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Bebefit system refit Your suggestions pleas

Personal, as I've posted before, the important thing is to get the balance between though who are blatantly scrounging off the system v's thoughts who have fallen on hard times and are using it as a temporary measure to get themselves back on their feet.

I was in a strong relationship (or so I thought) for 2 years before deciding we would try for a child. It was agreed because of the nature of my ( then) partners work ( submariner) it was best for me to give up work to care for the child full time, as this was socially and ecomically the best thing for us and the child. The relationship then lasted for a further year after the child was born, before it broke down and the father left the flat we had been renting and paying for.

I have worked since I left school at 16 to 25 and paid tax and national insurance during this time, as well as voluntary NI contributions while not working during maternity leave.

I have been claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit, I only actually get my income support as cash, which amounts too approx £60 a week, this is actually less that my full award but deductions are made for a community care grant (used to finish my council flat with curtains, carpet, sofa, cooker (all brought second hand)), Voluntary NI contributions and water rates.

I don’t have Sky TV, Cable, and internet or smoke, I drink occasional. I don’t own a car and buy most of mine and my Childs clothing second hand. I do not own car ether. My mobile phone is a nokia 3330 which is one of the first ones ever to come out, it was brought second hand for £20 and is a pay as you go, I spend about £5 a week on it.

Instead of going back to work in my old job, I have decided to go back to college to retrain, this is mainly because of the unsociable hours of my last employment ( NAAFI) and the belief that I can make a difference to people lives. I could have quiet easily found another low pay/status job but felt that this wasn’t the best way for me to provide family and break the chain of reliance on the state.

Once I go to university I will no longer claim income support and will have to claim for maintenance grant like every other student the only difference being mine will be slightly higher and I will only have to pay back a certain percentage.

I spend about £25 pounds a week on food, I try my best to buy the best quality I can afford, a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, processed food are off the menu as best as possible with a small child. I spend £10 a week on gas and electricity, and at least another £10 on transport to and from college and twice a week to my voluntary work at the Sea cadets.

Yet I’m still made to feel like vermin for claiming benefits, people speak down to me and judge me because of it.

I’ve said before I feel that people should only be paid benefits for a small amount of time,

If they are doing training like me, it should be for a recognised HE course, basic skills (reading, writing etc) or for a useful job at the end of the training, doing AS media studies, pay for it yourself then. Also benefits should ( like the EMA) only be paid if you are making satisfactory progress and have good attendance, currently all I do is go once a year tell them I’m doing my course and that’s the end of it, no check is made.

Currently you are a single parent you are only asked to look for work/ do a training course if your child is over 14, this should not be the case you should be encourage to do them as soon as your maternity leave ( say a period of 6 months like working people) is up. However a radical overhaul of childcare provisions will really make this a reality

Only a small amount of ‘disabilities’ should prevent work, mandatory day centre attendance should be put in place for all thoughts claiming incapacity benefits, independent doctors and occupational therapist should make assessment of these peoples claims every month not every 6 months to a year like it is currently. Apart from the really obvious illnesses and disabilities that prevent work. Drug addicts and/ or alcoholics should have to attend weekly checks and only allowed their tokens (see below) if they are shown to be clean, these should be done at random with the power to visit the persons home. One missed check should equal and automatic ban from claiming for 3 months.

Secondly all benefits should be paid in a token or ration style system; Utility companies should be allowed to make claims directly to social services for gas and electricity used.

Food and clothing, petrol or and bus tokens should be issued like the old fashioned rationing system, a basic allowance each week, with the chance to save up for anything outside this allowance with in reason.

Sorry for the longness of this post but hope it will help people be better informed about the system as well as reasons why change is needed.
Womps you are doing all you can to improve your position. Social security was meant for this. On the completion of your university course hopefully you will be able to once again become a tax paying member of the public. Eventually you would have paid back any benefits that you have been given.
I do hope however this ex is paying towards the upkeep of his daughter, too many men expect to have their cake & eat it. this leaves the rest of us paying for his cake.
Where the system is falling down is when young girls get pregnant and think that it is then their god given right to be supported for the rest of their lives.

Good luck with your course.
I should add to Womps comment that 90% of people with or who have suffered from mental health problems and gone on to benefits never get the opportunity to work again because of discriminatory attitudes by employers - including the civil service.

clearly you are trying your best to improve the situation you find yourself in and I for one wish you every success with your course and future employment. It is a shame and unfair that someone like you is tarred with the same brush as the many scroungers who do abuse the system.

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