Parents Financial Mistakes

I am currently looking for a little bit of advice about a complex and rather frustrating financial situation I have ended up in. I was a university student and I finally graduated. The plan was quite simple and that was to move back home, find a job, save a little money and hopefully move out as soon as possible. I had purposefully saved around £900 from my student finance so that when I returned home I wouldn’t be a financial burden to my mother. When I returned home I told my mother that I should apply for universal credit as that was what I was entitled too whilst I was unemployed. My mother had a strange reaction and forcibly told me not to apply for universal credit. She said that I had my savings I had enough and soon enough I would have a job.

It made very little sense to me at the time but it just wasn’t worth the argument. During that time period I began looking for jobs and attending a few interviews but was unsuccessful. Around January my savings were running low and so I brought it up to my mother that maybe it would be best to now apply for universal credit. That is when it became clear what her incentive was to dissuade me from applying. It turned out that my mother had not updated her circumstances. She had not informed the council that I had been living at the property. Her benefits should have been recalculated the second I returned home but as she didn’t register me it never happened. I then did my own calculations on what the changes would be to her entitlement and it turned out that her deduction would be around £40-£50 a month. This would be a result the removal of her single adult occupancy council tax deduction and the fact that she would no longer have to pay bedroom tax as the third bedroom was no longer empty. Add into the equation a non dependent deduction.

She had purposefully stopped me from applying for UC because she was fearful of this deduction. Had I received my UC i would have given her that money immediately every single month so that she wasn’t a penny worse off. At this time period I had been living at the property for 6 months and so my mother would owe 6 months of backlogged £40-£50 deductions.

I explained to her that this was firstly benefit fraud and also financially stupid. Surely if you were going to commit benefit fraud you would make sure that it was financial beneficial to do so. I told her that she needed to register me at the property so that I could register and then out of my UC i would pay back her overpayments. It turned into an argument and she never registered me and refused. I couldn’t go behind her back as I am living under her roof but no matter what I said nothing would sink in. My mothers actions have actually saved the council more money and put us into a worse financial situation. Since September I have been entitled to around £260 per month which means I have lost out on around £3000 in UC. We have saved the council £3000 all the while we will now owe them al that backlogged deduction money.

By March the entirety of my savings had ran out and my last job interview was a complete shambles. I was now unable to even afford a single bus journey let alone a full months worth of travel to a job. I purposefully had to cut out jobs from my search which were too far away and as such I have only been able to look for jobs which are walking distance. I really don’t know what to do at this point. I have a job interview tomorrow which is looking promising but if this falls through I can’t keep going like this.

If you are over 18 you don’t have to do what mum tells you!

Hi James.

I’m sorry but I don’t see that there is any advice anyone can give you.

Legally, you know what should have happened and what the result has been. If the DWP and council have not yet been notified of the period you were there prior to claiming, then legally you are just as responsible as your mum for putting that right.

That will cost your mum more because there is an automatic fine of £50 involved, assuming the DWP do not decide to prosecute as you’ve come clean on the matter. I don’t know if councils have the same power over council tax issues.

What I would do though is ask at the DWP next time you attend the Jobcentre Plus about what help there might be if you get a job outside of walking distance, etc. They used to do small grants for that sort of thing to help people start work.

I don’t have any advice about the situation with benefits etc because this is beyond any knowledge I have.

It seems you are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Firstly, your interview today, relax, breathe.
Look upon it as you sussing them out as future employers, do you want to have them as your boss?!

The interview is what your focus is on today, why you want that job, what you know about the company, what you can bring to the job. Be confident, you are young, fresh, keen and raring to go.
Remember interview skills, not past disasters. It’s not easy with those stony faces not revealing anything to you by way of showing if you are doing well.
Be wary of silence, don’t try to fill it with saying too much, say what you need to answer and leave it, if they want to know more they will drill you/ask.
It is tough without experience, remember you are offering potential and all that you bring with that.

Nothing else matters until after that.

After the interview you need to look at getting a local job you can do, bar work, coffee shop, supermarket etc
Something to earn money so you can save up for travel for your career job.

Preparation for future interviews/promotions
Do this tonight or tomorrow if you haven’t done already
Write down the questions asked today.
Then whatever you recall from other interviews.
Write answers.
Keep it in a file and add to it through your career.

Good luck today.
Be Awesome.

All that Charles said.
Also when you start earning money, your also have a priority to pay your NI - national insurance stamp because all this time you have not been working or getting benefits your NI contributions have not been made, this will affect your pension. You currently have 3 years to pay that money. Pay it off as quick as you can so it isn’t forgotten and you aren’t regretting a financial mistake at pension age.

You can check your arrears here:-

I hope you soon get your career job, save up and move to your own place.

A big rule and lesson in life is not to reveal your savings or salary, also never a borrower or lender be, because you need to pay your NI arrears and save up to find your own way out there.
Keep your finances under wraps, even to family.

Hindsight is the best sight of all, but it doesn’t sort it out.
If only you’d had the clarity and discovery of the facts at the outset this would not have happened but that isn’t helpful and I have no knowledge about this so I can’t advise you.

As far as the Housing Benefit concerns mum had, I would suggest that you rang our Carers UK helpline. If you had claimed a DWP benefit you wouldn’t have been expected to pay much.
Is mum disabled, receiving a Severe Disablement Premium. If you claimed Carers Allowance then she would lose that, because YOU were entitled to the money, not her.

Can you tell us a bit more about mum?
I always worry about sons and daughters not being allowed to grow up and be an adult because of a narcissistic parent.
Mum is probably incapable of change, so either you let her control your life forever or you escape asap!