I was forced to set up crowdfunding page to cope with soaring bills after Universal Credit cut

A MUM was forced to set up a crowdfunding page as the family struggles to cope with soaring bills following the Universal Credit cut.

Amy Cook, 27, set up a page on GoFundMe hoping to raise £2,000 saying the family had "hit a brick wall" and needed a "helping hand to get back to an acceptable standard of living".

Amy, who is a full-time carer to her partner Jordan, 37, said they had a bedbug infestation in their home and cuts to the Universal Credit had left them struggling to cope, the Guardian reports.

The family, from Deptford, London, wrote on their fundraising page: "We have no funds to live off. We approached the council and housing association but there was no support anywhere.

"The minute the money is there it's gone; you're always a month behind on your bills.

"You pay one bill then another comes straight in. There's not enough support for people in poverty."

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money by individuals or companies, by asking for financial contributions from others.

It is sometimes used by start-up companies, which need investment and may offer rewards such as discounts on their products in exchange for backing.

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Over 1.3million people eligible for Universal Credit missing out on £7,300

But individuals can also set up crowdfunding pages, such as the mum who asked for cash for her son's birthday or the couple looking to raise money to pay for a surrogate mother.

However, crowdfunding offers no guarantees and many pages do not hit their targets.

It's important to check the terms if you are considering crowdfunding for any reason – on some sites, you may not get any of the money you raise unless you hit your target.

And some sites may also take a percentage of the money you raise.

Amy, who has an eight-year-old daughter, reached her £2,000 goal, and wanted to use the money to get rid of their bed bugs and buy essential items such as a washing machine and chest of draws.

She also wanted to put carpet down in the house as Jordan has grand mal epilepsy, which causes fits, and she is concerned he could suffer a head injury on hard floors.

She said: "I was nervous as I'm not a person to ask strangers for help, but what else can I do? The government isn't doing anything."

The desperate move from the mum-of-one comes as families are struggling to cope with a cost of living crisis.

GoFundMe told the Guardian it had seen a 28% rise in the number of appeals mentioning the term "universal credit" between July 2021 and January 2022, compared with July 2019 to January 2020.

Inflation has hit a 30-year high, pushing up the cost of everything from broadband bills to groceries.

Energy bills are also rocketing, leaving some families facing the choice between heating and eating this winter.

Further hikes are on their way too, as the new

The end of the Universal Credit uplift in October left many low income families in dire straits.

A victory for The Sun's Make Universal Credit Work campaign saw changes to the benefit, including a reduction to the taper rate, have since been implemented but many are still struggling to cope.

What help can I get?

If you are struggling to pay bills or cope with living expenses, there may be help you are eligible to get.

Check the benefits you are entitled to as you may be missing.

Benefits calculators, such as those offered by charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo, can help.

You may be entitled to a cold weather payment if the temperature drops in your postcode, or could receive a warm home discount of £140.

The £500million Household Support Fund has also been brought in this winter and local councils have been given cash to dish out to people in their area.

For example, Runnymede Council in Surrey is giving residents up to £800 to help pay for food and heating costs, while in Rutland you can get £100 for essentials.

To find out which is your local council to see what help is available where you live, head to gov.uk's local council finder tool.

If you need help with debt, here are the places you can get debt help for free.

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