Making a difference… improving homes, communities and lives

Helping a Working Mum with Universal Credit


WorkingmumResident Joanne worked 25 hours per week on a zero-hour contract but despite putting in the hours, her low wage wasn’t sufficient to cover her bills. As a result, her rent was in arrears and debts were building up.

Tenancy Sustainability Officer, Uzmah got in touch with Joanne to offer support with her escalating debts. It transpired that Joanne was unaware that she was able to work and claim Universal Credit, so the first job for Uzmah was to help with her first online claim.

Joanne’s son was also living at the property but wasn’t working or claiming after being advised he wasn’t eligible for Universal Credit. The reason he’d been declined was that the name on his birth certificate didn’t match the name he was actually using. The two of them were also occupying a 3-bedroomed property which meant they were subject to Bedroom Tax. It transpired that a bailiff was already pursuing her for Council Tax arrears.

It was great news for Joanne when her Universal Credit claim was granted. The payment would cover her rent as well as £60 toward the repayment of the arrears. An application for a Discretionary Housing Payment was also awarded which paid out £500 toward her Council Tax arrears and also her rent.

Due to the changeable nature of her work and pay, Uzmah showed Joanne how she could check her online journal every week to work out how much Universal Credit she would be receiving. She could then contact us to pay her rent using her bank card to avoid getting into arrears again.

Her son has since been successful in securing a job and has changed his name via deed poll, so he can now contribute to the bills as well. Crucially, Joanne also managed to agree an affordable arrangement with the bailiff to repay her Council Tax arrears. We are very pleased with the progress made by both of them to turn their financial situation around.