Don't be fooled by their cutesy gifs. Between the bedroom tax and universal credit, being on benefits introduces a whole load of complications to our love livesby Grace Fletcher-Hackwood / February 14, 2018 / Leave a comment
Happy Valentine’s Day! In case you missed it, yesterday the Department of Work and Pensions marked the occasion by tweeting out a reminder to let them know when you fall in love, lest they lock you up.
Over the years I have had to advise countless people that the DWP considers their personal lives its business.
You know how more and more divorced couples have to stay living in the same house for years until one of them can afford to move out? It sounds like a nightmare. Now, imagine the visit from a compliance officer checking that you’re in separate bedrooms.
And then there was the woman whose neighbours accused her of benefit fraud every time her kids’ dad came to visit. And the woman who couldn’t move away from her abusive ex’s family until she’d paid off the rent arrears that built up after he put her in hospital. And everyone who nervously asked me “How many nights am I allowed to stay at my girlfriend’s flat before we’re living together?”
One woman said a compliance officer told her that “You’re not allowed a boyfriend if you’re on benefits.” My first instinct was disbelief: surely he didn’t come right out and say that?
But, of course, he did. Benefit payments come with a whole list of things you’re not allowed to have. Like a spare bedroom, a third child, a real work experience placement, or enough money to cover private rented housing.
Time at home while your kids are small? That’s not for you, you need to get a job. Get any job. Spend 35 hours a week looking for a job. Not that job, a job with more hours. Now that’s too many hours, so you’re not entitled to any help.
Claiming to be living alone is one of the most common types of benefit fraud – don’t ruin #ValentinesDay by failing to declare your true circumstances https://t.co/tZuNYZ5fer pic.twitter.com/ahutOO6NUy
— DWP Press Office (@dwppressoffice) February 13, 2018
So it makes sense, in a sad and twisted sort of way, that you’re also precluded from so many aspects of relationships that others might take for granted.
Taking time to work things out with the father of your children? Nope. Letting him sleep on the sofa so he can see the kids in the morning, because thanks to the bedroom tax there’s no room for them at his place? Nice try. Taking things…