Today marks the start of my fifth week in work. I think. To be honest it's all a bit tiring and I'm no longer sure. I love my job, but will that be enough? And did I mention the tired?
What I do know for sure is that my benefits stopped on March 10th the day I formally started work. Since then I've applied for tax credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit. There is a four week run on of Local Housing Allowance so that has continued to go into my bank account. But that's it. No tax credits. No letter acknowledging tax credits claim has been received. No wages til later this month. Oh, and no way of talking to anyone at tax credits to check they have got my application, just a recorded message explaining they are taking a minimum of five weeks to process claims and won't talk to claimants until after that time is up.
This is why people end up with payday loans or go to foodbanks. There isn't another way.*
If I make a genuine mistake filling out a benefits application I get fined £50
But if I were a Cabinet Minister, a former Minister for Disabled People, who had pushed through these cuts affecting disabled people and working people...
*Please don't worry - I have friends who are in a position to lend me money until wages and tax credits start properly, I won't have to go to a food bank or payday loan company. But how many people have friends willing and able to lend them hundreds of pounds for an undefined amount of time?