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Reform Magazine | December 16, 2017

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I am… on universal credit

I am… on universal credit

‘If it wasn’t for my kids, I might have killed myself. This system is just horrible’

I waited nine weeks for universal credit. They told me they didn’t get the form they needed, so I sent it off again. Then they sent me another one to fill in, and it just carried on like that. It’s sorted now, but it took so, so long.

For nine weeks I had to rely on my mum and some friends, just doing what I could to get by. It’s a nightmare and I’d rather be back in jail – really, I would.

I’m getting depressed all the time. When you ring the benefits people and ask for some support, you’re told to talk to the council, then the council refer you back to them.

I live now on £91 a fortnight. How can you live on that? I don’t. I have court fines to pay, and some rent goes out. I have old bills to pay. Between £15 and £20 a fortnight goes out for gas and electricity, then £20 on shopping. I just have to shop in pound shops and try to get offers.

I’ve been out of jail for about six months, but with this universal credit I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want owt for nowt but I have nothing to pay with. In my flat, I haven’t got a washer – all I’ve got is a rug and a telly. I want to get my basics but everyone says there’s nothing they can do. The jobcentres tell you to ring the council and the council tell you to ring them. I don’t understand how I can get help.

Some people say: ‘Foreigners get this and that.’ So they should, I say – they’ve come from nothing. But I want a little bit of help as well.

I lot of people have been hurt now from universal credit. I feel like I shouldn’t be moaning. I don’t like to, but they’re not giving people what they should…

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This is an extract from an an anonymous column supplied by Church Action on Poverty, and published in the December 2017 / January 2018 edition of  Reform

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