Debbie Brown, from Bootle told the Liverpool Echo that she ‘doesn’t want to wake up in the morning’ and feels ‘guilty’ at not being able to provide her children with food when they tell her they are hungry.
The tearful 38-year-old said: ‘My kids tell me they’re hungry and I couldn’t give them anything.’
She used to work but has suffered with severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks and more recently agoraphobia – meaning she rarely ventures out of her home which she describes as “like a prison”.
And while she wants to recover and return to a normal life, she believes the amount of money being offered to people like her is nowhere near enough.
In a moving interview, Debbie broke down as she described getting video messages from her daughter telling her to be strong.
Debbie said her children were recently forced to share a small amount of porridge for their evening meal.
She said: “Last night was an absolute nightmare, because my kids were telling me they were hungry and I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t give them anything because I had nothing to give – I had nowhere to get money or food from.
“We had a bit of porridge, I thought that was better than nothing.
“Its not the first time – its three out of four weeks a month that I am trying to get through the day and find ways to make money, just to feed them.”
She said the desperation of her situation has made her consider taking her own life.
She said: “Sometimes it gets to the point where I wonder if its all worth it, I’m not going to get anywhere, its just the same thing week in, week out – its just a nightmare.
“Sometimes I just wish I wouldn’t wake up of a morning, that’s how bad it has got.
“And I feel sorry for the kids, its not their fault and I feel really guilty because I can’t give them the things that they need.”
When it comes to Universal Credit, Debbie says the problems started right away.
She explained: “First of all they sprung it all on us without any warning – we went from our weekly pay straight into monthly pay.”
But she says the main issue is that the amount being paid out to struggling families is not enough to get through the month.
She said: “We’ve got to pay our own rent, council tax, water, TV licence – all these things come out of the money that you have to manage.
“Then there is schools, shopping, food for the kids and all that – we are not getting the right amount.
“They are expecting us to live off £100 for a month.”
Speaking about the impact it is having on her children, she admitted: “It breaks my heart.
“My little girl sings songs on her tablet and sends them to me – she says ‘I know you can fight this mummy’.
“Its bad, my kids know I’m suffering and I’m trying my best – but I feel like I need to do something because I can’t cope with it.”
Debbie said she believes some people think of benefit claimants as lazy or stupid or scroungers, adding: “Why would I want to be like this?”
“I want to go out to work, I want to be me again. I’ve always worked.
“Everyday I’ve got nothing to live for or look forward to. I haven’t got enough money to do anything – I want to be better, but I need help.”
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