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Who really gets £500+ weekly state benefits?

(713 Posts)
vivizone Wed 21-Nov-12 21:04:49

I find this shit so hard to believe. Reading the media, you would think this was a common figure on life on benefits.

Yesterday and today's Metro newspaper - people writing in saying they agree with the cap of £500 and why should people be sat on their arse and be rewarded by £500 per week. . Why should they earn £200 per week working and people are getting £500 a week doing nothing.

Seriously, who gets this £500 per week that is being peddled out of the media? I spent 7 months out of work after redundancy and I could not live on the pittance I received for me and my children. I do not know how people do it. I really don't. I had a decent redundancy package and that was the only way I could make it.

How many people do you know (forget the newspaper stories) that are RECEIVING £500 or more every week? I thought so.

How come if life is/was that cushy on benefits, not enough people are/were packing in their jobs to join a life of riley?

We have been had. Life on benefits is HARD and DEMORALISING. I have tried it and I can tell you you get PEANUTS.

The reason why stories run on people living in million dollar homes/getting thousands a week in benefits is because it is RARE. It is SO rare, that it gets reported on.

rhondajean Sat 24-Nov-12 23:16:32

Another slight aside but I went to a conference last year where they showed unclaimed benefit aside benefit fraud, tax avoidance and bank bailouts.


Yet of course it's the benefits claimants that have brought the country to its financial knees hmm

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 24-Nov-12 23:18:49

If benefit is unclaimed, then it can't be needed that much, and therefore shouldn't be available.

The fact that so much money goes unclaimed just adds weight to the argument that benefits are set too generously.

garlicbaguette Sat 24-Nov-12 23:19:15

I've just verified this:

There is to be a time limit of 2 years when it comes to payment of housing costs within the full conditionality group. After 2 years, the payments will stop and will not be reinstated until claimant has had a break in claim and has served a further waiting period.

Full conditionality will basically be everyone who isn't in the supported disability group. After two years, HB will be stopped. How you get a roof over your head is your problem.

More details about UC on this thread:

garlicbaguette Sat 24-Nov-12 23:25:09

Outraged, that's not true. A lot of people on low wages don't realise they qualify. I certainly didn't when I was starting out. I also didn't realise I qualified for ESA, as I thought it was only for people in wheelchairs, and lived on nothing but tax credits for some years.

My mum won't claim her pension credit because she doesn't 'feel' hard up - but comes from a pre-welfare generation; she economises to the point of hardship. This is true of many pensioners.

There has been an increase in people failing to claim because of the stigmatisation. This article answers a lot of the questions you've raised on this thread.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 24-Nov-12 23:55:02

Your Mum sounds lovely. It says something when a lady who knows that she could claim money from the government chooses not to because she doesn't feel poor.

Maybe the other people who don't claim are also happy with that choice. I am, and I could be counted somewhere in that statistic for not claiming maternity benefits when I could have done.

I'll click your link now smile

rhondajean Sun 25-Nov-12 00:01:35

Garlic - so anyone only can claim HB for two years in a row? Sorry have had a few wines - not sure I am getting you.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 25-Nov-12 00:18:38

Outraged. When you come across the 30th pensioner or person with a disability in a week who are living off nothing but beans burning there own furniture to keep warm refusing to open there door just incase you've come to evict them.

Or you have to call an ambulance because they have become very ill due to starvation. Or they are so ill they struggle to hold a pen to sign the form you have spent weeks convincing them to sign and explaining constantly they are not a scrounger.

Or found a few dead because the week before they wouldn't open the door to anybody who could help them

All because they didnt claim something they should have done due to fear or stigma or misplaced pride.

After you have adjusted yourself and remembered that yes you are in the uk you may very well change your views on unclaimed benefits.

You do know that poverty actually kills people don't you?

garlicbaguette Sun 25-Nov-12 00:29:59


Limit on Payment of Housing Costs

91. There is to be a time-limit of two years on payment of housing costs to claimants in the full conditionality group of Universal Credit. When such a claimant has received help with housing costs for a period of two years these payments will stop and will not be reinstated until a claimant has had a break in claim and has served a further waiting period. This is underpinned by the principle of providing short-term help through the benefits system and because it is not considered appropriate that this help is provided indefinitely. This is intended to focus the help that is given through the benefits system on those on low income when they need it most.

This is about claimants EXCEPTED from conditionality:

No Work Related Requirements Group – Detail

220. Claimants are placed in this group either if we cannot reasonably expect them to work or prepare for work over a sustained period, or if they are already earning all we could reasonably expect (above their conditionality threshold). The requirements for this group are set out in both Primary and Secondary legislation.

221. These claimants are:
• individual claimants who are earning above the individual conditionality
earnings threshold;
• all claimants in a benefit unit which is collectively earning above the sum of
each individual threshold in that benefit unit;
• individual claimant/claimants in a benefit unit whose collective earnings,
combined with the earnings of any ineligible adult, are above the sum of each
individual’s conditionality threshold, plus an additional amount which takes the
ineligible adult/s into account;
• claimants with limited capability for work related activity;
• claimants who are in receipt of the Carer’s Element;
• claimants who are not in receipt of the Carer’s element but who do have
caring responsibilities of at least 35 hours in a week for a severely disabled
• a lone parent with a child under the age of one year;
• a lone or nominated foster parent of a child under the age of one year;
• a nominated parent in a couple with a child under the age of one year;
• a lone adopter or a nominated carer in an adoptive couple for up to one year after adoption;
• a claimant who is pregnant, for 11 weeks before the expected week of
confinement, and for 15 weeks afterwards;
• a claimant who is above State Pension Age;
• a claimant who is a prisoner; and
• young people aged 16 - 21 without parental support in full time non-advanced

This is about the earnings expectation on conditionality:

The Conditionality Earnings Threshold

224. To determine whether an individual claimant or a benefit unit is already earning all we could reasonably expect, we intend to set a conditionality earnings threshold. If the claimant or benefit unit earns over this threshold, they will fall into the no work related requirements group. The conditionality threshold is calculated based on the claimant’s circumstances, but the principles which underpin the calculation are that we will never expect a claimant to work more than 35 hours in a week (or an adjusted number of hours based on circumstances) and we will never use conditionality to require claimants to earn more than the minimum wage.

225. The individual threshold is derived by:
• establishing the number of hours the claimant can reasonably be expected to work (maximum of 35 hours but adapted according to individual’s circumstances e.g. to take into account caring responsibilities or a physical or
mental condition);
• multiplying the expected number of hours by the relevant national minimum
wage for the age of the claimant; and
• converting this weekly figure to a monthly figure.

226. In the case of joint claims the proposal is to combine the individual earnings threshold for both claimants to derive a joint earnings threshold. If the household earnings are above that threshold then both claimants (regardless of what they individually earn) will not be subject to work related requirements. If the household earnings are below that joint threshold then we will look at the earnings of each claimant individually to assess whether they earn above or below their individual threshold.

227. When assessing whether claimants earn above the threshold we expect to look at their expected earnings over a sustained period. We will seek to identify patterns of earnings and disregard temporary fluctuations.

228. Claimants who are placed in the no work related requirements group because of their level of earnings will be expected to continue to keep working at that level. As set out in the Welfare Reform Act, if claimants voluntarily and without good reason or through misconduct cease paid work or lose pay so that they fall below their threshold and as a result become subject to work search requirements then a conditionality sanction will be applied.

garlicbaguette Sun 25-Nov-12 00:33:24

Just checking facts and sharing news makes me despair, Sock (and gives me panic attacks.) I don't know how you cope with witnessing the consequences week in, week out. But I'm very glad you do. Please keep working for sane responsibility!

rhondajean Sun 25-Nov-12 00:35:27

Garlic I am on the board of a housing association and NOONE knows that,


Ok. Thanks.

garlicbaguette Sun 25-Nov-12 00:40:59

More wine wink

rhondajean Sun 25-Nov-12 00:43:15


I'll report it back and I'll speak to my welfare rights advisors friends too.


BurnBabyBurn Sun 25-Nov-12 01:31:36

Oh dear god.

Thank you for that link, garlic.

I'm disabled and trying to make decisions about the future at the moment.

Because of the deliberate gap between eligibility for ESA and JSA, and the proposed mandatory workfare for ESA recipients, I'm likely to be in a very bad way indeed.

The housing conditionality is the straw that may break this camel's back.

Tying housing benefit eligibility to ESA means every time the DWP fucks up ESA (and I've twice had it stopped and reinstated after challenge - months later), it will almost certainly cause a fuck-up with the HB. Not having HB reinstated because they can't cope with DWP fuck-ups is the most likely outcome. Having HB reinstated 3 months later when you've been evicted and deemed voluntarily homeless, not much better.

One of the options is to join another set of statistics sooner rather than later.

It's not really the life-arc I expected when I graduated.

rhondajean Sun 25-Nov-12 01:33:30

If it helps anyone, full conditionality = jobseeker.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 25-Nov-12 01:40:22

That aspect of my work is not my main work if that makes sense my main work is Similar but very different and not quite so focused on money just everything I can do to provide assistance to mainly females in a particular situation.

I'm my own boss so can indulge my left wing views as much as I want and had a very good example set to me by my grandad he always said

"I judge YOU by how YOU treat those less fortunate than we are,until you learn you get nowhere in life by standing on others, until you learn just how much privilege you have,until you learn how the other half live and respect it, you my little petal will never ever get your mitts on my money" grin

He ment it as well, every generation of my family has someone like him in it. We also have some pretty piss poor excuses for human beings as well but hey who doesn't.

But that's why I do it.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 25-Nov-12 01:44:50

Rhonda I'm a tad squiffy at the mo but I'm pretty sure that the FC also applies to working people earning less than there threshold

rhondajean Sun 25-Nov-12 01:45:00


Proud of you.

Hope I can pass that on to my DDs, I believe that you support those more vulnerable. We are lucky,mso far, well educated, erc. But. That might not always be the case.

What's th poem about the nazis?m something like,

They came for thenjews, I hid.

The came for teh gays, I hid,

They came for the blacks, I hid

They came for me, there was noone left to stand up.

Darkesteyes Sun 25-Nov-12 02:08:46

Sock you sound like an amazing person So does your grandad. thanks

garlicbaguette Sun 25-Nov-12 02:14:30

BBB - don't panic yet. Uncertainty is destabilising and it's impossible to plan for the future when you don't know what you'll have to work with. This is the way things are, however, so the healthiest way to deal with them is by adopting Zen-like poise in the present moment! I should take my own advice - am up, worrying, so had better take a pill. Sleep well yourself smile

JakeBullet Sun 25-Nov-12 07:04:22

I didn't realise I qualified for housing benefit when I worked part time....and I struggled. I didn't put heating on for example when it was cold, I went without so DS would be okay.

Don't assume Outraged that because people don't claim it's due to benefits being too generous. Many people struggle because they are not aware they meet the threshold.

I am now not working (Carer) and Xmas is coming, believe me it's not going to be easy. I still watch the heating and have it on as little as possible, we do eat as I am a good cook and able to cook cheaply from scratch, I have a roof over my head, I run a very old car which is my life line. I am definitely NOT living it up though...I am managing only because its just me and DS, I get some extra because of DS's people cope in less I just do not know.

BurnBabyBurn Sun 25-Nov-12 09:29:06

Just read more of those draft Universal Credit Regulations.

"The Work Capability Assessment makes a determination that someone is either in the:
limited capability for work element (LCW);
limited capability for work and work related activity element (LCWRA); or
fit for work."

So people getting ESA but not in the Support Group will be LCW not LCWRA - and therefore subject to full conditionality on housing.

"119. Where there are two eligible adults, the benefit unit can only receive one LCW or LCWRA element, even where both would individually qualify."

So if one of you has a long-term illness or disability, the other must never get sick or injured.

(BTW the new system does not "simplify" the old incapacity system. It's vastly more complex, has more levels and more interdependence and will be a nightmare to administer correctly and nigh impossible to put right whenever there's a fuck up.)

ssd Sun 25-Nov-12 10:18:34

re old people and not claiming benefits

my mum died recently, she was in her mid eighties

she received lots of benefits, but it was all down to me claiming them for her

the forms needing filled in for pension credit/attendance allowance/ etc...the phone calls needed as forms always seemed to go missing , the photocopies of documents that she didn't know she had...the phone calls to the council where you never got the the same person twice and had to go through everything every time..........this is all too much for many elderly people, mum included, if she didn't have me to do it she wouldn't have had anything either

so please don't think benefits are unclaimed due to pride, I'd say most old folk would be glad of the money but getting it is way beyond them if they have no one to help them (and yes I know the councils have benefits advisers, one of them visited mum twice to help her out, the first time she came with the wrong forms, the second time she came it was apparent English was her second language and she had no more clue than us what to write, I ended up getting the forms and filling them in myself, without help old folk would find this bloody hard)

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 25-Nov-12 11:22:32

SSD lots do take a huge amount of convincing that they have paid for benefits that they are totally legit claimants that they aren't scroungers.that its ok to claim ect. That's pride.

Obviously not all but it is something I see a lot and its got worse in the last 5 or so years.

And your right the benefit advisors can be shocking but you can be lucky and find a great one, its like its something with no middle ground

BurnBabyBurn Sun 25-Nov-12 11:26:13

Putting together those excerpts from the Universal Credit Regulations.

The DWP will tell people they are not fit to work even by the new standards, and then set them a minimum amount to work, or face sanctions including loss of housing.

BurnBabyBurn Sun 25-Nov-12 11:32:52

By the way, how do you get a benefits advisor?

A friend tried to track one down last time I was too ill to do stuff myself, and the council social services switchboard refused to even try to put them through, saying no one dealt with anything like that.

I called CAB but they didn't know anything at all - thought DLA was ESA, hadn't heard of ATOS. They're being closed soon anyway.

We did find a disability advice centre to phone, but they've shut up shop now too.

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