Karen Isaac, 63, is among the millions of people who currently claim Universal Credit, and she recently spoke to Express.co.uk about her experience, as well as her concerns about the future.
She privately rents in rural Canterbury, somewhere she has lived for almost 25 years.
Following a car accident almost three years ago, Karen found herself unable to continue her role at a UK supermarket for health reasons, and in August 2018, she began claiming Universal Credit.
Other than earnings from a “small amount” of part-time work with the charity Turn2us, it’s her only income.
Karen points out that for every £1 she earns in her role, her Universal Credit reduces by 63 pence.
“So unless you can work full-time and get above it, you’re working all these hours – and there’s quite a lot of background work [with] the things I do for them – but you end up only getting about £10 extra for all the work that you’ve done.
“And that really needs to be addressed. The government really needs to do something about that because it’s just not fair.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, Karen has noticed a rise in her living costs.
She explains she has found there are fewer special offers in supermarkets now.
“When you are on something like Universal Credit, you have to budget,” she says, adding that she often goes to well-known discount stores in the hopes of finding bargains to make her money go further.