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Under so much pressure

(9 Posts)
coffeeisnectar Wed 17-May-17 21:11:47

Dp and I have been together for over five years now but known each other for a lot longer.

When we got together I had been single for 7 years and he had been separated for 2 years after his wife left with their dc. My dc and I moved in with him (we lived over 400 miles away at the time) and we got engaged. All good, my kids happy, his happy.

Their divorce was not happy. It was awful. And dp had a bad accident a couple of weeks before the final hearing. It was put back and then he got a letter saying that he had to attend on the next date or pay her court costs. So he attended, very poorly and with no solicitor as we were utterly broke. The court ordered the FMH be sold, awarded her 75% of the house and ordered dp to pay her costs from his share.

So we were homeless, broke and neither of us were working. We were on ESA (I am long term disabled) and life was dreadful. We were surviving on charity handouts to pay the mortgage while the house was up for sale, for food and to pay our bills. It took 6 months for benefits to be sorted by which time we were in debt.

We luckily got offered a private rental through friends quite nearby but now found that we were paying three times what we were paying for a mortgage. And still no work. Although please note that once our benefits actually started paying he was paying CMS for his child.

In the last three years it's been hard, dp couldn't work for over two years after his accident, he got an insurance payout but that's paying the rent. We can't touch that or we will be homeless again. He has applied for many jobs but his health and age go against him. He has qualifications but he's finding it so difficult to find anyone to give him a chance. He is signed onto an agency and gets the odd driving job but is averaging an income of £90 a week. He told his oldest dc (adult) about the agency work and she has told his ex. His ex is now demanding all payslips to re-evaluate the CMS. We can't afford to pay anymore. We have nothing left as it is.

We are living on:

child tax credits for my youngest dc
PIP for me
cb for my dc
The odd agency work
His war disability pension

Totals around £1100 a month. Our rent is £1000 a month. We have bills, we need food.

So the CMS are now hounding him to demand he pays more. DP is on the verge of a breakdown. Combat Stress are coming out to see him tomorrow. He has PTSD and is really, really struggling with depression. His ex stopped all contact with their youngest dc two years ago and he is really down about that. He has tried repeatedly to get contact but is repeatedly told 'they don't want to see you'. Dc is 13.

I just don't know what to do. We can't live here indefinitely. The money is going to run out. He can't find a job. We have nowhere else to live, council waiting list is massive, all our family and friends live here, we both grew up in this area. This is a cheap rent compared to others in the area. I am just in total despair. My youngest dc has ASD which doesn't help as they won't cope with yet another house move.

I'm just so down and so is he.

Kittencatkins123 Wed 17-May-17 21:49:24

Can you get any housing benefit? Are you on the council housing list? Can family and friends help at all? Others will have more advice about the money stuff. Sorry OP it sounds very hard. The rent is pretty high - would it be an option to move further out where rent is cheaper or not really? flowers

Naicehamshop Wed 17-May-17 22:02:59

Have you tried contacting Citizens Advice - they surely could help if only to make sure that you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.

I'm so sorry - it sounds very hard. flowers

MycatsaPirate Wed 17-May-17 22:55:45

Moving out of the area isn't really an option. It would mean a massive commute to let Dd continue at her school, I'm reluctant to move her to a third school in five years tbh.

We aren't entitled to any other benefits due to having money in the bank. Obviously once the money runs out we will get all sorts of help but that's not really helping now and our savings are draining rapidly.

His ex pushing for more money has really tipped dp over the edge. She left and took cash from the joint account (which was already overdrawn), the endowment (£25k) and when his parents died and left him money he handed over half (£22k). Then she got 75% of the house and no costs to pay. She then upped and moved in with her bf miles away, stopped contact for his dc and has done nothing but demand money ever since. There is no more to give. It's just soul destroying. She's had everything.

We have enough money to pay rent for another year and I don't know if his ex would take that in settlement for all future child maintenance which would solve the benefits problem while also stopping her from constantly stressing dp out. I doubt she'd accept it but at this point I'm willing to try anything. It would work out more than she'd get if we continue as we are but would lift a huge weight from dp's shoulders. He really is struggling massively. I am hoping combat stress will offer him a residential course tomorrow. He needs proper help. He's never violent or angry, he just shuts down and it's hard seeing him like this.

coffeeisnectar Wed 17-May-17 22:56:48

Crap, failed to nc.

Sorry, meant to add, we are on the council list but they don't see us a priority. 10 years plus.

Tomsdottir Sat 27-May-17 19:48:08

I'd be wary of offering savings to his ex in order to qualify for benefit more quickly. Both the DWP and the local authority can take the view that you have "deprived yourself of capital" in order to qualify for benefit. Qualifying for benefit need not have been the main reason you did so - just a "significant operative purpose". They can take this view if you pay a debt which is not "immediately repayable".
If they take that view, they can treat you as though you still have those savings. Worth discussing with the CAB. The upper capital limit for housing benefit is £16k. Once your savings drop to below £16,000, you can apply for housing benefit. You will be treated as getting some "notional income" from your savings, but may still qualify for benefit.
If:
you are getting PIP daily living component;
and he is earning no more than £116 a week;
and providing at least 35 hours a week care for you, he could claim Carers Allowance (check it out on gov.uk).
It can be paid intermittently - in other words, for weeks when earnings are at that limit but not when they are above that limit. Claiming carer's allowance will also increase the amount of housing benefit you can qualify for.
If he becomes unable to work because of stress, he may be able to claim contributory ESA (savings don't affect this) though the amount payable may be reduced a little is respect of his pension. (Because ESA is an earnings replacement benefit, most occupational pensions, (including those paid under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme for those who suffer injury, ill health or death due to service in the Armed Forces from 6.4.05) can affect the amount of contributory ESA you get.) However, some of the income you get from your armed forces pension is ignored, which can in turn increase the amount of ESA you get. Whilst getting ESA, it's possible for some people to do "permitted work" which is work of less than 16 hours a week, earning up to £120 a week without this affecting your benefits. ESA and CA can't be paid at the same time but -this is where we enter the baffling world of income maximisation - it can still be worthwhile claiming both. That's because whilst they would pay ESA in preference, you'd qualify for extra housing benefit because he would count as a carer.
As far as council tax is concerned, have you looked into whether you qualify for a disability reduction with your council tax? For example, is there room for you to use a wheelchair indoors, or do you need a room set aside for your own use because of your disability? This reduction is not means tested.
Combat stress may also suggest SSAFA - they can sometimes help out financially.
A lot to take in I know, and you will want specific, confidential advice from a CAB or similar to work out what's best for you, but I hope it gives you some options to work on.

Tomsdottir Sat 27-May-17 19:51:50

Sorry - I forgot to say that his ability to claim contributory ESA depends on his having a recent contribution record of paid contributions. If he hasn't, then carer's allowance is still possible.

MycatsaPirate Sun 28-May-17 13:23:17

Thanks so much for all that information. We have put in a claim for carers for him. The work he is getting is so intermittent and that's causing a headache with tax credits too. Constantly having to phone them and then they want so much information! Luckily I have now set up an account with HMRC so we have an up to date notice of his earnings online.

Five years ago we barely qualified for tax credits, were coping on his income. Now we have lost the house, no permanent income, financially responsible for two minors plus a DD at uni. It's really just so much to deal with.

Combat Stress came out to see him and do an assessment. She was great and was hopeful that he can go onto a residential course which he desperately needs. They don't do the respite so much now but actively work with them to deal with their issues. He definitely needs to open up and stop hiding his feelings.

noova61 Sun 28-May-17 18:17:21

Definitly get in touch with SSAFA.

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