Thursday, 5 September 2013

Housing Benefit: Example # 2

In yesterday's post I gave an example of how difficult it can be to claim Housing Benefit and how this can cause problems with managing one's cash flow.

Today, let's look at it from the other end.

Please note: this is not about me. It is an EXAMPLE. 

I am a single mother. I have been out of work for a while. I'm on Jobseeker's Allowance and I have 3 school-age children. My rent and council tax are completely covered by my benefit.

I have been looking for jobs, but I need to find something that fits in with school hours, and pays enough for us to live on. Eventually, I find a job temping in a factory.

The day I start my new job, my Jobseeker's Allowance stops.
I am now entitled to claim Working Tax Credits; to get this, I have to tell them how much money I think I will earn for the remainder of this tax year. If I under-estimate how much I think I will earn, I will receive too much in Working Tax Credits, and will be asked to pay it back in April. Therefore it's better to over-estimate how much I think I will earn. Ultimately though, I'm plucking a figure out of thin air. This is a temping job; I have no idea how long they will need me.

My Housing Benefit continues to cover my rent, until I submit my first payslip to the Council office. Then they take a couple of weeks to re-assess my claim, and I get one of their unintelligible letters. The letter says that since my first day back at work, I am only entitled to Housing Benefit to cover half of my weekly rent. But for the past 6 weeks they have been over-paying my benefit, so for the next few weeks I will receive only a quarter of my weekly rent in benefit, in order to claw back the overpayment.

Last week, I was up-to-date on my rent but now with this amendment in my benefit, I'm behind.

Now the factory have caught up on their backlog, and they don't need me any more, so I am unemployed again. I go back to set up my Jobseeker's Allowance again, but I know this can take up to 15 working days.

Once my Housing Benefit is re-assessed (which they can't do until my Jobseeker's Allowance claim is finalised), it will be backdated to the date I stopped work, and will once again cover my rent. 

Now I am in a position where my rent and council tax are covered, but I'm living on Jobseeker's Allowance, and I still owe rent from the brief period I was in work. 


  1. Do you not think that working makes you a valuable member of society, opposed to someone who is out to take what they can from those who work hard? Working for a living should make you value the things that you have, because you have earned them. At the moment, everything you own has been paid for by me and other hard working people of your community.
    We didnt ask or force you to have a child, if you couldn't support a family in the first place, you should have used precautions or abstained. I'm not trying to have a go at you, but to suggest people are 'better off on benifits' is deplorable.
    This is a big reason why the economy is in a state, and why people look at those who CHOOSE to be on benefits as spongers.
    You should use your time to study, and better yourself so as you can become someone who gives back to the society who has afforded you free rent and food.

    1. Perhaps if you are going to make long, judgemental comments on my blog you should read it more closely.

      I was going to sit here and point out all the ways in which your comment is wrong, but I don't have time.

    2. You clearly have neer read any of this blog - you just skim-read this post.

      I don't have time to point out the errors in your comment either.

  2. To be fair I meant to reply to your other blog post in which you seem to be complaining about the amount of money you receive from the government.
    I'm sorry, but your post makes it quite clear that you are in receipt of benefits. Whether or not your working 1 or 2 days a week is irrelevant. You are still in receipt of free money, cheaper rent, cheaper council tax, free school meals for your child (when at school age), and from what I've seen on the news, free food.
    You complain that your money (benefits/wages) doesn't cover your (reduced rate) of rent and council tax, yet you seem to be able to afford broadband, a computer, a smart phone (and I assume a contract or regular top ups), maxi dresses and a new 'pull along cart with 20 or so blocks'. These are just examples from a quick glance at your most recent posts.
    Do you not understand that if your truly worried about your finances, these are the luxuries you have to do without?
    I had no government help when my daughter was young, we made personal sacrifices to get by.
    The problem I have with your post, is that you seem to be promoting being on benefits, when in actual fact the act of claiming is not a good thing. Learn to be self sufficient, be grateful for the help you receive, and as I said previously, rather than spend your free time writing blogs, study so you can better yourself and be ready to re-enter the workforce when your child is at an appropriate age.

    1. I'm sorry you feel the need to judge other people; perhaps your life is not as fulfilling as it could be. I have no need to justify myself or my actions to some anonymous troll on my blog. Reading 2 or 3 of my posts does not make you an expert on my position; I hope you pay closer attention to your own.

  3. Wow! Anonymous person, I'm really quite astounded at your ability to judge and your inability to read properly! If you were to take the time to read this blog from the beginning, you would find a hard working, brave and clever woman who has overcome obstacles that some couldn't even comprehend. I'm not a benefits claimant, and I do have issues with elements of the benefits system, but to tarnish everyone with the same brush is not fair. Please be more sensitive.

  4. Oh dear.
    You seem to be mistaking judging for having an opinion. I'm not judging you personally, I don't even know you! I'm just expressing my displeasure at a post which seems to promote being on benefits as a lifestyle choice.
    Some people NEED to claim benefits to make ends meet, these are the same people that have to do without the very luxuries I mentioned previously.
    Benefits are there to help certain members of society to live, NOT to live comfortably. You complain you struggle to pay the bills, yet you still have broadband, smart phones, umpteen pairs of sunglasses, tattoos, etc. In fact one of your recent posts is about a yoga mat that cost £20! Life must be hard! I obviously don't know if you bought this yourself, was a gift to you, stolen, or blagged it for free another way. It's just another example of the point you fail to understand.
    I'm not going to re-hash the same things I've said over and over, if you want to take it personally, then perhaps you should find a new hobby other than blogging.
    I'm not 'trolling' you, this blog was brought to my attention at work, when a couple of my (like minded) colleagues showed it to me.
    I don't read it regularly, and have no intention of starting.

    I don't need to defend why I'm anonymous (or if my life "is as fulfilling as it could be"!), but what the hell. I don't have an online 'presence' anywhere, as it strikes me as a bit pointless, this is the first time I've replied to ANYTHING online and I've no intention to create one just for this! Why people would want the whole world to know there personal business is beyond me.

    But this isn't about me or even you, it's about the fact that someone can moan about the very system that helps feed their child, yet is unwilling to make any personal sacrifices.
    I'm sorry if this isn't sensitive, in light of the hardships you may have endured, we've all had our "obstacles we've overcome" but that is what's called life.

  5. How DARE you come to my blog and imply that I STOLE some yoga mat! If you bothered to read more than just the first paragraph of any of my posts you would know that the products you so resent my having were all given to me to review on the blog.

    Don't come here talking to me about personal sacrifices or how I shouldn't be blogging, or how being online is a waste of time. Go away and troll somewhere else.

  6. Whoa! I think someone needs a saucer of milk! Judging someone when you can't be bothered to read it properly and then hiding behind a computer to put your views across! People like you make me smile inside as I know I will never be sad enough to slate other peoples opinions and views. If you don't like it, don't read it. Suzi Senior.

  7. Anonymous u know absolute jack shit about this single mother.... she is a wonderful single mum who hasnt abused the system she trying so hard as a single mum I suggest you fuck off

  8. Anonymous I suggest you fuck off u know jack shit!!

  9. Anonymous, you have assumed that she became pregnant because she wanted too.. Have you not factored in that she might have been raped or something awful like that, and kept the baby because of her morals or on religious grounds. There are many factors for people becoming single parents, such as abusive partners and even death of a partner, so before jumping to conclusions perhaps one needs to be fully in touch with all the facts.

  10. Hi Anonymous, you seem to be very quick to judge. I worked with this single mum for a number of years when she was a full tax paying member of society. Just because she needs a hand up, not a handout, you feel the need to pigeon hole her along with everyone else on benefits. Each case to be judged on its' own merits I say... it doesn't take much for life to change so dramatically and we could all be in the same position. I would say get back in your box but there isn't one marked bigot to hand. :(


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