How Barony helped me handled Universal Credit
Barony tenant Cheryl McWhirter tells how Barony helped her feel in control when she moved to Universal Credit.
"I moved to Universal Credit in May, just when I started part-time work.
“I have autism and I was really concerned about getting my head around what would be happening. I really didn’t want to fall behind on my rent.
“Before, my rent was paid straight to Barony but now I am doing it myself and I have to make sure I have enough to cover it. I saw a budget advisor, and we worked out what I needed to spend on the essentials – rent, food and council tax. One thing I learned was buying value range products – they are exactly the same as more expensive brands.
“I worried about it a lot. There was a six week wait for the first payment, which was really difficult. I relied on family and Gail got me a food voucher.
“Before I was moved on to Universal Credit, I was on Job Seeker's Allowance and was looking for work. I got a six month placement in a shop and got taken on after four months. I actually have more money in my pocket now, and I think Universal Credit encourages people into part time work. It just means that I have to keep an eye on my budget.
“My housing officer, Gail, helped me sign up for web self-service. It means I can keep an eye on my balance, keep track of my payments and speak to someone if I need to. You can get advice online and can talk and ask questions. I keep Gail up to date with what is happening with my money – every time things change I keep her in the loop. I also set up Direct Debit for my rent so I know it is paid.
“Gail has done so much for me. She has been so supportive. It is like having a really good friend as well as a housing officer.
“Everything has started to settle down for me now. I have had a lot of changes in the past three months – in my job, in my personal life and going onto Universal Credit.
“My advice would be to keep talking to people and get help. If you engage and take advice it can work out for you. It is a big commitment – it is me in charge now, but it’s much easier if you have people around who can help and Gail has been amazing.
"I feel more independent and confident now. I am in work and more in charge of my money. I can make plans for the future. I love baking complicated cakes and would love to go to college and study baking one day".
Thursday, September 06, 2018