Following on from my “Reformed into Desperation” post, after reading the tedious media articles about over paid benefit receivers .. I set to with good old fashioned pen, paper and calculator and crunched some numbers.
Starting with the hypothesis of someone over 21 years old, working 40 hours a week, for National Minimum Wage, during the current tax year they can expect to earn £12,225 gross [6 Apr 2010-30 Sept 2010, 21 weeks @ £5.80 plus 1 Oct 2010 to 5 Apr 2011, 31 weeks @ £5.93]. This equates to £10,359 after Tax and National Insurance deductions, that is £863 per month, £769 per 4-weeks or £199.22 per week.
Surprisingly, with the same scenario, a single person, not disabled, with no children but over 25 is entitled to Working Tax Credit of £451 across the year, the Taxman is going to give back some of the tax he already took. That is an additional £37 per month, £35 per 4-weeks or £8 per week. Don’t forget the added bonus of help with NHS costs and free prescriptions and potentially help with Council Tax costs. Which instantly begs the question does this imply that the National Minimum Wage is too low to provide a minimum standard of living?
Adding the wage and tax credit together we bump up the average Joe’s minimum working take home income to £10,810 for the year … that equates to £900 a month, £831 per 4-weeks or £207 per week.
Boogled yet? You should see my scrap pad!
Now then, what do I get as a medical retired disabled woman of a certain age. The Incapacity Benefit for the year is £5,077 and it is taxable, I receive a small occupational pension of £2,382 for the year and that too is taxable. My annual taxable income is therefore £7,459. Which after the statutory deductions equates to £7,095 per year, £591 per month, £545 per 4-weeks or £136 per week.
But as a crip, I have this wonderful addition to my income for ‘help with care’ and ‘help with getting around’ called Disability Living Allowance. The Care Component has three levels and the Mobility Component has two. Effectively this equates to £5,070 per year, tax free, designed for me to spend on living a more independent effective life.
So my annual income figures are £12,165 … £1.031 per month, £935 per 4-weeks, £233 per week. Not a great deal more than Average Joe’s work related income.
And the Government wants to move incapacity Benefit recipients to the new lower Employment and Support Allowance, and reduce the number of people receiving the DLA!!
Now for the figures from the delightful Department of Work[house] an Pensions.
If Average Joe lost his job and had to claim benefit and he/she was aged 25 or over they would receive an astounding £65.45 per week, but they would also receive Council Tax Benefit worth on average £70 per month and Housing Benefit which effectively pays the rent fully in a majority of cases.
As a crip with only Income based benefit but someone getting Carer’s Allowance for caring for them 35+ hours a week, they would receive £83.45, plus the help with Council Tax and Housing Benefit as with Average Joe.
Two areas immediately have blaring sirens and flashing lights a going.
Average Joe with his potential £209 a week, is supposed to be able to find somewhere to live [good look finding anywhere under £100 a week!], supposedly the Government wants everyone to put into an independent pension fund [out of what?] and also save for the future, for something like a house deposit [shouldn’t take that long to get to the £15k/£20k recommended] but don’t hold out hope for a Bank to give you any mortgage, as well as feed, clothe and pay the utility bills. Does thin air go well with ketchup?
Average Ms Crip [such as me] with my exorbitant £233 a week is supposed to fund alterations to my own home [grants rarely cover all the costs], purchase specialised equipment that comes at a specialised price, pay high fuel costs to keep warm or get from A to B to attend all those oh-so-helpful medical appointments, pay for back braces and foot splints, fund annual spectacle bill of a couple of hundred, pay cleaners/carers to do/help with the things I cannot, spend cash on food items already prepared as I cannot ‘safely’ peel potatoes or chop carrots etc, pay delivery costs to get needed items to my door as I cannot fetch and carry them … … being an independent disabled adult comes with a premium and a damn expensive one at that.
Don’t get me started on the financial world of carers …. well you might but that is for another day ….. my calculator is steaming and my head is aching, I have earned a coffee, I found some pennies down the back of the sofa so I can afford to boil the kettle and make one.
I’d sell my body but even medical science rejected me!