End Young Parent Poverty: Rachel's story
Last updated: 04/07/2023
Rachel* is a 24-year-old single mum, based in Edinburgh.
I’ve been living with my 5-year-old son in temporary accommodation for 20 months now. I had my own place but I had to move out after breaking up with my partner and being made homeless.
I’ve not lived with my mum since I was 15 years old. When I left home, I stayed with friends. Before that I had a kinship carer (my nan) when I was younger but I don’t get any support for having been in care because it was before the age of 16.
I am on Universal Credit at the moment and I will start to get a higher amount when I’m 25 this year, but at the moment I’m obviously getting less. I just don’t really understand why parents who are 25 and over are entitled to more. It’s just wrong.
End Young Parent Poverty
Parents under 25 are entitled to a lower amount of benefits than parents aged 25 and over.
Find out more about One Parent Families Scotland’s campaign to award young parents under 25 a top-up payment through the Scottish Child Payment.
Everything is so expensive. Food, energy, everything. It’s been really hard. I’ve got into debt with my electricity and gas and I got in touch with Step Change about this and they have helped me to work out a debt repayment plan. Scottish Child Payment has also helped to take the pressure off a bit.
It’s hard, I have to give my son a packed lunch for nursery because he won’t eat meat and can’t eat gluten. The nursery have tried to give him their food but he won’t eat it. There are a lot of children with dietary needs and gluten free food is hard to come by and is more expensive. Food banks also don’t have enough choices for people with dietary needs.
I don’t go out, I’ve never been on a holiday or anything. I don’t even have my own bank account because I can’t afford to pay for ID. Universal Credit is paid into my nana’s account for me. My son will be starting school this year and I’ve applied to do an access to nursing college course, which would start in September. I’m hoping to eventually study nursing at university. I’m really looking forward to that.
If I had £75 more per month, I’d be able to get more food, I’d be able to pay off my debt.
To say that young parents should live with their parents is not right. My mum kicked me out when I was 15 so it’s never been an option for me. The government needs to have a wake-up call. They need to understand that there are lot of young people that are in situations like mine that have been in care or come from poorer families. There are lots of people under the age of 25 that are not living with their families that have got children. They need to actually speak to us to find out what it’s really like being a young parent.
*A pseudonym has been used for this story.