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Please help, tax credits have screwed up...

(10 Posts)
Katkins1 Mon 11-Nov-13 23:23:03


Please don't judge or flame me, this wasn't my fault. I'm a f/t student with one DD, 5. I'm a single parent, have had PTSD and depression all in last year. I was just about coping on my student finance, but it doesn't go very far, and we get paid in Jan again. I have none of it left, so I was living on my tax credits, Child benefit and DLA. Again, not sensible but the washing machine and fridge freezer both broke during Summer. I was finding it hard to get a job, so had to replace it with my very small savings.

Today, the tax creds sent me a letter saying that they have stopped the payments as I haven't renewed. Which I did. They claimed that I owed a back payment, but I don't. I rang them and it was sorted on the phone with a renewal, but now is going to be 2 weeks until I get any payments. I have no money at all (except child benefit) to live on. I have an overdraft of £200, all of which will pay my direct debits and possibly my gas/electric meters, but then I'm back to square one with being overdrawn, and never getting out of it.

Have some food in cupboards and the freezer. Enough for maybe a few days.

Honestly don't know what to do, and to top it all, I can just feel my degree slipping through my fingers because I can't study while I have all of this going on.

I need practical suggestions, not judgement though please.

nurseneedshelp Mon 11-Nov-13 23:27:33

Can you ask family for help or DD's dad?

souperb Mon 11-Nov-13 23:45:21

Have you tried accessing the hardship fund at uni? Usually through your student union welfare officer? Try and make an appointment with them or CAB to go through your options. They'll be able to check your entitlements, look at outgoings and help you with food bank vouchers or something similar if you qualify.

Make sure DD is on free school meals.

Do you have anything you can sell? In credit on your electricity/gas meter? Gift vouchers/loyalty card points lurking about - eg boots sell milk if you have advantage card points.

Make sure DD's dad is doing his bit - financially and/or looking after her so you can study or sort this out. Well done on getting straight on to the tax credit people - so easy to bury your head in the sand when life gets on top of you. You can do this.

Katkins1 Mon 11-Nov-13 23:59:40

DD's dad is crap. He's violent and always drunk, I don't let him near her, for her safety. Because he's so rubbish, I have to pay for childcare, quite a lot.No family around either. Mum left when I was little, Dad isn't much help. And has no money himself. I've applied to access to learning at uni, but not had a reply yet. I'm going to apply to their emergency fund first thing tomorrow. My outgoings are usually OK, I manage on that. I'm a student, so get used to it if you see what I mean. Friends have offered me loans and food, but I can't take them. I don't feel that I know them well enough to.

Its going to be CAB when I can reasonably get there, which is Thursday (I have lectures other days). This is my 3rd and final year. DD is on free meals, I need to send the proof back tomorrow, come to think of it!

I have a kindle, but that's got all of my uni books on. I've got my bike and DD's bike, that's about it. I could sell mine, but no hers, even though she never uses it. My gas meters have a little on them. I can't believe that I would have missed a form like renewal, I really do think this one is their mistake. I'm not daft, I would have noticed. Thanks for the advice.

Selks Tue 12-Nov-13 00:05:13

Yes hardship fund at Uni? Speak to student support.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 12-Nov-13 00:08:37

Of you speak to the health visitor, you maybe able to get a foodbank referral

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 12-Nov-13 00:08:59

Of you speak to the health visitor, you maybe able to get a foodbank referral

Katkins1 Tue 12-Nov-13 00:29:39

Yeah I thought uni first, as I will be told to go there first anyway. I've never experienced a problem with credits, so I'm checking and double checking everything. I'm also wondering if the bank might increase my overdraft to a full student one until January, as I've got a really tiny of facility at the minute.

souperb Tue 12-Nov-13 12:31:38

Aren't the student overdrafts usually interest free? That could be a good move just to tide you over. The problem with borrowing the money though is that it would need to be paid back at some point, potentially leaving you in a similar position towards the end of next term. Hardship grants from uni used to be non-repayable and were a fixed amount depending on need.

I'd try and avoid loans from friends, but if someone is offering you a meal or a few bits from their cupboard then for the sake of your daughter take it. You may be able to help them out in some way in future. Any other students with children that you could pool resources with? eg taking turns with childcare from time to time, sharing meals (often the same cost or not much more to cook for 4 as for 2 because of economies of scale).

Some primaries offer free breakfast club for families who really need it - our last primary offered it to certain low income families where it would really help them out. Not only was it a free meal, but also an hour of free childcare and a more relaxed start to the school day for the kids.

Break the issues into smaller categories. eg

1. short term - getting through next few weeks before tax credits back up

2. medium term - getting through to january when next student funding payment comes through

3. slightly long term - getting through to the end of your degree with limited funds and childcare.

Write down as much as possible - what you know will be coming in and going out and when. List what you need, then take this to the uni people and/or CAB.

You have done an amazing job getting to the third year of your degree with a young child, little support and health issues.

Rubymca1 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:56:17

Hi so sorry you are in this difficult situation. I agree that you have done really well to get to the 3rd year of your degree.
Hopefully you have been offered a food bank voucher by the CAB, if not do ask for one from the school nurse or any organisation that supports individuals- housing or student support.
There is a web search you can do to help you find a charity grant you could apply for:
Good luck

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