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No housing benefit payment this month and I am so stressed(20 Posts)
I work as a supply teacher 3 days a week. I am a single mother with a six year old. I have thought of doing full time but the work load is just overwhelming and it would mean my child going to after care (probably until 6 pm most weekdays). i am paid through an agency as my position is not permanent.
I live in London and my rent is alot.There is however nothing much cheaper in this area without changing my child's school . I don't drive.
Anyway that is the background. I claim JSA over the school holidays as I don't get paid for school holidays. I have been working for an agency since September and have claimed JSA twice since then (in the holidays). This time I was asked to provide bank statements and payslips so my housing benefit could be reassessed. I summited all the information requested on the 15 of February. Since then I have had to pay rent without housing benefit plus all the other bills. My account is now £600 overdraw. I tried to get the overdraft limit extended without success. My limit is £700. I am so stressed about it. I have called the housing benefit line everyday this week and have had my claim as a priority since Wednesday. Today I called and still no one has looked at it.
I am quite desperate as I have two automatic payments going out of my account on Monday. I have called my bank who are not able to do anything else.
Sorry you are in this position. You are doing all the right things. The only suggestion to raise a bit extra money is to try and sell sthg that you are not using anymore on Ebay, gumtree, cash converters, could that be a option for an emergency? I know it's not a solution for the long term but it certainly helped me in times of need.
Oh bless you it is horrific trying to work and keep on top of housing benefit etc. I've been in a similar position when working ad hoc but still needing housing benefit top up.
I would be going in to the housing benefit office/council on Monday and refusing to leave until I had spoken to a human being who could tell me what is going on and how much longer it was going to take.
It is so stressful though and I really feel for you.
Do you have anything you could sell or even pawn in the short term so that you have money for food etc?
That's sounds really stressful. Are you claiming child tax credits too? If not do that as that should help you out a lot.
You have to work on the bars that this will not get sorted before Monday.
If it were me (and I don't know if it's legal or right) I would cancel the direct debits. Ring whoever they are and just explain the situation. Be totally open with them. Say I will ring you every Monday and Thursday to explain what is happening.
Then I would do as above and go to housing office and be pushy.
Are you worried your claim will not be reinstated? Are you just (!) worried it will get reinstated but back payed?
Sorry it's so stressful.
Your local cab, debt advice, welfare advice office (usually within social services office) can be very helpful in advocating for people in your situation. I've been there it's a nightmare.
Phoning daily is not enough, you need to make the right noises about getting the right people to get things moving. When you phone you are getting through to someone who is basically just a call handler.
Meanwhile talk to your dd bill creditors and your landlord. Being honest and warning people of possible problems is always better. Utilities providers are legally required to help if you are in financial difficulties too. DO NOT cancel dd for council tax, but most other dd's can be flexible.
Are you a council of housing association tenant? Or private landlord?
If HA of council, ring the housing department and ask if they can offer an appointment with a Money Advisor (or their equivalent). You might be able to apply for a hardship payment or Discretionary Fund Assistance.
As others have suggested, call utility companies and ask for a temporary stop on payments etc..
Also hound Housing Benefit office and ask them to state the date by which your claim will be resolved. It might be some way off but if they commit to a date they will normally honour it. Escalate to a Senior Officer and make an official complaint via their complaints procedure as it will then be escalated to an Operational Manager.
Lastly, when this is sorted and you are able to open a Credit Union account and start saving, even if just £1 a week. This will allow you to access short term, cheap loans when if/ you need them if this situation arises again.
This may be seen as unhelpful but I would look into working full time.
Your child isn't preschool and as a supply teacher you already don't get pay in the holidays.
I'm also a single parent in London, working full-time but claiming some HB as (actually fairly decent!) salary isn't enough in the face of (actually quite cheap!) London rent and childcare costs. Sympathies - it is so so hard to have to fight for this on top of everything else.
When my claim was being horrendously messed about (because the childcare thing confused them), my MP was amazingly helpful at getting it sorted. Very quick strongly worded letter and the council had it sorted the following day. Won't fix your problem in time for Monday, but I would really recommend it if you don't get anywhere with turning up in person. Good luck.
I know this isn't helpful at the mo but I would definitely find something more permanent. I get some help and any fluctuations trigger them asking for more info and this is stressful. All my boys have had to do after school care as I am a teacher too. You need to be realistic.
I get why you don't want to teach full time with a young one. It's very hard indeed. You could try approaching schools that you like directly and letting them know you're available for supply, or PPA work. This way you wont be paying agency fees. I used to do this years ago though so not sure if it's still possible.
Alternatively you could perhaps look for part time teaching jobs, TA work, tutoring?
Thanks for all the advice. It is much appreciated. I will definitely open a Credit Union account. I will approach the agency and or local schools and ask about doing an extra day maybe 10-2 so I can collect and deliver my son. I have been working through an agency at the same school for a year and a half so need to pluck up the courage to ask the head if the job could be make permanent.
But at present I need to deal with the immediate problem.The problem is that my income fluctuates and I have to supply endless amounts of paperwork. There is no reason why my claim should not be reinstated but I am terrified (illogically) that it won't be. The matter has been escalated to a manager since Friday when I got a helpful person who emailed her after trying to contact her by phone. I will look up my direct debits and stall them.
You might be as well, also, to check your precise contract/employment terms. In some areas at least, supply teachers are actually paid for holidays 'as they go' by receiving a higher rate of pay for each day than a full time teacher. I don't know how that would work with agency employment or housing benefit though.
Ask the school to employ you as a cover supervisor for min 16 hours a week. For tax creds even if you are term time only you will qualify for working tax and therefore help with wrap around childcare costs should you need it (which you prob wont if you did 4 lessons per day 4 x per week).
You will get an annual salary but split over 12 months including all holidays so income will be the same every month.
They are likely to go for this if you suggest it to them because they can pay you circa 8k a year (for 16hrs) in this situation rather than a high agency day rate.
You would be better off overall and you would not have to do marking/planning either. For peace of mind the paycut probably worth it for now.
If that school say no contact every other school in your area to see if they need a CS.
I agree as it's the fluctuation that will cause problems for you. I had the same issue teaching and it's better to get something regular as the payments will stop and start otherwise.
Christians against poverty are a good help
Good idea about joing a Credit Union. I think it's always difficult for people who have to come on and off benefit. The whole system seems to work against you. Could you top up your income by doing say tutoring from home or in the school holidays.
Or exam marking? The company who use mumsnet for recruitment have given me a decent amount of work for the summer months and it was painless applying
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