Most Claimants Worried about Welfare ‘changes’.
Enough to Worry about already.
Following the recent post on Universal Credit, which showed a wealth of reasons why people have real fears about Universal Credit, we see this report.
Three In Four Benefit Claimants Worried About Future Welfare Changes
Low-income households fearful that further welfare changes would leave them struggling to pay for housing, food and other essentials.
New research by the national charity Turn2us has found that almost three-quarters (73%) of low-income households claiming means-tested benefits are worried about future changes to the welfare system.
This figure was highest amongst those who are unable to work due to disability or long-term illness, with a huge 90% concerned about welfare reform. Significant changes to the benefits and tax credits system are taking place over the next few years.
Worryingly, nearly two-thirds (64%) of households said they would feel more stressed about their financial situation if their benefits were to be cut or reduced, whilst over half (55%) fear they would have to cut back on food.
Furthermore, over two-fifths (43%) said they might struggle to pay their rent or mortgage, and one in two (50%) are concerned they may get in to debt.
Over half of families (54%) said they would struggle to provide for their children if receiving less support.
One of the research respondents said: “I just about cope on the benefits I receive and have had to cut down on every expenditure. I have no idea how I would cope if the benefits were reduced or taken away and would feel despair.”
Another said: “I am a full-time carer for my mum and have so much stress and worry on a day-to-day basis. The benefits we receive help me manage and without them I don’t know what we would do.”
Claimants also expressed uncertainty over Universal Credit which is being introduced gradually to replace six means-tested benefits for working-age people. A third (33%) said they feel unsure about this new benefit because of negative stories they’ve heard in the media.
We note that these are not “stories” but based on accurate reports about the utter mess than Universal Credit may well introduce.
Welfare Weekly says,
Turn2us.org.uk – has a free and confidential Benefits Calculator that reflects the latest welfare changes, so that anyone can check their current entitlements and how to make a claim.
These include sections titled:
- Check benefit entitlement.
- Search for a grant.
- What’s your situation?
Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us says,
We would urge anyone who is worried about their situation to visit our website where they can find the latest information on benefit changes, and check their current entitlements. Anyone who thinks they might see a reduction in their income can also use our free tools to see if they might be eligible for any additional support.”
We are sure this is well meaning, but with the threat of further austerity adding to the already obvious signs that Universal Credit is riddled with problems, getting proper advice is not going to solve everybody’s difficulties.
Or indeed, solve the basic – rational – causes of the worries the report indicates.
These range from the waiting time for the UC claim to be processed, fears about paying rent, and, last but very certainly not least, the sanctions regime.