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Easy Mistakes Made Easier With Universal Credit

This morning I went for a walk before stopping off at the post office; the last best hope locally for cash as we can’t have nice things like cash points in villages without the likes of Tesco. I had checked my bank balance over the last couple of days since doing my shopping on Wednesday to see if the debit card payment had cleared. Even though I’m not particularly stupid I find keeping track of card payments a pain given how each interaction can take its own sweet time to clear, regardless of venue. It seemed I had about £24 more than I thought – quids in! I had even considered going to town (not cheap on the bus at all). I treated myself to a baguette and a caramel slice yesterday from my good fortune!

After about five minutes I suddenly realised why I had that extra money – that was next week’s shopping budget. Had I gone out today, on top of yesterday’s culinary extravagance, I would have spent a few quid I would likely have irreversibly spent money better off saved.

This is how easy it is to make a mistake accounting on benefits. Fortunately for me I have relatively few expenses and can make a few quid last a bit longer even if it means foregoing expensive bakery luxuries. Had I spent money today it would have come from my rainy day amount which, if I ever really needed it, would soon disappear.

A simple oversight based on a fortnight’s money like this could be a lot more catastrophic for someone with more expenses, perhaps from dependents or caring responsibilities. This can only be made much worse when Universal Credit comes in; fortnightly payments will be made monthly. This is something that people like Iain Duncan Smith and his attack dogs will never understand.


  1. People who advocate for monthly payments under UC say people in work are paid monthly, so paying claimants the same way will help them get into the "world of work". One problem is thousands of people in work struggle to make ends meet over course of a month - even on what appear to be quite generous salaries - and have to resort to payday loans to survive.

    Wonga and the like must be salivating at the prospect of monthly payments of Universal Credit...

    1. I bet Beecroft or whatever his name is can't believe his luck. Under this government he must think all his birthdays have come at once. The mountain of debt he will have overseen will be grotesque, which is bitter irony considering how much the tories lambasted Gordon Brown for the debt bubble labour were supposedly responsible for.

    2. One more thing I must say is my Dad was always paid weekly, right up until he retired in 2008. He was on a modest wage (though still more than the NMW) but the fact he was paid weekly made things much easier for us as a family.

      Not everybody in work gets paid monthly, in fact I don't know when this idea became accepted wisdom.

    3. I imagine monthly payments are the work of accountants and payroll staff.

  2. I worked for Royal Mail for two years and was paid weekly - being paid 52 times a year made things a hell of a lot more manageable than being paid 12 times a year. Especially on a low wage.

    1. I can well imagine. Now people are suddenly forced to adopt this because 'its like the world of work'!


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