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Reform Magazine | November 15, 2019

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I am… not fit for work

I am… not fit for work

Martin Green on being deemed unfit for work

I have been assessed as ‘not fit for work’, so I don’t have to job search. I have a degenerative spine condition. I don’t get any extra payments for travel to hospital or doctors’ appointments, or anything like that. I have some good days, where I can move around, but movement still causes pins and needles, and pains in my neck and arms. I also suffer from anxiety and depression.

I get £892 a month for me and my son, who’s 17. It would be £1,092, but I have deductions coming out for debts. When I started on universal credit, I had a five-week wait, so I had to take an advance of £400 and pay it back at £33.75 a month. When I was on jobseeker’s allowance, I was paid fortnightly and was able to manage money a lot better than I do now that I’m paid monthly.

The amount I get paid in benefits is never enough. In a good month, I can go food shopping but there’s never anything extra left over. If I need a new pair of shoes for example, I need to take money off what I have for food.

Usually, I have £60 a fortnight for food, for me and my son. I just snack; I don’t eat proper meals. I sometimes go all day without eating. If my lad is out with his mates, I will sometimes not eat. If I can keep food in the cupboard a bit longer, that’s another day of survival…

Martin Green attends Elim Church in Halifax, West Yorkshire

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2019 edition of Reform

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