Universal credit left stressed gran with ‘debt, tears and suicidal thoughts’

A despairing grandmother has battled suicidal thoughts and severe debt as a result of crippling Universal Credit .

Vivien Soloman, 60, has reached her wits' end by the cruel social security payment, which she says has left her unable to pay a debilitating debt.

The carer was told she cannot receive anything as her partner's pension counts towards the maximum household income they're entitled to under Universal Credit.

"I've been told I don't get any universal credit. Everything is zero. My partner is on a state pension and gets £158.99 every Monday and an attendance allowance of £340.

"We're over the limit. And once you go to universal credit, you can't go back," she told Wales Online .

"Before we used to get housing. It was £98.45 a week and I would pay £85 a month. The rest was benefit.

"I've applied for a discretionary housing benefit but they said it could take up to a month.

"I have rent arrears of £992.72 and have a notice seeking possession. They want £103.45 a week."

Vivien, from Tremorfa, Cardiff, recently received a letter from her housing association telling her she is nearly £1,000 in arrears and faces being forced out of her home after 24 years.

She and her partner saw their council tax bills jumped up by over double – rocketing to over £90 a month when she used to pay £24 a month.

That's on top of a maxed-out overdraft of £2,000, with bank charges of £35 a month, paying her sister £30 a month for credit card debt and still paying for her father's funeral after he died in April.

With no savings, she could not afford to pay it back, and admitted having suicidal thoughts.

Vivien, whose partner is a retired painter and decorator, felt trapped.

The nan continued: "I don't get sick money until next week. We just manage with what we've got here.

"I have a grandson who come every three weeks but you can't stay in all day with him.

"It's like I've fallen down and I can't get back up. I've done everything on my own.

"All I've done is cry, but I don't know what else to do. I don't know who else to turn to."

Vivien doesn't want to move from the house she loves.

She said: "Twenty four years and they want to throw us out? It's frightening."

"I have a lot of memories. I never had a problem with my rent before."

What is Universal Credit?

The Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit will encompass all of the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Added to the stress is the fact that she struggles to use a computer after breaking her wrist- an issue when Universal Credit is predominantly an online benefit.

"They're playing mindgames with my head," the mum said.

"It's just all the running around. They want something all the time – certain wage slips etc.

"They are a nightmare. I'm know I'm not the only one."

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