Universal Credit: ‘The Truth’. An Anonymous Account

This individual wished to remain anonymous, but really wanted to share their experiences of Universal Credit:

I started claiming for Universal Credit in November 2018. I was reluctant to claim, as I did not want to be viewed as a ‘scrounger’.

I could not continue without support, as I had reached destitution – I required urgent assistance.

I contemplated suicide a few times, to avoid becoming a societal burden but primarily due to the issues which led to my destitution in November 2018.

I applied for state assistance at the beginning of November, but was informed I could not receive a full payment until mid-December 2018.

I was reluctant to apply for an ‘advanced payment’ as I was informed that it was a loan. I could not afford to accumulate more debt. But, I eventually applied as I was desperate and could not afford the necessities for living. I applied for one-hundred pounds, to help me survive until I received my payment – but the amount I borrowed was set to be deducted from my payment in December 2018.

My payment eventually arrived and I was immediately short on funds again. I was loaned money from friends and family in small amounts. I struggled to repay everyone.

It is even more difficult to find a job due to my autism and I was initially expected to attend group sessions and places I struggled mentally to cope with, but I am now given a bit more leniency. I raised the issue of my autism at the outset, but so many fail to understand my thoughts and feelings.

I wanted to live with my partner, but if I did this (to minimise costs) I would lose the majority of my support, as the state will judge me based upon the income of my partner of almost two years.

I was forced into this situation abruptly due to issues with my studies and this was all unexpected and unprecedented. I feel that I require emotional support, but cannot access it and I also feel awful for becoming a societal burden.

I am struggling to find a job due to my situation and this is exacerbated by the emotional state I was left in – in November 2018. It takes so long for benefit applications to be reviewed and I often cannot afford to wait for these outcomes – as I have also applied for Personal Independence Payments.

My autism leaves me worrying and struggling to engage in daily activities. I am not sure about anything anymore – I just hope I can have someone to assist me with these difficulties. I cannot keep placing the burden on my partner and loved ones – I hope I can get assistance from the NHS.

It is even more problematic that I have to sign a tenancy agreement before I am informed about any possible entitlement for rent support – a system which could leave me in severe debt or homeless.

Money is tight and my thoughts are low. I want help and support. I wish that mental health services would be well funded and supported – I hope I can access counselling and/or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

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