Meg T on 12 November 2020
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Q. Do you have deductions taken from your benefits?
Q. What are you having deducted and what impact is it having?
I took out a budgeting loan last year for the sum of £800 to help out with family finances. Having had one before, it takes approximately 2 years to pay off. My deductions are taken from my employment support allowance. I am in the support group because I am disabled and unable to work. Without deductions, I would usually receive £113.55 per week; £227.10 paid fortnightly. Normally prior to the covert pandemic payment holiday, I would have £11 per week/ £22 per fortnight deducted to pay back the budgeting loan and therefore receive approximately £200 per fortnight. This was manageable. However I currently receive £180 per two weeks, which is making life a little more difficult. I presumed they've increased the deductions to ensure the money is paid back in time with the loan schedule. What I hadn't noticed until you had asked the question, is that following the payment holiday which was given to me without being requested, my repayments are now approximately £57 every two weeks i.e. £28.50 per week. That is all over a 100% increase! Because it is taken off at source, I hadn't really realised what was happening. So it's making a big difference to my budget, which is compounded by the fact that prices have increased in the shops, I am having to buy in bulk when I can especially now that panic buying has resumed with lockdown 2 and because I am shielding is as I am clinically vulnerable I'm now having to pay extra for grocery home delivery. Having recently paid off my debt management plan from StepChange the debt charity, I thought I would be at least better off. I am not. A case of one step forward two steps back. It's soul destroying, especially as I worry about getting into debt again. I would have much rather the DWP continued the payments at the current rate and not imposed a payment holiday because I was managing. Now I'm starting to struggle - again. Its never ending, all consuming and it grinds you down. So despite doing permitted work, I'm still no better off.
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