A pension that can't support you

During my working life as a teacher I didn’t build up a good pension because I had to look after my three children. I brought them up on my own mostly. I did a lot of supply and temporary work which meant that unless I completed a full school term I wasn’t awarded my National Insurance contributions. Even if I worked most of the term my pension wasn’t added to.

I did a lot of stressful supply jobs but now I don’t have anything to show for it.

Life on benefits

Living on benefits is very hard and they are stopped for the slightest reason which is frightening. I have lost the family home and now I rent in the private sector.  The hardest thing is the rent cap. My rent is £450 a month, and I have to pay Council Tax as well, but I only receive about £280 on Housing Benefit, that will soon drop to £250.  

Almost all my money goes towards making up the rent so I have to life very frugally.

Hardship and going without in later life

I have nothing left for holidays, socialising or replacing goods. I now have to buy clothes from the charity shop. I run a car that I just about hold onto, but when it starts needing repairs I will have no choice but to let it go.

I have a spare small box room which are used by my granddaughter and son when they visit. I have lived in Africa so I know about hardship. This is hard because it is endless. I tried working part-time but it was pointless and unnerving because my benefits were stopped.

I just want to live somewhere safe and decent but I have been left in a position where I can barely afford it.


Have you been affected by any of these issues?


This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age