‘Universal Credit rules meant I couldn’t pay for my son’s dinner’

'Universal Credit rules meant I couldn't pay for my son's dinner'

‘Universal Credit rules meant I couldn’t pay for my son’s dinner’

A unmarried mum on Universal Credit used to be informed her receive advantages can be stopped if she signed up for a path “to better herself”.

Sian Baker, who suffers from epilepsy, used to be referred to as in for a gathering to speak about her declare for task seeker’s allowance ultimate January, after her temp task ended.

At the time she used to be receiving £360 a month in Personal Independence Payment (PIP) advantages – which she mentioned made the entire distinction.

“But when I went in to talk to them they informed me task seeker’s allowance now not existed and that I used to be being moved onto Universal Credit. This appeared effective, however then they mentioned my PIP receive advantages used to be being withdrawn.”

In panic, Sian mentioned she requested group of workers why it used to be being got rid of – to which they responded she obviously did not want it.

“When they referred to as me for a gathering on the well being review centre, they informed me I may just deliver any person in with me – however now not my Eight-year-old son.

“So my oldsters stayed at house to seem after him – which meant I needed to pass in by myself,” the mother from from Southend-on-Sea mentioned.

Sian used to be then informed that as she used to be ready to wait the assembly by myself, she used to be able to operating independently.

“Because of my epilepsy, I’ve been struggling,” she informed Mirror Money.

Sian’s situation seriously limits the varieties of jobs she will do. “I can’t work in places where there’s strobe lighting or a lot electricals. Stress is a main trigger so I have to be careful about the type of job and tiredness is another trigger, so it’s difficult for me to take on shift work,” she defined.

Before making use of for task seeker’s allowance in January 2018, Sian used to be operating as a temp buyer products and services guide at The Range.

This then ended, which ended in her preliminary assembly on the task centre.

After her assembly, Sian used to be driven onto Universal Credit. Her PIP receive advantages used to be withdrawn, which meant she’d obtain £594 a month to hide her expenses, fundamentals and son’s bills. That’s identical to £7,128 a yr.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - 'Universal Credit rules meant I couldn't pay for my son's dinner'
The mum of 1 used to be informed she may just now not declare PIP as a result of she appeared impartial sufficient
(Image: MirrorPix)

“I then found a job last summer – but I wasn’t able to stay on as there were some health concerns related to the electricals and lighting which would have cost too much for them to change,” she defined.

But she did not surrender hope.

Armed along with her Universal Credit bills, Sian began researching jobs she’d have the ability to do completely – “I wanted to find a real career,” she mentioned.

“A pal presented me to a hairdresser that will permit me to coach as soon as every week in alternate for an NVQ qualification on the finish of it. It used to be a quick monitor path that will price me £200 a month [it was unpaid], however I noticed it as a excellent funding for me and my son, so I took it.

“I enrolled myself and after a few weeks organized a gathering with the task centre to allow them to know I used to be doing one thing to higher myself – I sought after them to grasp I used to be making an attempt.”

But that is when all of it went flawed.

Sian mentioned the task centre employee informed her she now not certified for Universal Credit as a result of she signed as much as the path – she used to be informed it could be stripped with fast impact. It used to be because of be paid in six days’ time – cash they mentioned she now would not obtain.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - 'Universal Credit rules meant I couldn't pay for my son's dinner'
Sian and her son, now Eight
(Image: MirrorPix)


“I had six days to find a lot of money, my bills were coming in and I didn’t know what to do. I was completely trapped,” Sian mentioned.

“I used to be actively taking a look for jobs round my path however I may just now not have enough money new garments for my son, no college uniform, I couldn’t sleep and even if I did – all I had used to be nightmares.

“Stress and sleep are triggers of my seizures and I used to be nervous my well being used to be in peril – I used to be all for what would occur to my son.

“I did not know what to do, I most effective sought after to higher myself.

“It felt like they have been forcing me to hand over the path and keep in a lifeless finish task – however I had no thought how lengthy it could take me to even discover a task which meant I had no cash indefinitely.

“I’m going back into depression and my son’s birthday is next month. I have no money for it and had to explain that to him which made me feel worse as a mother. I wasn’t going to be able to feed him when the food runs out.”


Sian raised her issues with the task centre within the six days that adopted – and used to be in the end informed she have been misinformed.

“They mentioned I should not have been informed my advantages can be stopped – as an alternative all I wanted used to be to have my source of revenue reassessed.

“I did this they usually informed me I wanted a letter from the hairdresser to give an explanation for that they were not paying me. I went out to get that letter and confirmed it to them right away.”

Then issues took some other flip for Sian.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - 'Universal Credit rules meant I couldn't pay for my son's dinner'
Sian says the gadget is failing the very other folks it is in position to toughen
(Image: Sian Baker)

“I used to be informed to go browsing and signal all of my paperwork to turn out my bills, however the Universal Credit website online used to be down – and time used to be working out. I ended up calling the helpline who controlled to lend a hand me conform to the entire bureaucracy at the telephone.

“It used to be terrible, I couldn’t pay for my path and I couldn’t pay for my son’s dinner. I used to be having a panic assault at the telephone. I in point of fact did not know what to do.”

Sian has since been put again on Universal Credit and her bills are again to standard – £594 a month – however with seven months nonetheless to move on her path and most effective £300 a month to survive, she’s nervous about her circle of relatives’s long term.

“I suppose Universal Credit is failing the very those who want it probably the most,” she mentioned.


“£594 is sufficient to survive at this time, however that is most effective as a result of I reside at house and do not pay hire. I spend £200 on my path, £150 on residing bills and expenses, and the remainder on meals for me and my son.

“I have not were given a penny left to avoid wasting, and because being rolled onto Universal Credit I’ve needed to take out an overdraft and spend all of my financial savings to have enough money to reside.

“Ever since I began on Universal Credit, I’ve been overdrawn. The worst phase is that I am nonetheless task searching, and if I am fortunate sufficient to discover a one-day every week task, I will probably be penalised for it, with my Universal Credit bills happening consequently.

“I all the time sought after to be impartial, however I’m nonetheless residing at house with my oldsters – and whilst I really feel positive that issues will get well, I’m now not stuffed with hope.

“At the instant, I cannot finances, costs are emerging and I have the specter of my advantages happening on my shoulders.

“The gadget is solely failing other folks.”

A DWP spokesperson informed Mirror Money: “We have supported Ms Baker as she has moved out and in of labor over the last few years, serving to her pursue self-employment as a dog-groomer and a masseuse, and offering further paintings trainer toughen when asked.

“Currently she receives nearly £600 every month to lend a hand with residing prices – as she lives along with her oldsters she has no housing prices.

“Ms Baker’s Universal Credit used to be now not suffering from her becoming a member of her present coaching path, however there will have been some preliminary confusion about it being paid paintings. This has now been cleared up.”

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