The reality of the Coalition’s crackdown on tax credits

Nothing more to say: This Tax Credits advert was intended to warn people to keep up-to-date with information they send HMRC about their Tax Credits claim; now it seems the message is much simpler - they want to stop paying you anyway.

Nothing more to say: This Tax Credits advert was intended to warn people to keep up-to-date with information they send HMRC about their claim; now it seems the message is much simpler – they want to stop paying you anyway.

A guest blog by ‘Mimismum’.

What follows was posted to Vox Political as a response to Tax Credits and Debt Collection Agencies: Peachy’s Comment. It details the facts of the situation for just one struggling family and as such was worth a larger audience than it would have received as a comment on another article.

This government scares the s**t out me. I don’t know how much more stress I can take now. It has gone beyond anything like “austerity” or “in it together” rhetoric and is now a witch hunt against the poor or low earners, sick and disabled – even going as far as blaming us for our own predicament.

We have seen our family income go from £800 from my other half’s wage back in 2009 to just under £350 now, due to successive redundacies. He works and has never had any unemployment in the past 12 years, and yet each time he calls tax credits to say there is a change in our income they lower the award (ha! thats a rich term for it now, its garbage to call it an award) based on his predicted income, even though its gone down and down.

Last year he worked overtime for two weeks, got paid an extra £20 in the month and they hammered us by cutting his Working Tax Credits by £30 a week for the entire year! He recently got made redundant again and is now working two temp jobs (one of which is zero hours) and he has got hours bouncing around all over the joint. Family life has been shot to s**t, and when he rang Tax Credits to tell them they just said, “Oh well, as long as it’s over the 24 a week you are okay.”

Today they shoved some money in the bank. He rang to ask what the hell it was for; they can’t tell him because “We haven’t had the renewal paperwork in.” For goodness’ sake, we just wanted to know what this extra money is, it’s not rocket science! The guy refused to tell us!

My other half had to use it to pay bills because his wages were short due to the zero hour contract job changing how they pay wages now – because of that stupid pension scheme c**p the government forced on everyone. Even though he already has one from his previous job, this company took money for their pension and said they wouldnt pay into his! Oh, and because his old employer forgot to send his P45, he had to pay emergency tax as well!

We can’t do this any more. The stress of him working two jobs, my disability, and having children is driving a wedge between us. One of our children has autism, and I am struggling to maintain a routine that they desperately need – and I can’t. The other half is now on National Minimum Wage for both crappy jobs; both want exclusivity out of him and now keep rostering him on during the other job’s time. Both knew he had a second job when they took him on, and now we find out that tax credits can send debt collectors and bailiffs around for money they say anyone owes, just like that.

I wish to god Tony Blair had not invented tax credits, because it gives employers a get-out clause for paying decent wages. I can’t get hospital transport fees out of the NHS for trips I have had to make and even though they were claimed within the time allowed – no payment has been forthcoming because “it’s too late now” for them to pay out. I have another appointment in two weeks’ time which I have to cancel as I cant get there, because my other half can’t take time off work from either job – and my physio is about to strike me off for the same reason.

I am sick of this mess; we dont deserve this, and if we find out Tax Credits have overpaid us as well I don’t know what we would do. We have an income of less than average and we pay our own rent; we don’t claim Housing Benefit because the council stuffs it up and we get into arrears so we manage on our own.

We claim less of what we are entitled to because I am scared they will want it back, and now they are playing this game with tax credits.

I don’t want to be punished any more for being disabled, a parent or married. I have had enough of being poor and scared. All I want is for my other half to have a decent job with a decent wage, and there is nothing out there now.

No jobs, nothing, and it’s getting worse.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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18 thoughts on “The reality of the Coalition’s crackdown on tax credits

  1. jeffrey davies

    yet once again you hammered by our government yet how many many are in this situation you bet very many working and being made to look like they are the problem they state they wished tblair hadn’t come out with this so did I but its their mess yet we pay I was lucky whilst I was working over a set period they said I owed around 1or2thou which because I had asked like these people whot its for they just told me enjoy it lucky I hadn’t and saved it yet they asked for it back paid it back but 1or2yrs down the line I had that pay back again 6thou this I went to cab for advice but half way through the discusions my cab advisor left and I had that letter Friday Monday debt collectors coming to the house yet again I paid and asked please don’t send any more please yes a right royal cock up by that smilling calvalier tb

  2. Peachy

    I am so sorry you are having to deal with this, it’s appalling. I presume you know about the entitled to calculator which can tell you what you should get in Tax Credits? I can see parallels between us- I am a carer, and two of my kids have autism and one is awaiting a likely diagnosis (already has a statement). If I can help, an I have almost completed an MA in Autism, do shout- Peachyclair on Twitter). Setting up the business was a response to redundancy. We share it would seem strong family work ethics but enough bad luck that we were thrown into some vulnerable group that the mainstream politicians like to dismiss as unworthy. Except for the years upon years they were fed by our taxes, of course!

    I AM glad TC’s were invented because without them we wouldn’ have managed to set the business up and I seriously doubt hubby would have found another job being over forty and in a high unemployment area. however I can see exactly where you come from, and I wanted to send you hugs and sympathy.

    1. mimismum

      Thank you Peachy. Its nice that someone else understands about autism, its been impossible to get help here. Our child only got diagnosed last year, with the help of school who insisted we had the ASD checked out. I adore all my children,and only want the best for them, and resent it when I see news papers and commentators say that people on benefits shouldn’t have children if they cant afford them, thing is, when we had them, we could afford them. I dont know if my child would be best of being statemented or not, judging by the horrible discrimination going on towards the sick and disabled, right now I’d say not, if we can stay under the wire and maintain education and care as best we can, I hope that will get through without.. Tax credits have kept us in clothes and food and housed but I would much rather my partner had a job and got paid what he is worth,at the moment he is treading water hoping something better comes along.

  3. jaypot2012

    This coalition is killing people and making people stress so much that not only are partnerships breaking up, but children are in poverty, our country is in poverty and mental health problems have rocketed due to the stress and strain of trying to live on very little money, or non at all.
    Why are the people letting this happen? Why are the opposition not doing anything?
    Welcome to the new early 20th century.

      1. bookmanwales

        I have to disagree with you on that statement, “doing all they can”. Apart from a few recent whispers about axing bedroom tax and freezing energy prices Labour’s main focus has been on reassuring people that they will be as “austere” as the Tories should they gain power in 2015.
        A failure by most Labour MP’s even to vote against the welfare reform bill because “it was going to happen anyway” shows a lack of any effort by the opposition.

        Labour have the media clout and financial backing to make very very public the lies made by IDS and co regarding welfare and employment prospects, sanctions, WCA and other reforms but choose to stay vitually silent.
        Where are the big tv interviews telling all and sundry of these lies and falsification of statistics ? Where are the radio interviews about the real number of jobs available ? Where are the newspaper reports on the deaths attributed to the WCA ??

        All I have ever seen in the numerous interviews is Labour trying to defend itself against claims it is the party of the working class, something at this moment in time they seem to be deeply ashamed of.

  4. Rachael

    I found out years ago not to bother with part-time work while self-employed. The year prior to taking a p/t job, my turnover was X amount but the following year, it dropped significantly so I took a p/t job to support my s/e earnings. Result? Combined income was less than the previous year (when I got 100% housing benefit) but my housing benefit was reduced to nothing.

  5. Leoni Al-ajeel

    This is a terrible story i really feel for you. It is a waste of time claiming tax credits, i got a letter saying i owe £997 and must pay it back, and where they get this amount from i do not know, you ask for an explanation but never get one, its seems they all hide under the umbrella’s of the Tories and they do not need to explain to you. Its the same if you claim any rent, you get letters out of the blue saying you have had an overpayment and must pay it back, and same thing again you have no idea why or how they come to these decisions.

  6. mimismum

    Thank you for allowing my comment. I would like just clarify that when I said about not receiving the tax credit paperwork and thats why tc wouldn’t, answer my partners enquiry as to why they had paid money into our account, I meant, that WE haven’t had it in the post yet. The new financial years claim for us isn’t due until august, so I don’t know when we will get it.. I dont know why the man at hmrc wouldn’t tell my husband whether it was an end of year payment or underpayment or what, he just kept saying we needed to read the review pack paperwork before they would talk to us.Husband said he would be happy to do the review over the phone but the hmrc man wouldn’t do it this year. Its very worrying, we have no idea what its for.I am scared of a mistake being made.

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