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Living on benefits

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
41 replies 4.2K views
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  • edited 10 November 2019 at 6:12PM
    calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    edited 10 November 2019 at 6:12PM
    sheramber wrote: »

    I think the way this content is worded is misleading

    It says "If you get additional elements for Universal Credit, you will carry on getting them". I think it should say "If you get additional elements for Universal Credit, you will carry on getting them included in your maximum entitlement". As explained in my earlier post a sanction can, I believe, erode these other elements if the UC payable has already been reduced by earnings etc (or indeed other deductions).

    This page is quite useful https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-debt-and-deductions-that-can-be-taken-from-payments#what-is-a-conditionality-sanction-or-fraud-penalty
    See in particular
    How much can be taken from Universal Credit payments?
    There is an overall maximum percentage rate for all debts and deductions that can be taken from a Universal Credit payment. The maximum amount that can be deducted is an amount equivalent to 30% of the claimant’s Universal Credit standard allowance.

    There are 2 exceptions to this rule, Last Resort Deductions (arrears of housing and fuel) and ongoing monthly costs for utilities (gas, electricity and water) where there are also arrears being taken for them.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    Just remembered this which directly addresses the question of sanctions and how they can affect the housing element https://universalcreditinfo.net/myths/they-cant-take-away-my-rent-money-if-im-sanctioned
    Why can housing costs be used to pay for sanctions?

    If you receive less than the standard allowance in addition to your housing costs - for example because you have other income that reduces your entitlement, or the DWP are making deductions from your benefit such as for advance payments or utility arrears payments - some of your entitlement to housing costs will be withheld to cover the sanction amount that cannot be covered by what is left of your standard allowance.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    calcotti wrote: »
    Just remembered this which directly addresses the question of sanctions and how they can affect the housing element https://universalcreditinfo.net/myths/they-cant-take-away-my-rent-money-if-im-sanctioned
    Why can housing costs be used to pay for sanctions?

    If you receive less than the standard allowance in addition to your housing costs - for example because you have other income that reduces your entitlement, or the DWP are making deductions from your benefit such as for advance payments or utility arrears payments - some of your entitlement to housing costs will be withheld to cover the sanction amount that cannot be covered by what is left of your standard allowance.
    Thanks for that! Happy to be proved wrong by you. It didn't help this afternoon when your brain is completely fried by a troll.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    poppy12345 wrote: »
    Thanks for that! Happy to be proved wrong by you. It didn't help this afternoon when your brain is completely fried by a troll.

    I think it helps to think of the calculation of the maximum possible UC entitlement made up of the various elements as one exercise. Once that amount has been determined it is one lump of money to which the various deductions are applied.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Hi all

    Sorry to be misleading, correct I am employed but I was worried that if I ever lost my job, how would I afford to live. I worked out that I would receive 111 pounds a week. I would not be able to afford my rent, council tax, energy bills, service charge. I would probably not be able to eat. I thought the benefit system was in place to help people if they lost their job not penalised them.
  • Could you post a breakdown of what the benefit calculator says so we can help explain things? (Assuming you're discussing UC) how much does the calculator say for standard allowance, how much for housing, etc.

    If you're single, under 35, no kids, and have private rent it will only pay the shared room rate which is quite low.

    Regarding your particular circumstances it's always best to build a buffer before thinking about anything like pensions. Build at least enough to cover your expenses for a few months, then claim benefits once you receive your last paycheck for the job you lose. The buffer can be used to cover the difference in rent while you apply for jobs (if your rent is more than they're able to pay).

    UC doesn't take into account anything up to 6k, and then doesn't deduct much for savings over that to the point of 16k when you'd no longer qualify for any UC. So build yourself as big a buffer as you can if you are at risk of losing your job.
    Amount left to pay on house = 64,400.

    Savings buffer = 1,028.75 of 2415.

    Next large expense = 159 of 483.
  • Oh, and do not expect to be able to keep up your current standard of living. This is what catches people out. UC caseworkers have a lot of conversations with people who receive no UC as they've received 2k earnings within the assessment period, and then the person will try to argue that it's not enough to live on (to add further absurdity to this conversation the most a UC casemanager will take home monthly is around 1.35k, and most are on a lot less than this, and most also have children to support.)

    If you notice your outgoings are a lot, I'd start recording them now so you know what places you can cut or look for cheaper alternatives if your income were to decrease.
    Amount left to pay on house = 64,400.

    Savings buffer = 1,028.75 of 2415.

    Next large expense = 159 of 483.
  • keepcalmandstayoutofdebtkeepcalmandstayoutofdebt Forumite
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    How do people survive on benefits? I just looked and I will receive just over 400 pounds a month. I still have to pay rent, council tax, service charge, car insurance, car tax, heating, gas. I don’t know how I would cope.

    Unless you’ve no aspirations, you aren’t meant to survive on it for months and years. (if in good health) best thinking of it as animal charity capturing, rehabilitation and then release back).

    I remember being called on the day I decided to pack my job in (but I knew I wanted to and would get back out there) as I burst into tears at the only person I could that day, they left me alone for a bit.


  • undetterredundetterred Forumite
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    Hi all

    Sorry to be misleading, correct I am employed but I was worried that if I ever lost my job, how would I afford to live. I worked out that I would receive 111 pounds a week. I would not be able to afford my rent, council tax, energy bills, service charge. I would probably not be able to eat. I thought the benefit system was in place to help people if they lost their job not penalised them.


    Its a safety net, not means to keeping a standard of living that a working wage normally provides.
  • Hi all

    Sorry to be misleading, correct I am employed but I was worried that if I ever lost my job, how would I afford to live. I worked out that I would receive 111 pounds a week. I would not be able to afford my rent, council tax, energy bills, service charge. I would probably not be able to eat. I thought the benefit system was in place to help people if they lost their job not penalised them.
    Giving someone money to help them out is not penalising them.

    What’s happened to make you so relentlessly miserable?
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