Universal credit child care fees don’t work and that’s why I took the government to court over it.
Tomorrow I found out if my case was successful.
It all started when I quit a part-time job at Citizens Advice in 2018 to take a full-time job with the Housing Association.
I loved the job. I was making more money and was able to give my daughter the life I wanted.
But I quickly realized how difficult it was to get help with childcare costs.
Parents who work on universal credit can claim up to 85% of child care expenses.
You get £ 648 for one child and up to a maximum of £ 1,108 for two children.
This money is paid in arrears, which means that you must have the money saved to pay it off initially.
I got £ 2,000 debt with payday loans
For me, the biggest problem was during school holidays.
Every summer I had to find thousands of pounds to prepay for childcare.
If you are a single parent, you will know that there is no chance that you will have hundreds or thousands to spare at the end of the month. It was impossible.
I have heard parents struggle in a similar fashion to write to my column for The Sun, where I answer readers’ questions about Universal Credit.
In order to juggle these costs, I started paying other late bills.
I took unpaid time off during the holidays and borrowed money from my family.
Eventually, I turned to payday loans to try to get out of it.
I ended up owing over £ 2,000.
I just couldn’t go on. I had to cut back on my working hours so that I didn’t have to pay so much for childcare.
It is so unfair that low income families, especially single mothers like me, have to prove that they paid for child care before they have the right to claim it.
“It’s so unfair. I had to do something”
It seemed completely irrational to me.
I was so frustrated and it seemed so unfair. I had something to do.
I spoke to Save the Children, which was already asking the government to run the daycares, and spoke to lawyers Leigh Day.
They had previously worked to challenge the rules on disability benefits under universal credit and the changes to the evaluation period.
The Sun has also called for a change in the rules since December 2018, as part of its Make Universal Credit Work Campaign.
But the government still has not listened.
In November, we took the fight to the High Court and tomorrow we know the judgment.
I think the rules are discriminatory and irrational and I want to help ordinary families or single parents like me.
If the court rules in our favor, it could help 500,000 families.
I am not asking for money. I’m just a hard working, supportive parent.
I just want people like me to get the help they need so they don’t have to turn down jobs or cut hours because of a simple schedule on when child care is. paid.
You can follow Nichola on Twitter – @SalvatoNichola