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I can't get away from this benefits trap and I hate it!!

(11 Posts)
AMAZINWOMAN Sat 18-Jun-11 15:57:27

I work but as I'm in private accomodation (which is much less than the local housing allowance) I still get housing benefit. There is very little difference at all between working 30 hours a week and 40 hours (£11 a month gross)
so I may as well just work 30 hours and have the time.

I hate paying rent but house prices are too expensive for my one income (I get no maintenance) so I'm stuck.

How can I get out of this stupid trap? I can't bear speaking to the housing benefit department but as I get £80 per month it makes a difference.

SuePurblybilt Sat 18-Jun-11 16:01:58

I'm not 100% sure what you're asking. Whether it's worth working an extra 10 hours a week for £11 a month? I would say not. Can you drop to 30 and use those hours to study or volunteer to try to aim for a better paying job?

I'm not sure what you mean about 'can't bear speaking to the department' so I can't comment there grin. Have you fully investigated part ownership schemes? Do you bid on HA properties online?

It might be worth booking an appointment with your local CAB for them to do some better-off calculations and advise about housing options.

fishnets Sat 18-Jun-11 17:28:24

I don't understand why you need to worry about speaking to the housing benefit dept. I have been claiming HB for about ten years and I've never had to speak to them, I just submit the forms through the post.

You shouldn't feel ashamed to claim HB, it is there to support you and your child. Don't worry too much about getting on the housing ladder. I will probably rent for the rest of my life but I prefer it anyway, far more flexible and I don't have to upkeep the property.

I think the plan above to stick to lower hours and study is a good one. I work p/t and am doing an MA online. Much better in the long term to improve prospects this way, than to keep work longer hours in the same post for not much more money.

Kerrihypnotherapy Sun 19-Jun-11 01:04:38

i was in the same position as you two and a half years ago....and like you, absolutely HATED speaking to Housing Benefit. i always felt like i was taking two steps forward and one back and would be stuck in the benefit trap forever!

i managed to buy a house through the shared ownership scheme - there are a few, i found them on the internet. i had a really good mortgage advisor who was able to get me my mortgage without a deposit (although i think this is unusual). My mortgage & the amount i pay for the part of the house i don't own per month is less than my private rent was.....and the BIG added bonus is that i get to keep any extra money i make instead of having it knocked off the HB so i've been able to move onwards and upwards since buying the house and also have the option of buying more shares in my house as the years go on.

Good luck and don't lose heart. it is a struggle but one that, if you're determined enough you can overcome.....i feel proud of myself for the years of struggle and feel i learned alot of lessons from it (that sounds corny doesn't it! - i mean with regards to money management and finding out what's important in my life and realising money wasn't the be all and end all - although it's nice to have a bit extra now)....i think it's also given the kids a great example, showing them that life isn't always easy but if you have a plan and determination they can achieve anything smile

mellowbird Sun 19-Jun-11 08:20:01

" I will probably rent for the rest of my life but I prefer it anyway, far more flexible and I don't have to upkeep the property."

fishnets-i really like this statement of yours,i'm in private rented too,i've always wanted to own my own home but it's never going to happen,this is a very positive way of thinking,thanks smile

savoycabbage Sun 19-Jun-11 08:37:53

I think it's a good idea to study or get a voluntary job or work experience to noisy your chances of getting a better job.

evolucy7 Sun 19-Jun-11 10:40:54

After my ex left, I paid the mortgage for 2 years without any help from him, but as I couldn't get the mortgage transferred to my sole name as I was a SAHM I decided to sell, as he was still benefitting from this arrangement while not making a contribution. I had been very against selling and then privately renting, but I found a lovely house, nicer and bigger than the house we owned, the rent is less than the mortgage was, and now even if I was back in a position to buy again I am not sure that I would want to move from here, as I probably wouldn't be able to afford something similar. The house I rent is owned by 'the estate' in a small village, the whole village is, so the houses will not be sold, they will stay as part of the family estate for generations. I know it can be hard depending on where you live to find good private rents but I am just trying to say that having been very upset at the thought of coming off the housing ladder it has turned out ok, not ideal but there are many positives to the situation, and thanks for your post OP to remind me of them too. smile Are you happy with where you rent now, could you find somewhere else that you would prefer?

kayah Sun 19-Jun-11 15:21:20

I can only guess your anger comes from the fact that you are feeling you have no choice.

As others say, try to investigate part ownership, even if just to find out is not what you are after.

marycorporate Mon 20-Jun-11 17:21:21

Would a 40 hour a week job offer better prospects long term? If so isn't it worth doing it even if only for £11 a month rather than satying in a part time role and being viewed as unwilling to progress to something more demanding?

AMAZINWOMAN Tue 21-Jun-11 07:02:04

Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my post. Basically I went for an interview advertised at 30 hours per week, but they said it would ideally be full time but the experctation is there that at busy times more hours would be worked.

Although I didn't get the job, I realise it would have been a nightmare with housing benefit. I have nightmares dealing with my housing benefit for example:

1.Sending letter dated eg 21st of June saying info required by 21st of June. Then getting a letter dated 21st of June saying my benefits are stopping as I didn't get info in by 21st of June.

2. When my kids were in primary school, so obviously in full time education, they stopped my claim as they said they were possibly in employment.

3. Saying my income was 120,000 and not 12,000

4 They address my letters as "MR"

I can feel myself getting stressed thinking about it so I won't anymore but I think you get the gist!

Obviously these issues get sorted out but it always involves me going to the office for a few hours. Hardly ideal when you start a new job.

Where I live most jobs have seen pay fallen significantly, so it would be a while before I am out of this trap.

Have to go and get ready for work but I will look again at shared ownership. It may have changed since I looked.

totallytropical Wed 22-Jun-11 09:17:23

Be careful with shared ownership. My SIL has been really stung by these schemes. She gave up her HA flat to part buy a shared ownership flat as it was the only way to get on the housing ladder. A lot of these schemes are in newbuild flats and they look lovely to start with but the building quality is terrible, with thin walls and bits that break all the time. Unlike rentals, you have to foot the bill for all maintenance/repairs despite owning only a percentage, and there are strict rules about selling. So it's very expensive really, you don't get all the fittings you'd get in a rental place and have to buy all of those like a homeowner, yet you're still paying part-rent and don't get all the freedom of owning your home.
My SIL wanted to sell because she had to move for a new job, but the HA wouldn't buy it back and it was really hard to sell on the open market because of all the restrictions. So she couldn't take the new job, tried to claim HB for a while but she wasn't allowed to, even on the portion of rent she was paying. It really seems like the worst of both worlds.

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