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To think relying on working tax credits and housing benefit is a bad idea

(254 Posts)
InkedGreen Tue 10-Sep-19 14:27:05

My sister has a very decent amount coming in every month - similar to what I have as a professional with 10+ years experience.

However it's all top up earnings and she's on a low paid job two days a week.

She's quite happy to stay on 2 days even though all her children are at school.

Aibu to think she's foolish to rely on these topups and not try to get a better job or increase her hours? If they try to reform benefits she could very quickly be very poor and I'm concerned even if she isn't!

araiwa Tue 10-Sep-19 14:34:06

Well yeah

Proseccoinamug Tue 10-Sep-19 14:36:00

None of your business. I’ll pick my children up from school for as long as I can.

Musereader Tue 10-Sep-19 14:36:22

On the one hand I am in the same situation as a lone parent my rent and childcare costs are the same amount as my wage so i am forced to rely on tax credits and hb top up on my full time wage in order to be able to work at all.

On the other i am very much aware that the tops ups will reduce and possibly stop as she moves into school and will be gone by the time she is 16 and i need to work towards an income i can maintain myself on when dd is grown up.

So yabu, maybe there is nothing she can do about it right now and maybe she has plans you don't know about.

leckford Tue 10-Sep-19 14:38:07

That’s the problem, the benefits discourage healthy people from trying to work more days/hours. And, yes, these benefits could be reduced in future, it’s not right that someone working so few days gets so much in top ups.

Nextphonewontbesamsung Tue 10-Sep-19 14:39:42

I'm really surprised to hear that people are left to exist like this indefinitely. What happens at benefits reviews?

If she has no caring responsibilities and is healthy herself and jobs are plentiful in her area then how can she carry on like this?

It's not my area of expertise so if anyone can explain.

Musereader Tue 10-Sep-19 14:48:54

If children are secondary school then she would be pushed to full time work but if the youngest is still under 13 she only needs to have 25 hrs@ min wage income (£203/wk) for her to be left alone and only 16 hrs if children under 5

x2boys Tue 10-Sep-19 14:49:55

How does it work these days ?.I'm aware years ago single parents could pretty much stay on benefits ( if they wished) until their children left school.,but I know they now have to be looking for work when their youngest child starts school 16 hrs? Are they encouraged to look for more hours as the child gets older?

x2boys Tue 10-Sep-19 14:50:50

Cross post Muse!

Musereader Tue 10-Sep-19 14:51:33

Those are UC rules which obvs dont apply to OPs sis yet as tax credits and hb only review to adjust your payments and don't require work.

user87382294757 Tue 10-Sep-19 14:52:22

Well, yes as it is meant to all be changing to UC by 2023 is it not, and well I guess they might make her do more hours and pay less, might be an idea for her to look into what might happen then. But then maybe she will just adjust and do more hours then when it happens.

ArthurMorgan Tue 10-Sep-19 15:07:39

Not everyone has a choice..

miaCara Tue 10-Sep-19 15:16:07

Benefits are in the process of reforming. Universal credit its till being rolled out and it wont be long before it will apply to most people working or not.
In your DSis's situation she will continue as she is with WTC/HB unless there is a change which forces her over to Universal credit. The rules are different and its definitely a top up to earnings benefit so she is likely to be worse off.
You/she can check here .
I wouldnt wish UC on my worst enemy .Its grossly understaffed and ever changing so there is also a lack of ongoing training . Hope for your Dsis's sake that nothing precipitates her to have to change.

userxx Tue 10-Sep-19 15:16:59

@leckford Totally agree.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 10-Sep-19 15:21:36

I think people generally, and I include myself in this bracket, work out the best way of paying as little as possible tax, and the best way of getting as much money from the government as possible. Ie by only earning £12k, or couples both going part time to not go over tax thresholds, or working less hours to get the benefits - whichever suits their family best. Is that morally wrong? Or is the onus on the government to make it pay to work? Whilst the benefits are there, she isn't alone in taking advantage of them.

TabbyMumz Tue 10-Sep-19 15:23:21

So rather than get a full time job and pay for childcare, they work as little hours as possible and get benefits on top?

userxx Tue 10-Sep-19 15:26:40

@arethereanyleftatall Morally wrong in my eyes. What a fucking selfish attitude.

kaytee87 Tue 10-Sep-19 15:27:22

Well when she goes over to universal credit she will be forced to look for more work.
I'd just mind your own business though tbh.

DuckWillow Tue 10-Sep-19 15:29:20

Childcare is generally very expensive so if your full time wages won’t stretch to this then I think fair enough. However I’d be encouraging her to think about what she wants to do in the future. There are a number of organisations offering free work related courses which would give her an edge when she is able to commit to more hours,

As a SAHP due to my son’s disability I’ve been out of work for five years. It’s sound destroying and tbh I miss the buzz of work and the social aspects of it. If your sister is able to increase her hours and can also afford the childcare then encourage her. Otherwise I think it’s down to her,

mummymeister Tue 10-Sep-19 15:30:29

I really struggle with this. Benefits should be there to help people who need them. those that cant work due to disability or caring for someone with a disability. they shouldnt be there for healthy people who do the maths and realise that they can sit on their arses 3 days a week, work a minimum wage/minimum effort/minimum thought job the rest of the time and still pick up plenty to live on.

if the people in this category were stopped from claiming then there would be a much bigger pot to give out to those that really needed it. so yes, it is morally wrong.

I hear and read so many people moaning about how little there is for people with long standing disabilities and how assessments are so unfair etc whilst taking money that they only need because of their lifestyle choices.

I want to see payments to people who cannot work tripled or quadrupled but this will only happen when people like your sister arent given money.

What on earth will your sister do when her kids are 18 and the magic money tree dries up?

honestly, i dont care how unpopular this view is. I just really want to see those unfortunate people with disabilities (mental or physical) who just cannot work and who are on a shoe string not be penalised so Inkedgreens sister can live the life she wants.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 10-Sep-19 15:32:11

Why wouldn't you tabby, if you came out with the same disposable income at the end, and if it isn't a career but rather a minimum wage job with no progression? The problem is the system.
@userxx you possibly misunderstood my post. I don't receive any benefits at all. But I do earn less than the personal limit. I don't think anyone would jump at the chance to tip over to the next tax level, at no financial benefit to themselves.
Isn't there a salary, I can't remember exactly, but I think it's £108k, where you actually come out with less money than if you were on a salary of £102k, or something; I can't quite remember.

Hwory Tue 10-Sep-19 15:35:19

She is foolish. Even if UC and benefit reforms weren’t coming in when all her children are considered adults all her child related benefits would stop and her earnings would be taken into account for HB.

The 16 hours a week WTC situation (especially if you ride it out till your children finish college) fucks you over in the long run financially as you’re left with a low paid low hour job with little to no pensions contributions.

LakieLady Tue 10-Sep-19 15:37:04

I think the fact that single parents (who are mostly women) are expected to work more hours while they still have school-age children is indicative of the how little the raising of children is valued by the PTB. Running a home and rearing children is a lot of work for a single person to do and I think it's great for kids to come home to a parent who has the time and energy to talk through stuff with them.

Sadly, we are where we are and in the current climate I would encourage any single parent to maximise their earning potential through work experience and training/qualifications because the minute the children are out of FTE, the parent will find their income plummets.

The system is terribly flawed, because the rate at which benefits are clawed back as income rises is very steep. People on top-up benefits don't get to keep much of any increase in come as so much (equivalent to almost 2/3 of net pay) comes off their benefits. There is no incentive in the short-medium term to earn more.

DuckWillow Tue 10-Sep-19 15:38:49

Tbh anyone who thinks there would be a bigger pot for more vulnerable people if these benefits were stopped is living in cloud cuckoo land. Have you looked at the Government we’ve had for the past few years? I bet they would read this thread and LOVE it. ....all of us arguing about a pitiful amount of benefits and meanwhile they continue shifting their wealth off shore to avoid taxes.
Okay so two wrongs don’t make a right.

The real reason we need to encourage women back into work rather than rely on top ups is for their own self confidence, experience and self support. It makes them less vulnerable to the Government of the day deciding on austerity,

But make no mistake that pay is generally so shite they will continue needing top ups.

AsTheWorldTurns Tue 10-Sep-19 15:41:30

I think the fact that single parents (who are mostly women) are expected to work more hours while they still have school-age children is indicative of the how little the raising of children is valued by the PTB

What's the PTB?

I don't value other people raising their children, why would I? It's something I'd expect them to do without wanting or needing my affirmation.

To the point at hand, it's obviously an unwise situation but it's her business alone.

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