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'A single mum who relies on Universal Credit to top up her income as a part-time dinner lady is challenging what she says is the government's "irrational" welfare scheme.

Danielle Johnson, 25, from West Yorkshire, said: "I have never been this financially unstable before."

Together with three other single mums, she is claiming in the High Court that the new payment system disproportionately affects single parents - most of them women.

UC is a means-tested benefit.

It rolls six separate benefits into one payment and has proved controversial almost from its inception, with reports of IT issues, massive overspends, administrative problems and delays to the scheme's roll-out.

Lawyers acting for the women will now argue there is a "fundamental problem" with Universal Credit, which is likely to affect "tens of thousands" of people claiming benefits, caused by a "rigid, inflexible assessment system".

Ms Johnson, like many employees, is paid on the last working day of the month.

However, her monthly Universal Credit assessment periods are rigidly fixed, running from the last day of each month.

This means that that if she is paid before the last day of the month and payment day falls on a weekend or non-banking day, she is assessed as having been paid twice that month. As a result she receives less benefit and is short of money the following month.


Ms Johnson said: "I'm doing my best working part-time to make ends meet so that I can look after my daughter.

"I have never been this financially unstable before, to the point of being unable to afford my rent and having to go into my overdraft when buying food.

"It is getting me into a vicious cycle of debt," she said.

Ms Johnson's lawyers, Leigh Day, said Ms Johnson was about £500-a-year worse off and struggled to budget in months when she received no benefit because of the way the system operated.

Claire Woods, another single mother, said wildly fluctuating income from month to month has forced her to turn down a promotion, use a food bank and incur debts.

In a previous job working for a County Council, Ms Woods was paid at the end of every month which would clash with her Universal Credit assessment period.

As a result, she lost money, couldn't meet her monthly outgoings and lived with the anxiety of a fluctuating income.

When the council offered her a promotion, she knew the payment clash would remain, so did not take it up.

"I had to go to a food bank and I took out an advance that I am still paying back," she said.

"I took two jobs - as a PA and a waitress - which I could do without the education I invested in, but which had paydays which don't clash with my assessment period.

"I invested £40,000 in higher education studies so that I could become an occupational therapist and it's great that I've got my degree but I have had to put my career hopes on hold because of Universal Credit."'



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22 minutes ago, One percent said:

dear God delusional.  Have these people never heard of budgeting?  FFS, the rest of us have to do it and without any handouts from the sap taxpayer.   working

There are some obvious problems with UC.

However, the biggest problem is that the UK benefits are paying too much to too many working age people.

The comment:

'She said was working part time to try and make ends meet and look after her daughter, but the system meant she wasn't better off if she went back to work.'

Thats the problem with having benefits that pay out at such a high rate - they have to come from taxation.

For comparison, heres a recent article of he US EITC - the US tax credit system, which Brown used as a basis for the UK tax credits.


'Analysis from the Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think-tank, finds that it boosts the income of around 28m Americans every year, lifting 9m of them above the poverty line. A new working paper finds the programme might be even better than was previously realised, because it costs so little to administer.


Although the EITCis generally well-regarded, it does have some kinks. A single person without children can only receive benefits if they earn less than $15,270 a year, or roughly the federal minimum wage. They also can only receive up to $519. By contrast a parent with one child can receive up to $3,461. A single parent with one child can claim benefits if they earn less than $40,320, while a couple with one child can claim benefits if they earn less than a combined $46,010.'

The requires at least one parent to be working 40h/w.

Earn more than about ~30k and the benefit stops. (UK its about 35k,).

The actual cash top up - or tax credit is .... drum roll ...... ~2500/year. Thats ~£200/m.

28m is about 10% of the US population.






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55 minutes ago, One percent said:

dear God delusional.  Have these people never heard of budgeting?  FFS, the rest of us have to do it and without any handouts from the sap taxpayer.  

Ah but the 26 year old in question has no doubt 'paid into the system all her life'. Only fair she now draws out several thousand a year in bennies after a 'lifetime of paying in'.


Edited by crashmonitor

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