Claimants are facing the biggest cut in the value of their benefits for 50 years according to the Joseph Rowntree Trust (JRF). The fall is due to the government’s decision to only uprate benefits by 3.1%, in spite of the fact that inflation is projected to be  7.1% by the end of this month.  We’re asking readers to tell us how the increasing cost of living is affecting you.

The increase in benefits in April each year is based on the rate of inflation the previous September.  But this year it means that the uprating figure is based on the rate of inflation before the cost of living crisis took hold. JRF say that benefits were already at historically low levels and that this new real-terms cut will push an additional 600,000 people into poverty.

Worse may be to come, with predictions that inflation will hit 9% later this year, driven by further rises in energy prices.

Peter Matejic, Deputy Director for Evidence & Impact at JRF said:

“With living costs predicted to rise further this year, it is difficult to comprehend the logic behind a choice not to act to protect the value of benefits, thereby imposing the single biggest benefit cut of its kind in fifty years. The government has chosen to weaken the incomes of the poorest at the worst possible moment.

“A decade of cuts and freezes to benefits have left many people in our society in increasingly desperate situations, struggling to afford food, energy and basic hygiene products. Without urgent action from the government, the stark reality is that the situation could get much worse. The government must, at a minimum, ensure that benefit rises match the real rise in living costs as an immediate first step to protect people from hardship. Beyond this, the government needs to further strengthen our social security system, which was already woefully inadequate even before the cost of essentials began to shoot up.”

How is the increasing cost of living affecting you?  Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Suzanne · 2 months ago
    Can someone please give me some help I have been fighting this since jan 2019 all the way to upper tribunal now the dwp rep agrees that they erred in the law but what happens now its absolutely made my existence unbearable I just don’t know how they expect to survive I receive £218 a fortnight and with that and the fact I can’t afford my house anymore I’m going to end up on the streets because by the time they have taken I  am as confused and frightened as when all this chaos started 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    lucy winter · 2 months ago
    I am now retired and just have my state pension on top of PIP.  The minute percentage of increases to PIP and state pension compared to nearly 8% inflation now, has affected me in more ways than one! Firstly I cannot afford to fill my car with petrol, so I am very isolated.  I cannot walk too far and cannot cycle and there are no bus routes near me!.  I am sure I am not the only person who feels totally dismayed and isolated.  Secondly, food prices have increased due to inflation, which means I can only afford the cheapest possible products which are high in calory, high sugar which are totally bad for my health! I do not know how these problems can be resolved with the present government who are hell bent on not helping disabled people!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andy · 2 months ago
    The increasing cost of living is meaning I am unable to afford most of my regular groceries and so often miss out meals, also I have been unable to heat my home properly using only the main storage heater in my living room the affect on my physical and mental health has hit an all time low.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    m · 2 months ago
    i get less than 9k a year to live off on ESA and 4k of that goes on rent alone, thats not counting food price rises or the enrrgy price rises at all, ive stopped voting for red and blue in this country they dnt care about us, they see us as the bane of society and  the goverment cuts our benefts and blames us for the problems a great example of this was the financial crisis in 2008, rich get richer and are never held accountable for there actions while people on here are left to suffer, the UK is not a democracy if your poor its more like a dictatorship. :(
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    C · 2 months ago
    I’m in receipt of UC and although things are very very tight, I’m glad of the 3.7% increase even though it doesn’t match the rise in living costs. I also work part time and in my employment, we’ve not had any pay rise and are not getting one. 
    Without sounding as though I’m offending anyone, I believe any increase in benefits is better than none as there are people out there working full time that aren’t getting any wage increase. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lin · 2 months ago
    Me turning heating of ,washing clothes less ,my condition makes me cold and incontinence need to wash regular ,I get fed up of being cold it effects your life and yes I put extra clothes on but my hands get very cold and can’t wear gloves for everything 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    MD · 2 months ago
    I have an Autoimmune Disease, EDS and chronic pain from Fibromyalgia, also other issues as a result of these diseases.  I struggle daily with chronic pain leading to mobility problems. 
    For my disability I was awarded the lowest PiP award for care only, they would not take into consideration my mobility issues at my last assessment and I was too afraid to place a Mandatory Reconsideration as often the decision maker can change the decision to zero points! That was 2018.
    At the end of 2021 I received a PiP review form, I returned it mid December 2021 and have heard nothing from the DWP regards to my assessment.  This is concerning as I really need the award for support with my mobility. I used my current award to help pay for things like taxis as most days I struggle to walk far or walk at all. I have bought crutches, walking canes, perching stools, a high table, grab rails and medical pillows with my award. (I have been waiting for an Occupational Therapist for assistance since 2019, apparently the waiting list is very long , so said the receptionist at my Gp surgery, when I phoned after over an hour waiting in a queue to get through. )
     
    Sadly, now, some of my PIP award no longer goes towards my daily care needs or mobility support, due to the increase in inflation and no realistic or beneficial increase in benefits, I now use some of my award towards my hugely hiked utility bills and food. I am grateful that I have the award I do, otherwise I would be in debt, unable to buy food and unable through my mobility problems, leave my house. I have already limited how many days I leave the house, as taxi fares have increased due to high petrol prices. This has a knock on effect too, as it means I cannot care for my 75 year old mother with dementia as I previously did, as I cannot afford to leave the house to travel to support her.
    If inflation increases much further I can see families and individuals living on bread and potatoes and, as shocking as that sounds it would not surprise me if that is happening already. 

    I am saddened and angry that the government are more interested in sending millions of tax payers money to the Ukraine for arms, rather than commit to sorting the mess they have made of the UK economy. Yet politicians are fine with their £2,212,- per annum wage increase.  Also, receiving their daily allowance for simply turning up at the house of commons daily, I believe its around £300. 
    The dire situation must must change, otherwise people are going to start becoming ill and dying from starvation and that's not an exaggeration. Individuals, families, children are suffering exponentially because of our out of control, out of touch government.
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    Elizabeth · 2 months ago
    We have to chose someday as to weather we can eat or put the heaters on we can’t do both every day and or now borrowing extra blankets to keep warm we both have mobility and heart problems but on day we eat I try and do like a big stew soup that can be reused on other days sometimes we have to chose which on of us will have a full meal 
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    Carolyn · 2 months ago
    We already 'ration' use of the gas boiler, meaning heating only once or twice a year, despite the fact I have a lung disease.  We rarely have hot water on tap.  Now we're actually considering getting the gas cut off so we're not paying the standing charge either.  We try to use as little electricity as possible, and will be cutting the use of the shower down.  We buy the cheapest rice, pasta and baked beans and will be seeing what else we can trim.  When buying food we also have to consider preparation and cooking costs. It's already a stretch, and I don't know just how much more we can squeeze out of our budget.  So many things are just becoming unaffordable.  I know there are people getting even less than us and can't imagine how they are coping. The stress is just too much and I'm already on the maximum dose of my antidepressants. I feel like there is just no way out.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Clara · 2 months ago
    The increased cost of living is getting out of control. On the news today they're saying food could go up another 37%. It's getting to the point where I can't cope living like this. It's not actually living, it's existing miserably 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    jace · 2 months ago
    Yes, the uplift this year is totally inadequate, in effect a cut of 4% on top of years of cuts.  But also, we're getting reports that even this uplift is not being applied until May - surely the increase should apply from the 6th April?  Some people are getting more for week 15, starting 11/04, meaning 5 days are paid at the previous tax years rate,  but others are told it will not be applied until there is no 21/22 rate applicable in the Assessment Period (UC).
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Cazzy. · 2 months ago
    My son is my full time carer and the carers are the forgotten people.He receives £69.70 a week and JSA .This is way below the living rate.He works 24/7 365 days a year looking after me with no additional help.How on earth are carers like my son ment to manage.Carers are exploted by the Government and taken for granted.Im so scared that this winter will be my last because I won't be able to heat our home. If I do die what then happens to my son.He has been my full time carer since he was 15 years old and he's now 30.He has given up so much for me and I feel like I have failed him.The Government are heartless and are only concerned with those who work.The sick and disabled and their carers are at the bottom of the pit.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Collette · 2 months ago
    I find it appalling that the government have not taken into consideration, the rise in gas and electric bills, plus council tax. I personally live alone now, as my husband died. I'm trying to move back south to be near family and friends, but now I won't be able to as it's to expensive. I suffer pain all the time from arthritis, slipped disc and unstable ones above in my neck. I was told I need an operation on my shoulder,as the bone is pressing the nerve, plus arthritis, now my other shoulder is as bad. I suffer from a neurological condition called dystonia, COPD, plus fibromyalgia. The arthritis is everywhere including my back. I am going to talk to my local MP, and see what he has to say, it's scary and I forgot I suffer depression and anxiety also. So with everything going up so much,. Along comes the anxiety and depression, and pain gets even worse. If this companies that have charged us an astronomical rise for something we need nead each day. Why are they annoucing profits into the billions? They do not need to do this.

     By the way I think your amazing, keep up the great work you d. collette.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Anthony Rigby · 2 months ago
    The electricity meter is killing me. I'm eating every other day with just a telly and kettle and me meter is like a slot machine that you can't win on. Where's the £150 we were told we'd be getting in April 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sue · 2 months ago
    I'm on higher rates of PIP, in the Support group and claiming SDP. I pay £125 weekly towards care costs( care at home) I've cut everything to the bone. Wheelchair need repairing and everything  that makes like worth living is going in order to eat and keep the heat on . Food banks next on list, already living on lentils and rice . Mental health deteriorating as well as physical health
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Pauline · 2 months ago
    When I was first awarded DLA in 2015 I thought I was in heaven,  as before my diagnosis I had been struggling financially. 

    Now I'm concerned about having to live on benefits as the prices of everything have increased so much.

    I also have Long Covid on top of my illnesses due to being hospitalised last October by Covid pneumonia. 


    My impaired health has meant I have had to take on a cleaner and I an struggling to sort my way through organising Direct Payments for a carer to assist with personal care , as social services cannot find me a carer.

    I am just so exhausted and now the financial concerns are an increased worry.

    Stress is the worse thing for my condition,  ME/ Chronic Fatigue,  stress actually causes it so I cannot cope with any more stress,  it just puts my health into decline  xx 






  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Ann · 2 months ago
    Just as I seem to adjust my life to function with minimal stress fitting in the budget for all my needs leaving me with zero savings all the time and begin to feel like a human again and my ailments start letting up, I find myself with uphill battle to try and do it all over again but with the onset of worsening of my both physical and mental health, sending me months and years backwards  on my journey of recovery and back to work. I hoped to recover and build myself back up to go to work asap but now I am this time finally admitting to myself am kidding myself as all I can see is the sooner I reach my goal of managing stress and its impact on my overall health and mobility to think of work, I am back to square one as goal post has moved and I need to invest enormous amount and health resources to catch up. It looks like a yo yo effect of an abuse, one minute, to then catching my breath and then again soon enough feeling suffocated as abuse came again. I have given up on way too many things to mention but main one is meat, clothes and seeing people as well as cost of running TV or any other electric device. No hobbies any more either and seating food that does not need cooking has set in. :O( 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Alison · 2 months ago
    Can't afford to run the car, makes it impossible to go.to.NA and AA which supports my mental health and ongoing recovery. Luckily there are zoom meetings,  but not the same as actually being with my friends. Don't see anyone for weeks.
    Electricity seems already to have doubled, and I can't use any less than I do now.

    .
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sharon · 2 months ago
    I came into inheritance money did the right thing declared to all relevant departments, then when I went under the amount and was allowed to reclaim again I lost all my SDP and lost all my disability premiums, was moved onto universal credit with a massive lost of about 80 pounds per week not sure how will cope as losing that amount per week will definitely 
    have a big impact. Have or ready switched off all heating upstair and definitely not looking forward to winter. Everybody told me not to declare but I wanted to do the right thing but it doe look like honesty does not pay.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Raya · 2 months ago
    I didn’t use the central heating in the winter as I couldn’t afford to - even with a good tariff.
    My tariff ran out end March..Now I can’t afford the electricity never mind heating.Snd that is Year round- not just winter.
    i find it annoying that the standing charge are so high.And that a single person household pays the same for that as a student house of 9 people.How can that be right ? 
    I wish there was a way the government would find to charge use per individual for the standing charges to make them fair across the board.
    I am keeping everything crossed that my ESA doesn’t change to UC in the next 3 years as I wouldn’t get the severe disability component.
    Having worked from age 14 to when ill l health took over- I didn’t expect to be totally broke in my later years.
    But I am grateful for the benefits I get.And to finally be living in a council flat.
    A lot of people are much worse off.

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