Feeling overwhelmed

Hi. Thanks for stopping and reading this. Looking at many of the posts on this site, my circumstances aren’t so bad. But I’m struggling with feeling stuck in circumstances and don’t know how to move forward. Any advice or wisdom would be very gratefully received.
I’m a single parent to two teenage boys on the autism spectrum. My eldest is 17, also has adhd (inattentive), dyslexia, OCD and a chronic sleep disorder. He gets enhanced pip. My other son is 14, also has dyslexia and GAD, and was awarded middle rate care for DLA.
I currently work part time in a school. It used to be full time, then dropped over time as our circumstances changed. Then last year I had to drop down to 16 hours a week as my younger son was struggling with anxiety leading to school refusal and I had to drop him to school and pick him up when other kids weren’t around.
My eldest son looks likely to redo his first year of A levels (school suggested it and I agree) as he has struggled so much this year as his educational support needs have changed/increased as has his anxiety, and of course lockdown didn’t help as he’s unable to work at home.(rigid ASD thinking)
I’m dreading September as I’m always rushing around trying to fit everything in, attend meetings, avert crises, often late to work (which I find very stressful), and I’m aware that my eldest son will need my support even more this year. He sleeps terribly, which means my sleep is impacted every night.
To cut to the chase, I’m considering stopping work for at least the next two years to support him as I’m making such a hash of trying to work and care. I’ve checked out Turn2uS - their benefit calculator to see if its affordable. I think so. But its the other stuff. We privately rent. I’m not sure how my landlord would take the news. Also, if he ended our tenancy I think we’d be in a more unstable predicament to get another property if I’m not working. Then there’s the 5 week wait for the first payment. How have other people managed? Its such a big decision, and I’m so tired and worn out with being on duty 24/7 that I can’t think straight and I’m worried I’ll make the wrong decision or mess it up.

Hi Mimbles,

I can see why you are considering giving up work, but life on Universal credit is hard and jobs are like gold-dust so also consider what would make juggling working and caring easier and explore those options too.

Do both your sons have an EHCP?
Your younger son might qualify for transport which would take that pressure off you.

If you do decide to stop working: You would be paying your landlord direct from your Universal credit (if you are in a universal credit area) so as long as your landlord was getting his rent on time each month, I do not see how it would be an issue. You would however need savings or a UC Advance payment/ loan to pay him for the first payment whilst waiting for your money to come through.

Have a look at the Upfront Guide too https://www.carersuk.org/upfront/


Please be careful before making a life change decision. You are tired and could make a wrong long term decision. UC id complicated process and when things change so it does. You could become more frustrated.


Shelter could be a good starting point.

You don’t state your age - would you pension be effected. As you are payed by local Government and these jobs are hard to find and keep. If you feel in a few months you did the wrong thing. Would you school have you back etc.

Thanks for the responses.
Yes, both of my children have statements (we are in Wales). My youngest son would be able to get transport for school, but he cant access it due to anxiety. It may cause more problems than it solves.
I am 51.
The point I’m getting from both of you is that life on UC is hard. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’m not sure what might help. Maybe help with cleaning? It would be one less thing to think about. The main stressors are the mornings, late afternoon and late night. My shopping routine has improved during lockdown so I think that will save me some time. And yes, I do worry about making a wrong decision. I didn’t mention this in my post initially, but I think a part of me is also worried that I may be at higher risk of Covid 19 working in a school, and then we’d be totally stuffed if I was poorly. I’ve (like most of you I’m sure) cared while ill (with shingles, cambylobacter food poisoning, etc) but its hard, isn’t it.

If you were younger I would possible think UC an option. But if your future changed you would be some what OK to find work again However, given the fact women now have to work to 66+ I think you maybe 68. The virus situation has hampered many people future plans. Have you had a needs assessment for you and the children. If not I think this should be your first port of call.

Work also gives us our sanity and your son’s are teenage. And even given their disabilities could become less or more unmanageable. It’s hard for us to start again. But given their difficulties they should also be able to access services/supported accommodation of some kind.

Also, have your thought of getting on to a social housing list. So at least you would have a more secure future accommodation.

Are neither of your sons having any schooling??
They are entitled to appropriate education until they are 25. When I had trouble getting my son sorted out, IPSEA were incredibly helpful. It is vital that your sons grow up and learn to be as independent as possible. Residential college is the answer.

So, if I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that UC is probably not appropriate at my age? My thought had been to retrain maybe for something like book keeping (numbers are my thing rather than words).
You mention a needs assessment. Is that through the local council?
My work doesn’t really give me sanity, not this one at least. But I hear what you are saying.
Does anyone know how could I find out if my eldest would be able to access supported accommodation when he is a little older?
We have been on the social housing list for around 12 years, but it could be another few years before we get to the top according to the letter I received.

Yes they are both in school. But my eldest has been struggling with A levels as the pace of the lessons are causing problems along with other things. He was reassessed just before lockdown and his needs have changed and so his support needs to change too. Its a work in progress, but I’ve just applied for a new statutory assessment for him as I think the last one is not fit for purpose. But he’s unlikely to go further than A levels, so I will possibly try to find an appropriate apprenticeship for him.
School also recognise that he’s struggling to become more independent, and will continue to work on that.

My younger son does slightly reduced days, 9.15-2.45, but is in school, and feels safe in his placement now.

It’s not necessarily an age issue.As a situation issue UC can/is helpful in many different types of situation. Good for some not necessarily good for everyone. People report how little they receive financially. That why an online benefit check is a good idea. Although until a live application is done for UC - no one can answer if the figures will be the same. The calculators are only a guide.



Thanks for those links, Sunny. The needs assessment was very useful. When you say “Please report how little they receive financially”, I’m not too sure what you mean. Please could you clarify?

Bear in mind with universal credit that the advance payment that some people ask for is merely a loan.

Sorry, it should have said… people report how little… I have changed the text to read correctly.