In this old blog post, I was terrified of UC.
Recently, my youngest son became stressed out and ill, then left his college course. Which has caused a devastating loss of income.
I have found myself with only £15 per week Tax Credits until April, then it goes up to the grand total of £53 per week. Stop that champagne shower now!
So I previously set up a fundraiser on Facebook, and friends kindly donated enough to help for a couple of weeks, which was some relief.
I considered it as payment for this blog post :-)
It's now November, and we're still waiting for Universal Credit. He has now spent the last EIGHT MONTHS with no income due to not being given enough or correct information, and the difficulty of being of a generation so tech savvy, but apparently not tech savvy enough to work out how to navigate a bureaucratic nightmare that is the digital by default Universal Credit application.
See my previous posts about Grantium being unfit for artists.
The CSA have also written off a debt owed by my sons' absent father that would help to pay my Hellish energy bills.
I have ever-mounting debts, I have had to take a break from a zero hours contract non-arts job meant to provide an additional income, for my sanity, but I am now poorer working than in all the years I was a single parent struggling on income support, and we are all worse off economically because of austerity.
So do not believe any politician that tells you that austerity is "improving the economy", because that is a lie.
UPDATE - COVID 19
It's now May 2020. We finally got some help with the hated Universal Credit in January, and I returned to my hated non-arts job very reluctantly, despite the fact that it gives me imposter syndrome.
Thank God we did before the Coronavirus pandemic has forced me to stop that. I'm on furlough. Working tax credits have increased, and my son's Universal Credit has increased.
I was hurtling towards my overdraft limit, and there was nothing I could do to stop the financial car crash.
The DWP had tied a brick to the accelerator.
Finances have now started to stabilise to the point that debts aren't perpetually spiralling upwards and out of control.
Sales of work and a commission at Christmas helped.
What help have the arts offered?
A Grantium application!!
I was just starting to return to profit, with the first funded workshop in February funded by Carers_FIRST, and I was about to plan some more.
But obviously, I can't do that now.
HMRC had told me I didn't need to do a tax return, as my profits were less than £1k. Not enough to claim any self employment relief, of course, because there are always stupid rules to prevent anyone from ever earning above a pittance.
The care crisis has just gone into superdrive, and all there is is clapping.