Saturday, 30 January 2010

Is my child about to be financially penalised?

I've just received a letter from the Child Support Agency, telling me how much the Foca owes me and how, because I'm on income support, I must inform Jobcentre Plus of the amount I receive.

I did this last year, when I got a letter saying I was getting the full amount and I was committing benefit fraud if I did not do this.

It used to be that I'd get £10 of it a week. Getting the whole thing, this last year, as I've said before, has transformed our lives. I've been scared all year it's a mistake. The consequences of that doesn't bear thinking about.

The booklet I received last year is the same I received today:

If you or your partner are claiming income-related benefits (these are Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and income-related Employment and Support Allowance) or Pension Credit and you are also receiving child maintenance, you may not get your full amount of benefits.

We will aim to transfer the full amount of child maintenance to you within one week of receiving it from the non-resident parent. The parent with care will be allowed to keep the first £20 a week of child maintenance paid, before it is counted as income that will affect their claim for benefits.

My days of £40 a month, from the Foca's £70 weekly payments, I hoped was a thing of the past.

With income support of only £56 a week, raised by child benefit every one gets and child tax credits is not much. If they 'may' reduce the maintenance to £20 a week, we stand to lose £50 a week - the equivalent to my income support.

My God, my bills are so high. More than double that.

Hello poverty and debt, my old friends.

You may think it's right. People working might get less than me, after rent and council tax. Working single mums might get less than me, I don't know. Child tax is replaced by Family Working tax, it all depends on the salary, oh crikey it's so confusing.

Better off on benefits? At the moment, with my housing, I feel so yes.

I can hate the CSA, really I can but you might have got a sense of how the Foca treats me. Without it, I believe he'd use money to bully me. He doesn't like giving me money. I'd be as poor as the mothers who don't have an agreement with the CSA, whose Focas drink the maintenance.

So there, with the CSA, the Jobcentre, the Housing department, I love and hate the State simultaneously. I need them all but it's a difficult relationship.

Oh to be free.

Give me a flat though, then I'll get the job, then I might not be judged so harshly, like all stigmums, when I talk about money.

My stigmatised child is better off than many, or several, I don't know, children. Why don't politicians like that?

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