Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Feeling controlled.

Hello again everyone! I know it's Tuesday, not Monday and that this post is coming to you late. I am sorry about that but yesterday was a bit of an up and down day for me due to a phone appointment I had in the morning.

I will make no secret of the fact that I am on Universal Credit and receive monthly benefits. I have been on it since Vala's father and I separated, making me a single mum. When Jordan and I moved in together, he was added to my claim but now we get significantly less because he is in full time employment. We've no issue getting less each month and honestly, we'd rather not be on it at all. However, Jordan's income covers all the bills and half the groceries but doesn't leave anything for the kids or savings or the full month worth of food. That's why we're still claiming. The little I get goes towards anything the kids need, family activities, savings and the other 2 weeks of groceries. Getting off Universal Credit is just one of the many reasons Jordan is looking for a better paying job.

Now you're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up and that is because whilst I'm on Universal Credit, the DWP likes to think it can control my life and yesterday I received a phone appointment from a work coach. The rules used to be that I wasn't expected to seek work until my child was 5. It's changed now to 3. The work coach was informing me that once Flynn turns 3, I'll be expected to seek employment or they'll stop my benefits. She then told me that once Flynn turns 2, they'll be wanting me to put Flynn in child care and working voluntary jobs and earning a little....basically jazzing up the way of saying "we expect you to be employment when Flynn is 2 not 3." This has upset me greatly because I have had the next few years of my life planned out, as you all well know from my "5 Year Plan" blog post several months back. That 5 year plan included us trying for baby number 3 next year, which has also not been a secret to this blog.

My goal for the next few years was to return to study doing an Open University course whilst being a stay-at-home mum, expanding the family and raising the kids. The Open University course will take 6 years (part time) which would see me finishing roughly around the same time that baby number 3 would be starting nursery. After completing the course, I was considering getting qualifications to be a Teaching Assistant and then seeking work as a TA once baby number 3 starts full time school. Of course that plan might be altered if there's a baby 4 as well in that time but at the moment, I'm not expecting the chance to have more than 3 kids (even though I've had my heart set on 4 kids since my little sister was born).

I'm upset because I feel like my plans/goals are being pulled from my grasp. The DWP doesn't want me being a stay-at-home mum and raising my kids like my mum did. They want me to palm my 2 year old boy off to a child care worker while I work. If I don't do what they want, they sanction us and take away the little extra money we currently need to get us by each month with a bit of savings. Of course, once I start studying, our Universal Credit claim will be terminated, which is fine but again, I can't go into study until Jordan is earning more to offset the difference. I can get student finance but it's substantially less than what we currently get on Universal Credit. My plan is to try and start the uni course next January but that can only happen if Jordan gets a better paying job before then. If I start uni, I get my life back without anyone forcing me to put my son into care and me into work. I hate that I'm feeling controlled again. This is my plan and I won't have some random people telling me that I have to put my son into care and go get a job rather than studying and raising my own damn kids!

Sorry, as you can tell, the phone call really got to me. Jordan is going to work me with and a few other people to create a Personal Progression Plan for himself so he can improve his chances of getting a better paying job and therefore allowing me to follow my own PPP of returning to study and raising our family before starting a career. His support means the world to me and honestly, I don't know what I'd do without him. After Vala's father and I separated, I had no life and no future. He had controlled me for so long, I thought there was nothing more to look forward to in life. Now I have a future that I'm working towards and I won't let anyone tell me I have to do things their way rather than my own way! Things may get a bit rocky for a while as the work coach wants to call me every 3 months to make sure I'm doing what she tells me to do but hopefully come January, I'll be starting a English Literature and Creative Writing Bachelors degree from Open University. Fingers crossed! We're so desperate to kick Universal Credit in the backside for good.

Until next time,
Alli xo

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