A WOMAN on Universal Credit has shared how she only takes showers once a week and drinks milk that “disappeared” due to the cost of living crisis.
Bonnie Noel, 65, says her benefits aren’t enough to live on and she needs to cut spending.
She described how she eats food that has passed its best before date and only one meal a day to save money.
Speaking to The Mirror, Bonnie said: “Now I drink curd or take it as yoghurt, for the protein.
“I buy food that is on a special. I eat food up to two weeks past the expiration date if it doesn’t smell or look bad.
“I cook it on high in the microwave and if it tastes good, I eat it. So far no food poisoning.
“I eat one protein meal a day. The rest are potatoes with tomatoes, bananas and the cheapest fruits and vegetables on sale.”
The retired nurse who lives in Surrey has also had to take drastic measures to reduce her energy use, including taking fewer showers and switching her washing machine off mid-cycle.
She said: “I wash my dishes once every five to seven days, plus it’s not hot outside because of the flies and rodents.
“I collect my used tissues to wipe cutlery and plates before washing them.”
She says she sought help from a food bank but was told her £850-a-month Universal Credit benefit and payment for personal independence was enough to live on.
Bonnie is one of millions facing skyrocketing costs for essentials like energy and food.
John Hughes, 56, told The Sun he ate cold tins because he couldn’t pay his heating bills.
The cancer patient cannot afford to heat up his dinner because there are only a few pounds left on his energy meter.
An elderly couple have said they were forced to sleep in their COAT after being unable to pay for their heating.
Gerald Porter, 83, fears he will have to return to work to help pay bills after they doubled in a month.
And a mom on Universal Credit says she’s dropped three dress sizes because she can’t afford food to eat.
Kelly Thomson, 43, said she struggled to get by on just £40 a week and feared “she might have to resort to begging”.
On April 1, energy bills rose by 54%, the equivalent of around £700 a year.
Council tax, national insurance, water, broadband, telephone and television bills have also become more expensive.
Millions of people on Universal Credit who are out of work, like Bonnie, lost a £20-a-week raise to profit at the end of last year.
A rise in Universal Credit rates earlier this month failed to keep up with rising costs.
Benefits are up 3.1% from April, but inflation is 7% and could be higher before the end of the year, leaving claimants worse off in real terms.
How to get help with energy bills if you’re on Universal Credit
Just because you have Universal Credit doesn’t mean that’s all you can get.
Millions of Britons are being deprived of the benefits to which they are entitled, amounting to billions of pounds in total.
Benefit calculators can help you check what you may be entitled to.
For example, you might get extra money for caring for someone else or for housing costs.
There are several benefit checker tools you can use – here’s our guide.
You can help like a reduction in council tax, cheaper internet or extra payments during colder temperatures – see the full help you can get in our guide.
There is cash support for anyone struggling with rent which is available from your local council through the Discretionary Housing Payment.
If you are worried about falling behind on your bills. there are many organizations where you can get advice for free, including:
Energy providers are offering cash grants to those hardest hit by rising bills.
You could get money through this if you are having trouble and you won’t have to pay it back.
For example, British Gas and Octopus both have funds to help households struggling to pay.
What’s available depends on your provider, and not all offer them while others may have applications closed due to high demand.
There are around 8,000 charities and organizations in the UK that donate money to help struggling families.
Turn2Us has a free grant finder so you can find out what help is available to you.
Your local council could offer help with the energy bill through a number of schemes, including the Household Support Fund, social assistance schemes and the discretionary energy tax refund fund. council energy.
To see what is available where you are and to apply, you will need to check with your local council.
You can search for yours using the search tool on gov.uk – just enter your postcode.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team?