Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Precarious Situation

BenHBenH Member Posts: 3 Listener

I am 33 years old and suffer from cerebral palsy down the right-side of my body, but have been working in retail for over 10 years now. The problem is that I am on a 22 hour contract per week, which only pays £7.80 an hour. Unfortunately, this is not enough to survive on living in London.

Speaking to the likes of Remploy and the Job Centre to get help with a new career path have been unsuccessful due to the amount of hours I work. I have also been applying for jobs online, but thus far, no success. Having no experience/qualifications in other work sectors have also contributed to the situation I find myself in now.

Is there anyone that could help me in this predicament?

Kind regards,



  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @BenH
    Its a difficult situation, are you in a position to retrain at all?

    I saw some free online courses today that might be of interest to you? 
    Senior online community officer
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi BenH - I'm afraid the employment side of this is not my area of knowledge at all, but I just wanted to engage with you on the benefits side of things.....obviously your benefit entitlement is affected by things such as living with a partner and what your housing costs are, but as a general principle, you may be able to get some help from the benefits system if you are on low earnings. Depending on where you live and the status of Universal Credit in your area, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit + housing benefit to top up your earnings. I strongly suggest you have a look at the Benefits Calculator part of this website, put your details in and see if there is any help you may be able to get, and have a think too about whether you might qualify for PIP if you have not already claimed it. Please get in touch with us on the Ask a Benefits Adviser part of this site, and we will try and help you further if we can.
    Hope this helps!
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger

    You might want to check with ACAS (who have a helpline) whether you are being paid the correct minimum rate per hour.  I'm no expert but I thought that the London Living Wage, which is supposed to be the minimum in London now, was higher than £7.80.
  • BenHBenH Member Posts: 3 Listener

    Thank you for your responses and help! I will look into them.

    I could retrain, but I don't see myself in retail in the future. Need a full-time job with better prospects and a company that cares about their employees.

    I am on the PIP allowance receiving £22 a week.

    When I was living with my father, I received Housing Benefit. But this was a long time ago and when I moved out they stopped the payments. They hassled me for almost two years after for repayments.

    Unfortunately £7.80 is the correct amount. Only some high street shops offer the London Living Wage, but these shops don't even offer full-time contracts.

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @BenH
    We now have a team of employment advisors who may be able to help, if you have any questions you can ask them here.
    Senior online community officer
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