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“My rent alone takes up 95% of the benefits I receive, but my family are stuck here... until we’re made homeless.” Challenging poverty in a time of COVID

22 December 2020
I am a widow and solo parent, who lost my husband, leaving two young children. I have been affected by multiple changes to the benefits system. I’m both affected by the benefit cap (which limits how much I can receive, irrespective of my family’s needs) and penalised for having an extra bedroom. My rent alone takes up 95% of the benefits I receive, but my family are stuck here in high rent accommodation until we’re made homeless. Because of the benefit cap, I’m not eligible for the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit – a one-year increase intended to help people at their time of greatest need, during the pandemic.

Capped in the New Year

22 December 2020
An estimated 35,000 households on universal credit (UC) - mostly families (77%) - will have their benefits capped in the New Year because they lost jobs or earnings to Covid-19 in March and their grace period has now expired, new analysis from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) finds.

New survey shows deteriorating living standards for low-income families as a result of Covid-19

14 December 2020
Low-income families with children are even worse off now than they were in the summer, the latest Poverty in the Pandemic report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England shows. Nearly 9 in 10 families report a significant deterioration in their living standards because of the pandemic – up from 8 in 10 families who responded to an earlier survey between May and July 2020.

170,000 households hit by benefit cap

26 November 2020
Official figures out today show the number of households subject to the benefit cap has reached 170,000, an increase of 8% since May 2020. Most of the increase is in London. The cap limits the total amount of benefits low-earning or non-working households can receive.

New research: the Cost of a Child in 2020 shows need to keep ‘Covid-19 bonus’ in universal credit and tax credits

29 October 2020
The Covid-19 temporary £20 per week increase in universal credit and working tax credits has enabled some low-paid working families with full-time jobs to get close to – or even just above – a minimum acceptable standard of living (or MIS, a no-frills, but adequate standard of living ), new research for Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows.

'We honestly didn’t know how to survive'

18 September 2020
My name is David. I'm married with three children. I have worked several minimum wage jobs from care worker roles to handyman of a restaurant chain (I am now furloughed). I’ve had ongoing mental health problems and although I'm still medicating I feel I have beaten depression largely and my anxiety is more manageable. I am right now affected by the two-child limit and benefit cap - this alongside a stressful transition to universal credit has caused much stress to both my wife and me, putting a strain on our relationship, generally leaving us wondering how we are going to survive at times. 

NEW SURVEY: the toll of lockdown on low-income families

25 August 2020
Coronavirus has left low-income families struggling with a significant deterioration in living standards and high stress levels a new report from Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England finds. Families who responded in July and early August were even less optimistic about their financial situation than those who responded in May or June.

Mind the Gaps: Social security during the pandemic

21 August 2020
We have seen a significant government response to the financial hit many have faced because of the coronavirus – from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme to the increase in universal credit (UC) and tax credits. While many families will have benefited from the stability and certainty these welcome interventions have given them, they have not been comprehensive. We are always most worried about the people who fall through the gaps.

Covid-capped

06 August 2020
Number of households hit by benefit cap doubles since Covid-19 - many families hit by wage drops and loss of benefits.

Benefit-capped working mother wins test case against DWP's irrational universal credit rules for assessing earnings

20 July 2020
A working single mother on universal credit (UC) has today won a test case against the DWP's approach to calculating earnings in UC which left her benefit-capped – and up to £5,000 worse off per year – purely because her employer paid her four-weekly rather than monthly.