I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of April. I made a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, and was put on Universal Credit. I had to wait until 10th June to get a payment of £238. I still have all the bills I had to pay before losing my job, so I wonder how people cope, as I can guarantee that I’m not doing so well. I guess one benefit is that I don’t have to pay for my prescriptions.
Going through the benefits system has been nothing short of traumatic. I have been patronised, spoken down to and treated like a sub-standard human. I have asked if I know how to look for a job, been told that I shouldn’t be overdrawn and given incorrect information time and time again.
I have been in work since I was 16, so I know how to look for work. I am not uneducated, and I’m certainly not scum, so why do employees of the DWP feel it necessary to treat me this way?
From speaking to other people, this is common practice. It’s almost as if we a taking money from their own pockets.
At no point have I been offered any kind of support.
The benefits system is seriously failing people with mental health issues.
How can Stephen Crabb (Secretary of State for Work & Pensions) even imagine that the system is fine how it is?
When information and support is deliberately withheld, how can this be a good way to run the system?
For instance, I read about budgeting support. I’d quite like that help. I was given a leaflet from Debt Advice. If you ask, you can have your benefits paid bi-weekly, but you have to know about this in the first place to be able to ask.
Universal Credit is meant to ‘reflect the world of work’, but I was paid weekly, all my bills were set up weekly, I budgeted weekly, so how does that system help me? The amount of Universal credit is roughly what I earned per week, so far less than minimum wage.
I honestly wonder if the system is set up in such a way that they hope to kill off people with mental health issues. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Maybe Mr Crabb doesn’t realise how this affects someone with such an illness?
Let me enlighten you.
I already mentioned having exactly the same bills now as I did when I was employed full time. You start getting threatening letters because your bank account is overdrawn, you get phone calls from people wanting the bill paid. As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, you dread the phone ringing, you don’t know what to say to them, so you ignore it. You don’t know how to deal with it. You feel helpless.
You try to eat a healthy diet because you know it helps you feel better, but you can’t afford the good food that you could when you were earning, so instead you start living on pasta and sauce and cheap ready meals. Your stomach constantly feels bloated and you feel sick. You feel lethargic and even less inclined to leave the safety of your bed.
You can’t go out anywhere because you can’t afford the petrol. You certainly can’t afford to socialise unless you’re being paid for, and that causes feelings of shame and guilt. How can you replay them?
You dread your bi weekly visits to the job centre to be judged by someone sat behind a desk, tarring you with the same brush as those ‘benefits cheats’. The dread starts a few days before your appointment, and when sat in front of the guardian of the money, you bite back the tears as they decide if your attempts to find work in a place where no work exists were up to their own standards. You want to yell and scream, but you turn into a tiny, quiet little mouse. You just want someone to help, but know it’s not likely here, and you have no idea where to turn. They’ve beaten you down.
All the while, those with the power to make a difference put in their expenses forms whilst you struggle to get by on the pasta and cans of beans you had left over from the last time you were able to do a proper food shop.
I wonder if Mr Crabb will read this? I wonder what his thoughts are?
This is why I want to move. I want to make a better life for myself, but how can I even make that happen when I can barely afford to feed myself? It’s a never ending spiral of worthlessness, failure and shame.
I wonder if Mr Crabb would like to donate? He could always claim it back on his expenses…
Please consider donating to my Go Fund Me