Strandedbear but what would the goats make of the cats?

GrownUpNow Wed 24-Aug-11 14:12:33

Well, maintenance isn't taken into consideration working out benefits, so she's getting about £125 a week after paying rent and bills? From that does she have to buy food, pay for travel, pay for childcare so she can work?

For me in that situation, the maintenance money would be put directly into accounts for clothing and shoes, school uniform, birthdays, christmas, afterschool and activities. So the £500 in tax credits would ensure we ate well and get me anything I need to run the house and keep myself working, then the maintenance would go towards the expense of children.

I don't think there's much to be jealous of, it's bloody hard being a single parent, working or not.

EarlyyearsChildcare Wed 24-Aug-11 14:13:07

Birdsgottafly -We couldn't get WTC because they wanted previous year salary- which was above limit to be entitled.
We tried to claim on our payment protection but becasue we were unable to claim because we were on fixed term contracts.
In the end I joined an agency and found work within week- my dh also managed to find work by going to his previous employer pt and lower salary.
That was all we knew to do- find work quickly, no one tells you about how to claim and what you can claim. We met a brickwall every time.

StrandedBear Wed 24-Aug-11 14:15:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceguy2 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:15:37

One of the things I hated about the last government was how their policies actually made it stupid to work for many people.

I have no truck with the principle of benefits but tax credits are/were an abomination. They are too much and were until recently given to too many. And all funded from state borrowing.

Anyway, back to the point. One of the other things they did was a 100% disregard for child maintenance. As an ex single parent myself I can understand why they did it. But to have no limits on it was in my view naive.

I have a friend who works 3 days a week and thanks to all the benefits & maintenance she gets is on an equivalent salary of £30k. Not bad! In fact she'd be even more better off if she rented instead of buying a house but for various reasons she's decided to stay in the old marital home.

Now I don't begrudge her as it's not her fault the system encourages that. Prior to splitting up, both were struggling to make ends meet and now she's financially better off.

The other problem is now she's effectively "trapped" into being a single parent because if she moves in with her BF since he doesn't earn a lot, they'd lose a lot of support and financially she's back to square one of struggling to make ends meet again.

Hopefully the Universal Credit system will level the playing field. Tax credits are just overly complicated and produces a lot of undesired consequences.

toniguy Wed 24-Aug-11 14:17:20

You are better off long term though. I assume she is in rented so wont have her own home and is at the mercy of landlords. I doubt she's paying into a pension either on 6 quid an hour. Also, anyone dependent on benefits is at the mercy of the system changing/ cutting welfare. Look at what has happened already and what is likely to come over the next few years!

shmoz Wed 24-Aug-11 14:17:40

''We couldn't get WTC because they wanted previous year salary- which was above limit to be entitled'' - yes but if there is a big variance between current and previous year earnings they calculate based on current year earnings.

''no one tells you about how to claim and what you can claim'' - true. Try the internet...plenty of online benefits calculators.

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