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To ask for information on Universal Credit

(16 Posts)
Sevenmilebeach Mon 25-Mar-13 19:52:29

My friend is in the planning stages of leaving her husband of 15 years. They have 3 children (all at school, all under 10) - she is planning to leave the marital home to move nearer her parents (not much equity in the house - the plan is her ex will stay in the house and give her the value of her share in cash).
They have agreed an amount for maintenance which is more than the CSA would award but to be fair it's not going to be enough to live on.
She works 4 hours per week and I was telling her that I thought (after reading on here) that she might be expected to work a certain amount of hours per week in order to get benefits but am not sure if that's now or when the new universal credit comes in.
She is adamant that she doesn't want to work any more hours.
I think she is a bit annoyed at me as I have said she really should check it out - as a couple they didn't claim anything so she has always been able to not work and only took on this wee job a few months ago.
I just don't want to see her high and dry - I hope I'm wrong.
can anyone tell me what the correct information is?

foslady Mon 25-Mar-13 22:39:26

Yes, at the moment she needs to work a min of 16 hours to get WTC, and think it will be the same for UC - certainly will be more than 4

Sevenmilebeach Tue 26-Mar-13 07:07:38

Thanks Foslady- that's what I thought from reading the threads on here. Am going to have to be gentle about how I tell her as she's all over the place at the moment and won't take it well but I'd rather tell her now than it being a shock iyswim.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Mar-13 07:37:30

I don't think your friend is really that interested in the information and you should back off for now. She's clearly in a state of denial/shock at the moment and doesn't want to accept that her comfortable life will change much post divorce ... even though it's very obvious that it will. I think you need to let her do her own research, reach her own conclusions about life as a single parent and, if that means finding things out the hard way, that's how it has to be.

LIZS Tue 26-Mar-13 07:39:42

Suggest she makes an appointment with CAB. They will be able to look at the whole picture rather than rely on any adhoc anecdotes you may glean here. UC is an unknown atm.

RedHelenB Tue 26-Mar-13 07:46:38

I disagree - ||I backed off a bit & someone buried their head in the sand & it didn't turn out well financially for them. She also needs to bear in mind that the maintenance agreed probably will drop to CSA rates - i know of no one that gewts more than this, despite what was first agreed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Mar-13 07:50:57

"I backed off a bit & someone buried their head in the sand & it didn't turn out well financially for them"

But that wasn't your responsibility, it was theirs. The OP means well but the friend is not receptive to the information and doesn't want their help. Therefore, the friend must to be allowed to make their own decisions, good, bad or indifferent. 'You can lead a horse to water....' etc.

mumofweeboys Tue 26-Mar-13 07:54:14

I would just email her links to benefit calculators or tell her to go to cab. She is just going to get annoyed if you push it. One of my friends didnt want to hear the ugly truth, we had brief conversation, I emailed her links and left it. She is now in financial hole I predicted which take no joy in. You can lead horse to water but you cant make it drink.

RedHelenB Tue 26-Mar-13 08:13:39

No Cogito, you're right it's not my responsibility but it helped me when my marriage break up came out the blue that I had a friend going through it 2 months before me & could help me with divorce. what benefits I could get etc. All I'm saying is don't give up too easily or OP's friend could end up in a really bad situation

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Mar-13 08:18:20

RedHelenB... in your case you wanted the information and actively sought out the friend for advice. The OP's friend is not doing that at the moment... possibly because they can't cope with the reality just yet.

TomDudgeon Tue 26-Mar-13 08:23:42

I would print things out and give them to her. That way she might 'file' them for now but curiosity/worry may get the better of her and the info is on hand.
When I suddenly get worried about something if I then have to google all the info I get really stressed as I'm never confident I've got the right not or that its up to date
If its there and she's like me then it'll help her no end

You're a good friend to care.

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 08:41:36

Part of the problem is that there is no official or reliable benefit calculator available wrt Universal Credit - also no helpline for info. Despite the fact it is being rolled out in October this year, it is being rushed through and there are still huge problems with how HMRC are handling it in trial areas (esp linking Real Time Pay info to DWP payments).

And CAB are absolutely swamped atm. Around here, people are queuing round the block for hours to get an initial appt to assess their needs, then facing a long wait to get an appt with advisor.

As far as your friend goes - I think being in a new, difficult and vulnerable family situation means she will be scared of the future and how she manages. It is commendable that you want to help her! but (a) you can't give her concrete helpful info because it simply doesn't exist atm and (b) it's not unheard of for people to shoot the messenger anyway - she may interpret vague warning comments from you as a sign that you are not supportive. Perhaps you are best being sympathetic, and simply being clear that UC will be linked to weekly working hours, and she'll need to check that out when she can.

Being blunt, if her children are all over 5 and have no additional needs, she won't be able to choose to work 4 hours a week and UC. She is likely to be asked in for interview, have to prove she is looking for work with more hours, and if work is found for her that is deemed suitable, she will have to take it or lose benefits. i wouldn't want to be the bearer of that news.

Mumsnet have a guide to UC which is as good as any atm. You could mention that to her.

mrsscoob Tue 26-Mar-13 10:02:09

I think as a lone parent you need to work a minimum of 16 hours at the moment. However I had heard this was changing to 24. Does anyone know if this is true?

RedHelenB Tue 26-Mar-13 10:07:01

Good idea Tom!!

Sevenmilebeach Tue 26-Mar-13 17:48:42

Thanks all - am just worried about her as she seems to think all will be ok and nothing is really going to change. I know it's not really my place but dhe's a very good friend who I have known for over 20 years - she's always had a head in the sand outlook to life and it's stung her before. She is the one wanting to leave the marriage and her stbxDH is being pretty reasonable (I.e. paying over CSA minimum and a bigger share of equity) but of course her lifestyle is going to change.

bedsitland Tue 26-Mar-13 21:29:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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