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Terrified of Universal Credit

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
17 replies 1.3K views
TurtellyTasticTurtellyTastic Forumite
7 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
Hi all...
Please be kind , I’m feeling very fragile

My employer is making company wide redundancies and I’m affected along with other colleagues. I’m currently on long term sick for ME.

I’ve had this condition for over 15 years and I’m struggling to keep the symptoms at bay . I suffer awful fatigue daily and I’m in constant pain . I have no social life or hobbies as I don’t have the energy for it .

I only work 12 hours per week but the commute along with the working day is too much for me. I also have a SEN child at home who needs additional care .

My husband and I are on a low income and are in receipt of working tax credits and child tax credits .

I am in receipt of PIP for my condition . I had to fight for this and waited over a year for a tribunal .

I am now absolutely terrified about claiming universal credit . I know I will have to fight to prove I’m ill . Especially as I do want to work but I need to work hours that will help me manage my illness .

Will I be forced to get a full time job or be sanctioned?

My husband works but is part time as he needs to help me and also looks after our SEN child . He does not qualify for carers allowance . Will he be forced to up his hours? (This would leave me in dire straights as I can not manage the children on no energy - he also helps me with personal care).

I would love to be able to study to gain some qualifications to help me look for new work , but this needs to be “paced” as I struggle to concentrate due to fatigue .

I’m not going to be able to do this under universal credit am I?

The chances of being put in to the support group are incredibly slim and I’m fine with this , but I don’t want to be forced in to full time hours I am unable to cope with.

I have medical evidence in favour of working reduced hours but this is from years ago , once you have a diagnosis of ME , there is no further support .

The worry about universal credit and how we will survive financially is keeping me up at night and exacerbating my illness .

Please can anyone offer some positive advice ?
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Replies

  • WhenIam64WhenIam64 Forumite
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    Please can anyone offer some positive advice ?

    The first thing to bear in mind is that any advice will be neither positive or negative. It will simply be what the rules say.

    Many of your questions will be down to the specifics of your condition and how a Decision Maker will view them (according to the rules)

    You can find the DM rules online and interpret them yourself but they are quite complex.

    As a start you might want to use one of the benefit checkers to see what your entitlement may be, based on the conditions you have.

    Here is the link to some choices

    https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

    You have a lot a questions which will have different options so it may even be better for you to see a local charity who can guide you through some of the questions to concentrate on the important ones (to you)
    Unlike some here, I am not omniscient. If I am wrong correct me. I won't take offence.

    The law is like an ocean - have a swim but don't drown.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
    10.2K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    If your PIP includes a Daily Living component then your husband can say they are caring for you and any UC award will include an additional £120/month for this. He doesn't;t need to claim Carer's Allowance for this to happen. As a carer he will have no work requirements and will therefore not be expected to increase his hours etc.

    You need to have a Fit Note from your GP which you can give DWP when you claim. You will then have to go through a Work capability assessment. While this is going on your work coach is likely to relax work search requirements for you (but it is at their discretion). What happens after the WCA is complete depends on the outcome.

    If you claim UC your Tax Credits will end. I recommend that, if possible, you get an advice agency to do a benefits check so that you can compare UC entitlement with ongoing Tax Credits. If you rent your home and want help with rent you will only be able to get this through UC.

    You don't say how old your children are. This can affect the number of hours you are expected to look for work even if in the full work search group.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Thank you both for your responses .

    I didn’t realise a fit note would help “prove” I’m ill under universal credit . I can certainly book an appointment with my GP to ask for one.

    How would this work though? I don’t think the GP would (understandably) give me an indefinite fit note - would I have to ask for so many months and then go back to keep supplying these to universal credit?

    My main worry is “proving” I’m ill. After the fight I had for PIP it’s so deflating .

    I do hope to work at some point in the future , I just need time to see if I can recover. This disease robs you of everything.

    I’m hoping to use the time (if I can get in the correct group) to study at a very reduced timetable . Would this be allowed under universal credit ?

    My children are primary school aged but the child with SEN does not go to childcare as he doesn’t cope . School holidays will be a problem for us if I’m forced to find work .

    I’ve done a calculation on the entitled to site and it appears we are slightly worse off under universal credit , but that’s the way it is .

    How do universal credit take in to account “relevant” carers? If I were to be put down as my sons main carer, and my husband as relevant carer , would he then be asked to increase his hours?

    (I rely on him a lot for care for both of us as when fatigue hits , I can barely string a sentence together!)

    I really appreciate the advice :beer:
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    I didn’t realise a fit note would help “prove” I’m ill under universal credit . I can certainly book an appointment with my GP to ask for one.

    How would this work though? I don’t think the GP would (understandably) give me an indefinite fit note - would I have to ask for so many months and then go back to keep supplying these to universal credit?
    A fit note doesn't prove you're ill or that you have limited capability for work. It's the discretion of you work coach, until you're assessed and the decision is made.


    There's no such thing as an indefinite fit note. You will need to keep sending them until the decisions been made on the LCW.
  • Oh I understand now . I could ask my GP for a fit note to cover me whilst the assessment takes place ?

    I know that I may still be required to search for work depending on my job search . Are these assessments done reasonably quickly or am I looking at the length of time it takes for PIP?

    Can you appeal or go to tribunal if you’re put in to a group you don’t agree with ?

    Sorry for all the questions . I’m trying to get my head around it all.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    Oh I understand now . I could ask my GP for a fit note to cover me whilst the assessment takes place ?

    I know that I may still be required to search for work depending on my job search . Are these assessments done reasonably quickly or am I looking at the length of time it takes for PIP?

    Can you appeal or go to tribunal if you’re put in to a group you don’t agree with ?

    Sorry for all the questions . I’m trying to get my head around it all.


    As has been advised, you will need a fit note to start the LCW process off and you will need to continue to send them until the decisions been made on the work capability assessment.



    There's no timescales for any decision, it depends on backlog. If you disagree with the decision then yes you can request the MR followed by Tribunal.
  • Ok that makes sense, thank you.
  • yksiyksi Forumite
    720 posts
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    Don't be scared of the name itself. "Universal Credit" does not just mean "must work full time". It might help to just think of it as the name of the system that handles the payments.

    It can be a pain to prove limited capacity for work and I understand the fear there, but there is a lot of peer support available on these boards to help you get what you're entitled to. I would encourage you not to give up hope, and even if UC don't give the correct decisions to you immediately, there are ways to fight them and the people nearly always win.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Have you seen the MEA's leaflets about claiming benefits -
    https://www.meassociation.org.uk/shop/benefits-leaflets/
  • phoenix1837phoenix1837 Forumite
    79 posts
    Sorry if I have missed something, but if you are already in receipt of working and child tax credits, why will you be claiming universal credits?
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