About a month ago, I started working. I am a contractor doing IT support for a Charity in Central London. This means I have had to give up claiming Employment & Support Allowance and (temporarily) Housing Benefit. I was paid on Thursday, after tax, NI and the cut the umbrella company takes out for providing their services, I am left with £1,196.58.
The day I started working I claimed Tax Credits, only they have decided I am in some way dishonest, so their compliance department have asked me for bills, bank statements, tenancy agreements, etc. I don’t know what the hope to find, its not like I have a few million stashed away *cough*…
This is a breakdown of what I was getting when I was claiming benefits and what I am getting now. Note that bills does not include Electricity (which I pay for on a key meter), Food or Travel.
Income from benefits:
|Housing Benefit||£ 960.00|
|Minus Rent||£ 741.40|
|Minus Bills||£ 500.11|
Income whilst working (without Tax Credits or Housing Benefit)
|Wages after tax||£ 1,196.58|
|Minus Rent||£ 451.18|
|Minus Bills||£ 209.89|
I don’t blame my local council for waiting until they have the evidence they require (2 months of payslips) before they will pay the housing benefit I am entitled to, after all they are just following the rules that the government set down. However, tax credits are a benefit specifically to help people get back into work, and here I am a month into my job and I have no money because they are wasting time and money investigating me when I have done nothing wrong.
Fortunately I am fairly happy at the moment and I have supportive family and freinds, so I will probably make ends meet, just. This will mean cheap shopping trips, sandwiches every day and no Starbucks…