Benefits. I know a couple of things about benefits. Actually I know A LOT about benefits. In my previous roles I have provided information and advice regarding benefits as well as mandatory reconsiderations (appeals) and other matters pertaining to benefits like overpayments et al.
The welfare benefits in the UK is pretty generous and often, working a paid job will not net you nearly as much money. So, you can see the temptation in remaining on benefits. Please note this is a generalisation, but I have seen it happen more than once. For example, I do ‘better off’ calculations meaning-would the person be better off with or without benefits? It can go either way. Plus, if you are a single parent who does not work and lets say your child is disabled or suffers from a disability than you are usually eligible for even more benefits. There are SO many benefits. I have blogged about them before.
The latest benefit that has people acting all crazy is the ‘bedroom tax.’ Not too long ago, the benefit system had a massive overhaul-the government had to do something-the benefit system was radically changed as new benefits were introduced while others were amalgamated together while some were abolished altogether. People lost their minds. It has all calmed down a bit though.
Check this. I wont judge you if you are on benefits, everyone needs help from time to time. But so often, benefits can become a crutch and people subsequently remain on benefits. There is no incentive to work if someone is giving you money. Simples. Some people do this, not all people. Anyway, part of the overhaul by the government in terms of welfare benefits was the ‘benefit cap.’ Seems reasonable. And believe me you, it is pretty generous. The benefit cap is:
A limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you are working age. Also, the Benefit Cap will only affect you if you’re getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced. No deductions will be made from your other benefits because of the cap. This means that if you don’t receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your benefits can’t be capped.
How much is the cap? If you’re getting Housing Benefit, the cap is:
- £500 a week if you’re a couple – with or without dependent children
- £500 a week if you’re a lone parent with dependent children
- £350 a week if you’re a single person without children.
If you don’t receive enough Housing Benefit, the cap won’t be applied in full.However, some people could lose all their Housing Benefit, except for a nominal amount of 50p which will continue to be paid. Some people are exempt from the cap but I wont go into that/bore you.
I know it is a lot to digest, but thought you might need some background before I get to the crux of this. Enter Marie Buchan, mother of 8, who is also a single mother and without a job. She is jobless. Buchan caused a little controversy a while back as she insisted/demanded a bigger house so she could have a bedroom to herself. She got her wish. But is upset again and back in the news, here are the facts:
- Mother and children were given a bigger council house, one that had 4BR’s-those are hard to come by.
- Despite receiving £500 per week in benefits, she has fallen behind in her rent.
- Buchan now faces eviction (Eviction is a long process here in the UK, I doubt she will get evicted)
- Buchan blames the benefit cap for her current situation (as eviction looms)
Where do I start? Oh honey child, please. Please. Give me a break. 33 years old, 8 children, no job, rent arrears of 4K and now blaming the government-the same government that gave you the benefits along with the house. In short, you blame the government benefit cap for your situation. Oh my days.
I know what you are thinking, because I thought the same. And while Buchan has recently had a hysterectomy, she plans on using a surrogate to increase her brood. What the what?Buchan has said that she has looked for work but it is tough going, also once employers find out she has 8 dependants then ‘they don’t want to know’ which means they are not interested in keeping her on. Hmmm. Really? Have you lost your job due to your family size? Proof? Please take your proof to Employment Tribunal, mate. For real.
Her 4BR house
On Monday, a county court judge will rule on Buchan’s rent arrears. I don’t know what will happen, I am deeply interested. I mean anything can happen in Birmingham -I kid. English law is the same throughout the UK. I don’t know if the judge will evict her, making her homeless or intentionally homeless, as they say. Watch this space.