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to want to give up my job so I can afford decent housing

(45 Posts)
msdisillusioned Fri 26-Sep-08 05:37:25

Am currently living with a relative after the breakdown of my marriage. I have made an application to the homeless team who are trying to talk me into privately renting.

But having done the figures for rent/council tax/electricity/petrol/car costs/housekeeping it all comes to more than I bring in.

Recently a friend with 2 DC told me that she was moving into a bigger place (privately renting). She is also a lone parent so does not work. The housing benefit people have informed her that she can look at properties up to £750 a month as her Housing Allowance/Benefit will cover that.

Forgive me a little green eyed envy here as I just could not even begin to afford that much in rent a month.

It's all got me thinking that maybe I do myself no favours in working all the hours I do. I am a community nurse so on what is termed a good salary. However, not so good that I can afford the type of place my friend is looking at.

I know my DF has to find a landlord which will accept Housing Benefit and I also know that is not always easy. However, am seriously thinking about drastically reducing my hours and salary as I might then get more help towards finding a home for me and DS.

Please forgive the green eyed envy stuff and I know the grass is NOT greener but at least I'd have a roof over my head.

67Impala Fri 26-Sep-08 06:42:04

You have to look at all your options

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Fri 26-Sep-08 07:05:18

first work out how much money you will have in benefits. will it be enough to live on? when i was a single mum it was hard financialy being on benefits. that and your self esteem takes a big hit. especailly when people start going on about you living on 'handouts'. you are made to feel worthless by many.

look into the fact that now you are on your own you maybe entitled towards money towards chilcare and more tax credits. would that help you rent easier?

if you went part time if that is possible in your job you woudl be entitled to some hb. if your friend has two dc and you only have your ds she will be entitled to bigger housing and more benefit than you so make sure youo check out how much you would get.

good luck what ever you its not easy on your own.

Pushpinia Fri 26-Sep-08 07:12:05

I feel awful being in your friend's position...i am paid for, it's a horrible feeling and people do question it. For instance we had the builders in as I am doing this place up a bit (it was extremely run down, 1960s carpets full of filth, moths everywhere, wallpaper hanging off etc) and the builders asked me how I afforded it. I was ashamed to admit I was on HB and they clearly thought I was rolling in it - I had to use my overdraft to pay for their materials because I could hardly leave the floor as bare concrete hmm

Yes, it is possible to find a good place on benefit but it took me a few years of looking before I found somewhere big enough and cheap enough - most agents won't even consider you on Housing allowance.

Theonly reason we got this place is that it was £575 a month - while most places around here are more like £850. That tells you how much of a state it was in. It's a nice big flat though in a respectable street and has a huge garden, those were the important things. I have had to work very hard to make it look decent inside though and I still feel rubbish that I haven't earnt it myself.

I'd love to be working personally but couldn't afford to.

coldshowers Fri 26-Sep-08 07:18:52

Have a real look at the situation you'd be in before you consider it though. It can be V hard to find a willing landlord, and then even though your housing is paid for it can be a big struggle to pay for everything else on the benefits you get. Try here to see what you would be entitled to.


msdisillusioned Fri 26-Sep-08 07:47:26

Definitely not being judgemental of my friend Pushpinia - she doesn't have it easy and I know she doesn't. Am just so sick of being entitled to NO help whatsoever. I earn just over the threshold to make me not eligible for higher tax credits and equally not entitled to HB.
I also question whether or not I can be the type of Mum my DS needs while working all these hours. It means I miss sports days/school events which take place in school time etc.
I just can't help thinking it might be easier if I wasn't working such long hours or not working at all.

aeao Fri 26-Sep-08 07:53:12

I'm not sure I would stop work completely, but reducing your hours so you are entitled to something plus the extra tax credits etc makes sense to me

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Fri 26-Sep-08 07:54:24

check out what benefits you would get if you were working part time. i know it sounds stupid <and it is stupid> but financially i get more more working 20 hours than i do working 35.

Pushpinia Fri 26-Sep-08 08:25:06

Oh Gosh, I hope I didn't imply that you were - absolutely understand, I was writing in a rush so please don't think I was having a go smile

lou031205 Fri 26-Sep-08 08:45:16

You would be entitled to the same help as your friend.

LHA rules - one adult one child = two bedrooms.

one adult two children = 2 bedrooms (unless over 10 years of different sexes)

AMAZINWOMAN Fri 26-Sep-08 10:20:22

You may still be able to claim help with paying the rent even though you are working.
Housing benefit is for low incomes, so even people who work full time may be able to claim.

Look at for an estimate of tax credits, housing benefit etc

TheSoapEatersMum Fri 26-Sep-08 11:59:13

Agree with AMAZINWOMAN you may be able to claim some HB; when I was a lone parent, I worked and HB covered part of my rent and council tax. Definately,as others have said, take a look at entitledto.

Pushpina- I'm a bit shock that your builder had the cheek to ask you how you afforded it, the nosey sod!

jimmyjammys Fri 26-Sep-08 12:53:25

If it is the better option for your family then you should do it - if it means that you will get to spend more time with your DS and you may get to live in better accommodation. Life for you at this moment is hard enough without feeling guilty about things that you are perfectly entitled to. That's why the system is there and I would not begrudge anything extra that you may get. You've been working for a while already, you've paid your taxes and your national insurance and just because you get help now it doesn't mean that it will always be like this, down the line things will improve and you may not need HB anymore.

Upwind Fri 26-Sep-08 12:59:08

YANBU, do what is best for your family

Aimsmum Fri 26-Sep-08 13:17:23

Message withdrawn

noonki Fri 26-Sep-08 13:22:35

I take it that you are living down south due to the high Housing Benefit allowance, and rents can be huge, but it is a renters market at the mo so I am told. SO landlords maybe willing to reduce rents, ask about.

Also try a Benefit calculator - I think there is one on direct. You haven't mentioned if your ex is paying any maintence, remember that any he does pay will be taken off the benefits you receive.

YOu also have to also weigh up things like your future career prospects and how your projected pay may be affected if you decide not to work. As well as pensions etc.

A hard decision,

the pro's of going private (as opposed to the council rehousing you) is that you get a lot more say in where you go and can move much easier

the con's are getting a deposit together, much unsafer tenure, etc

good luck x

msdisillusioned Fri 26-Sep-08 17:01:00

No it's okay Pushpina - didn't mean to imply that I thought you were saying I was judgemental. Just read your post and then my OP and thought I sounded as though I was being a bit judgemental. smile

lulabellarama Fri 26-Sep-08 17:08:15

Are you sure you're not entitled to HB?

Reason I ask is that I was told I wasn't but subsequently found this not to be true. I'd been struggling to pay £750 pcm on my own, despite earning £25,000. Then found out I was entitled to £350 a month, which made a massive difference. When I moved to a property and paid £850pcm it went up to over £400, despite my salary also increasing to £27,000.

Doublecheck your entitlement

msdisillusioned Sat 27-Sep-08 17:14:01

I take home about £1500 a month so it's a good salary hence no entitlement to HB or anything else. Having done my sums again and again and knocked off bits and pieces I can just about come up with £700 a month but every month will be tight - and I also have to find the deposit. I've done the "" thing and it confirms I'm not entitled to any HB. Lulubellarama I'll double check everything as am on £26k working full-time - so far have been informed am entitled to zilch.

I've added Council Tax, Petrol, car (insurance, tax, repairs etc), electricity, water rates, housekeeping, prescription costs, school dinners, CCJ (which my DH has left me with), phone bill (I know you can do phone and internet combined quite cheaply and miniscule childcare costs). No Sky or anything like that. The total comes to £1600 but I have child benefit and child tax credits to add which puts another £120 on the £1500.

findtheriver Sat 27-Sep-08 17:22:33

It's a pisser isnt it when you realise that you might actually be better off by reducing your hours of work. Even if you can manage to stay on your current hours, it sounds as though you won't be much better off than if you cut your hours and claim benefits.It's the single biggest thing that's wrong with the welfare system - not enough incentive for people to do what the OP is doing, ie: doing a valuable job, contributing to society and trying to live independently. It sucks. Everyone in work should be significantly better off than on benefits.

msdisillusioned Sat 27-Sep-08 21:44:24

Just done my sums again. sad. Cannot do £700 a month. Even taking the food bill down to £300 a month, getting rid of the PAYG mobile phone (so not topping it up) and committing to packed lunches only at work it still comes to nearly £100 a month more than I bring in.sad.
Saw a nice house tonight that I would rent if I could. It's on a grotty estate in town (I grew up there so am not put off) and even there places are pushing £700 a month.
Was actually excited about renting it but have just done the maths again with the Martin Lewis download budget tool - I can't do it - outgoings would be £100 more than I have coming in.sad.
I could up my hours and get an extra £100 a month but what's the point in having my DS if he never sees his Mum.

Tortington Sat 27-Sep-08 21:48:09

do you know how much housing benefit you are entitled to on your wage? my BIL earns 28k and was still entitled to a meagre £8 pw hb.

so perhaps you are entitled to more?

the people who visited you from the housing office will be able to accuratley calculate your HB entitlement

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Sat 27-Sep-08 21:48:27

have you checked out what you would get working part time wrt to hb and other benefits?

ainsmum if you re interseted in renting and getting hb my council <and im sure all counsild> so a pre rent determination where they tell you how much benefit you would get before you sign the tenancy. but you are right they will not pay more than they think the house is worth.

holidaysoon Sat 27-Sep-08 22:03:31


others have posted lots of useful advice

I too would be a hole lot better off financially if I stopped/cut down at work
never mind all the extra time I would get to spend with my kids

'tis wrong

expatinscotland Sat 27-Sep-08 22:08:01

how about private renting in your own right as it stands now, and then cutting back on your hours, as most councils pay the HB directly to the tenant if they are private renters.

sorry if this has already been suggested.

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