agencies, agency, austerity, collection, debt, disability, disabled, earn, employer, hospital transport, low, minimum wage, national, NHS, pay, pension, poor, sick, tax credits, Tony Blair, working, zero hours
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.
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