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To think that bit is impossible to live off of benefits?

(749 Posts)
Rolf38 Thu 30-Nov-17 21:49:26

So Universal Credit rates are £498.89 an adult couple over the age of 25. This is meant to last them one whole month. So £250 per adult which works out at about £60 per week or just £8.57 per day.

How is someone meant to buy food, pay their bills and maintain a jobsearch at these rates?

I understand that some may think that by setting benefits at a low rate, there will be a greater incentive for recipients to return to work. This I understand and agree with to a point.

Surely though that danger of setting benefit rates too low is that it has the opposite effect. Claimants may reun the risk of getting in to debt, depression and lose the desire to maintain an active job search, along with any ambitions and aspirations they ever had.

Is met ting benefit rates too low a precursor to the increase of long term benefit claimants, simply by affording claimants less resources and willpower to maintain their job search?

After all, say if have been unemployed fir or three months. In this time, you have been so cash strapped that you haven't even been able to go to the cinema or meet an old friend, as bills and increasing debts have taken priority.

Without just a bit of enjoyment to boost morale, how less determined would a claimant be to give their job search their all as they would be if they could take their mind off of it for a bit.

For the couples payment too, I wouldn't be surprised if such a low payment to sustain two adults for a month may cause friction in the relationship, adding further restrictions to morale and job search.

Of course taxpayers money should be treated with the utmost respect.

However, is keeping benefit rates at such a low level proving more costly in the long run?

Why not add an incentive for job search for claimants? Increase UC payments by 10% for those who continually do all they can for their job search over a sustained period (say three months).

Such an increase, just form he most committed in their job search, would act as a continued incentive for the most determined to find work quicker (thus reducing long-term burdens on the taxpayers). Restricting an enhanced payment to just the most committed would also ensure that those not committed to athe or jobsearch and envisage a long-term existence on benefits find that this, beyond subsidence level, is not sustainable.

If you are doing everything you can in your jobsearch, why should you be unable to afford very basic enjoyments (even on a very occasional basis)? Why are those who put in the effort, in testing times, not differentiated from those who show no desire to come off benefits.

Perhaps in addition to sanctioning claimants who do not fulfill their commitments, the government should do more to help and reward the positive attitude to do all they can to get back to work.

Rolf38 Thu 30-Nov-17 21:50:52

*sorry, I typed this on my iPad - I'm not too good with touch screens so have made a few typos.

Rolf38 Thu 30-Nov-17 21:52:58

The title should read:

AIBU: To think that it is impossible to live off benefits.

McTufty Thu 30-Nov-17 21:54:23

Yeah I think it is low and I couldn’t live off it. Not to mention how you survive 5 weeks waiting for it to come through.

Julie8008 Thu 30-Nov-17 21:58:59

It does seem to be working though and getting a lot of people into work. And here are still plenty of jobs up for grabs. In fact a lot of people are saying we have to import massive amounts of immigrants to do the jobs there is so many of them.

Rolf38 Thu 30-Nov-17 21:59:10

Just a question - why is the rate for couples £498.89 but two people claiming signally would get £317.82 each?

Blahblahblahzeeblah Thu 30-Nov-17 22:00:58

Bills for 2 people together are not double the bills of a single person living alone etc.

It is a pittance though.

GlitterNails Thu 30-Nov-17 22:04:24

As they think bills are lower for two - i.e a shared electricity bill is cheaper than one each. Not saying it's right, just that's their argument.

And I agree. When I claimed JobSeekers many years ago it was 12 weeks before I got a penny. At the time I was living with a parent who could help me not starve - had I been alone I don't know what I would have done.

It drives me mad when people saying they can live off a low income. Yes, most can for a short time. The issue is when something happens - your oven breaks down, or you get an unexpectedly large bill or whatever. When you don't have savings you often then have to go into debt to survive - then your income goes down further to try and pay it back.

That was the cycle my mum got into when a single parent living on pretty much nothing. She had to keep getting larger loans to pay off the previous ones, or to deal with the latest disaster and the debt just went up and up. When she was able to return to work and be on a better wage she slowly paid it all off.

I also think people who are able to 'work hard' take it for granted. I'm disabled and will be in a low income my whole life. I'd love to be able to earn more, but unless I get cured it won't happen. I can life day-to-day but never get to go on holiday, buy new things or have treats like that. It grinds you down sometimes.

Pickleypickles Thu 30-Nov-17 22:06:28

You still get housing allowance on top of that with UC, it is very tight but it is doable it is just doable though - when i looked ay it for myself because i thought i was going to be out of work it literally covered bills and food with less that a fiver left over, which is a pretty shit life for anyone stuck long term on it which i guess is the point.

In regards to why is the allowance less for a couple its because it doesnt cost twice as much to have two people living in a house.

Mc180768 Thu 30-Nov-17 22:07:12

Universal Credit - what a mess.

The amount a person has to live in is governed in law.

£72.30 for JSA and the assessment phase of ESA is the amount the government says we need to live on.

The housing element is not included in that standard allowance, OP. Nor is council tax benefit.

However, you have made some good points.

But controversially, UC causes concern in terms of people with limited capability for work. Those in the ESA support group are the ones waiting for yet another arduous and stressful wait for a face-2-face assessment determining capability for work. For many this is a double-barrelled hit as the migration of DLA to PIP is still running.

For those seeking jobs, UC is far more suitable as it is designed (however poorly) for people seeking work and each person will lose 63p in the pound for every pound they earn and their benefit is gradually reduced rather than the former system where it ceased.

Unpicking UC takes time, there are pros and cons. Runs much deeper than not enough to live on.

Feckitall Thu 30-Nov-17 22:07:23

I don't get why the system can't be more efficient and example ..claimant gets casual one off job paying £60..they should be able to log it online ..benefit adjusted within 24 hours..and make it advantageous to take on casual the mo particularly with UC fraud is encouraged. Waiting 6 weeks for each change of circumstance is ludicrous. Idiotic systems encourage fraud and end up with bigger issues than they started out with..

Pickleypickles Thu 30-Nov-17 22:12:07

feck im not sure how it works cash in hand but thats the point of UC that it does update month by month so people dont end up under or over paid at the end of the year. My friend works in a care home and it actually works well for her because she can pick up extra shigts and it doesnt matter.

Meadowdaisies Thu 30-Nov-17 22:12:14

I think that various governments have struggled to find a middle ground between encouraging people into work, any work, and discouraging a culture of dependence. For my part, I don't feel that the answer necessarily lies in upping welfare payments but in making the transition from benefits to paid work more seamless and fluid.

Pickleypickles Thu 30-Nov-17 22:12:31


christmaspudding1 Thu 30-Nov-17 22:13:39

and what about people that are in private rented,how do they manage a top up on these rates?

most already are being shafted with sky high/sub standard housing

how are they expected to make up the shortfall

Whoyagonna Thu 30-Nov-17 22:15:05

It's impossible to live off.

QuestionforQuentin Thu 30-Nov-17 22:15:51

UC breaks my heart.

I know this has been done to death, but how can we be excited about a massive diamond ring for a soon-to-be-royal, when people are living in poverty; using food banks and becoming physically and mentally unwell? Lots of people - adults and children - in this relatively affluent country?

I'm passed angry now. It's all just so tragic.

kikisparks Thu 30-Nov-17 22:15:53

It’s definitely a cycle of problems- I help people in rent arrears and the 5 week wait along with various other issues and the generally low level leads to spiralling debt and stress for many of my clients, some of whom are very vulnerable individuals. The sanctions are crazy too even for people too sick to work they can be sanctioned for months, ending up living off of food banks, I’ve seen people who have lost a frightening amount of weight and had reduced self care as a result. I think it just needs to be a bit more and a bit quicker to kick in with no sanctions and that could mean a lot of social, emotional, physical and mental problems and the associated costs for society in dealing with those could be avoided.

GardenGeek Thu 30-Nov-17 22:19:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whoyagonna Thu 30-Nov-17 22:23:47

I am getting sicker and sicker on benefits here. I'm on VitB, Thiamine, Folic Acid, Iron, Stomach tablets, tablets for RLS, an anti-psychotic (to treat depression as my liver can't handle anti-depressants), 2 inhalers (one of which I know costs 100 quid) and a sleeping tablet. All in all I'd say I'm costing the NHS a bloody fortune on meds alone. I'm also under a psychiatric team, a gastroenterologist, a hepatolagist and a gynaecologist.
If I was working and not being beaten at every opportunity to try to work, I wouldn't need half of this shite and would be paying my way.

Whoyagonna Thu 30-Nov-17 22:25:56

I think once you fall into unemployment, it's very hard to get out of.

LapdanceShoeshine Thu 30-Nov-17 22:26:19

JSA used to come through much sooner than UC, & was at a higher rate.

When DS2 (aged 24 currently, failed student, not particularly employable) (various issues) was intermittently unemployed, on JSA he used to get £80+ pw, paid after not very long (1-2 weeks?).

We live in one of the pilot areas for UC. The first time he received his assessment for that instead of JSA, 2 or 3 years ago, I was really shocked.

When UC kicked in his 4-weekly amount was less than £70 pw, & he didn't get it for 7 (?) weeks. We can afford to support & subsidise him (& did, obv) so he had no rent to pay or food to buy, but WTF happens with the poor sods whose families can't do that? (Let alone those who have more than themselves to support)

It's a bloody disgrace & every time I read anything about UC I want to punch somebody angry

Mc180768 Thu 30-Nov-17 22:26:24

Agree with PP on fluidity and simplifying the process. It is a long drawn out process of an application.

Allergictoironing Thu 30-Nov-17 22:27:58

It's even worse if you have a mortgage, there's absolutely NO help with that until 30 weeks after which they may help you with the interest (there's never been anything towards the capital, which is fair in my view). So they happily pay towards rent from day 1, but nothing towards mortgage interest which is usually well under half of that. The only option is for people to sell their houses and spend any equity left in them on rent and then claim HB - insane.

They also used to help a bit with the costs of getting to an interview, though I heard recently that they don't do that any more which doesn't really help anyone who wants to work.

I was out of work at the same time as a nephew a couple of years ago. I'm a single person living alone with a mortgage, he lived with his mother - we apparently needed exactly the same amount to live on!

Whoyagonna Thu 30-Nov-17 22:28:26

The only time I leave the house is to go to medical appointments or to pay rent/bills/council tax. I'm very glad to have a roof over my head but believe me there is no luxury in being this ill.

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