Universal credit this time:
Until last summer, Mike was a paramedic: 12 years of NHS service in a job he loved. But a freak back injury caused by helping a patient in the middle of a cardiac arrest meant he was forced to take medical retirement. His consultant calls his injury “severe lumbar disc and facet degenerative change”. For Mike, it means shooting pain, weakness, and legs that give out without warning. “Sometimes even lifting a part-filled kettle is too much,” he explains from the family home in Lowestoft.
Money is tight since he had to stop working and his wife’s wage as a teaching assistant has to stretch for them and their two teenage girls. But because they live in what’s already a universal credit area, Mike and his wife aren’t eligible for the family element of working tax credits – a bureaucratic reform that’s the difference between being able to pay the mortgage or not. If they were less than 30 miles down the road in Norwich, the family would be £550 a month better off. Instead, they’re maxing out the credit cards and reaching the bank’s overdraft.
Mike is frantic about finding money to pay for his multiple medications,
How much does someone unemployed and on benefits pay for his prescriptions?