I’ve been made redundant. What now?

Dear Iona,

Unfortunately, after the ASOS acquisition of Topshop/Topman, I was made redundant from my job, and now I'm facing the terrifying competition of finding another job in the fashion industry. I had been following so much of your advice from your blog before this incident and had really started to save up again, but now I feel like I'm about to go back to square one, as in a month's time I will need to use those savings I built up. Hugely frustrating! Do you have any advice for me to help manage my money effectively during this challenging time?
Ashleigh
London

Dear Ashleigh,

I’m really sorry to hear about your situation – it’s a scary and daunting place to be.

But firstly, you sound like an incredibly driven & smart person so I’m sure you will find a new opportunity or role, one way or another.

I am very envious you have managed to work in fashion, as it was one of my dream jobs growing up! Sometimes it’s so tough to pursue a career you love, with all the competition and pole-climbing involved, but I massively admire you for doing it so far and I just know you’ll find a way to do it again in the future.

You’ve provided a bit more information as to what your personal situation is. Thankfully, you can stay with your partner, who has kindly offered to pay your rent, as his landlord will not add you to the tenancy contract for various reasons. It’s fantastic that your partner can financially support you during this period, though you make it very clear that you wish you could support yourself.

Until that time comes again – and I’m sure it will – don’t feel any shame about receiving this help. Firstly, it’s temporary. Secondly, he sounds like a rock and clearly keen to be there for you, and that’s the sign of a terrific relationship. You can gratefully accept this support, knowing that you would do the same for him in a heartbeat.

Don’t feel any shame or embarassment about receiving this help

You talk about how you wish you were not in this position by the age of 25. But the truth is that anyone can find themselves redundant through absolutely no fault of their own, at any age. It’s not a sign of failure, and it’s not something that has to knock you down completely. Yes, it might slow down your financial plans, but so long as you get the support you need and keep going, you will bounce back sooner than you think. 

Now for some practical advice. You are aware that you won’t be entitled to full Universal Credit because you are living with someone who’s cushioning you. However, you should receive a level of UC if his income and your savings struggle to cover your income. If you or your partner have less than £6000 in savings, this shouldn’t affect your entitlement. Here’s what you should get, depending on the age of you and your partner:

Living with a partner and both under 25

£490.60 a month

Living with a partner and one or both over 25 

£596.58 a month

You also get a grace period after you’ve been redundant before the benefit cap applies, so long as you have earned enough.

I would strongly recommend that you contact Citizens Advice to find out what your options are. If you’ve already applied for Universal Credit but been knocked back, you may get some advice on whether you can appeal.

 There are also several free tools you can use to find out if there are any hardship funds or grants available in your field/residential area such as Policy in Practice and Turn2Us. 

Good luck Ashleigh – I’ll be thinking of you.

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