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Financial blackmail of being threatened to be thrown out the house - 19 years old. watch

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    I am hoping you kind folks can offer advice, as my friend is suffering terribly, and in a dire situation. Google has been no help.

    My friend grew up in an abusive household with a violent drunk father, and another violent stepdad. He suffered poorly at school as he couldn't focus, developed malnutrition etc... His life so far was already bad enough, and he got the worst start academically.

    He is living at home, has just turned 19 years old. He lives with his birth mother. He has been accepted for college to study qualifications he might have achieved at high school. The hope is he can use this as a building block to then proceed to higher education after that. His qualifications just now are very poor and given he lives in a remote area with a small population, he seems to be unskilled and essentially unemployable as jobs hardly come up, most are skilled etc...

    Anyway. He has been awarded a bursary by the college of around £79 a week. He has checked all sources, and I have to, and it looks like this is all he can get.
    Due to his location, even with 1/3 off his railcard via student discount, his three days a week return travel will cost him around £50/week. This will leave him with about £29 a weeks for food, books, phone top ups &c....
    As he is returning to education, and is under 20, his mother will receive and additional £2750 a year on top of child benefits she gets for two young children.

    Now here is the crunch - She has demanded that as soon as he starts getting his £79/week to give her £40. The amount he is being awarded is calculated upon his mothers income and the fact he is living at home, as she is seen by the government as being a supportive family member who will help with costs etc...
    If he does not pay her this he will be chucked out on the street. This is not a false threat as she has done it previously, and he ended p staying with his abusive father on a remote cottage on a peninsula in the middle of nowhere with three buses a week!
    What is his legal rights here? The money he has been awarded is for the sole use of him to support himself, and his mother will be paid £2750+ just for the privilege of helping support him? This is disgusting and a severe failing if this is allowed, surely? Can he be blackmailed for not giving her all he has? She is a neurotic hedonistic woman who lives beyond her means and is a compulsive lier with nearly no empathy for her fellow human beings. She loves nail polish and false eyelashes more than her children. She lives in an escapist fantasy world of bedding men from the pub most nights of the week on the drugged delusion that Joe Bloggs will whisk her off to a castle on a white steed.... She's a nasty mess to be honest.

    Any advice you give is helpful.
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    At 19, he's legally an adult. I don't think there's much he can really do.
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    This might not be a popular opinion but: could he not leave home, live closer to college, claim benefits if he can't get a job, and then move far away for university? As far as I am aware he should be entitled to income support as a student? But I am not entirely sure. It would mean that his mother would have to give up his child benefits etc. That money is not hers and she has no right to claim it.
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    He is desperate to get away but has no platform to do so. That is to say that he doesn't have credit yet being young so can't secure a lot of flat setups, but if he keeps his course and bursary he will not be able to keep a fulltime job to. In my mind I think he could have the means to support himself but relocating at the drop of a hat without a job to go to and no income means he can't get his foot in the door. His network of friends he could stay with are within his remote home town. He is from one of those areas where people are born there, die there and essentially trapped there. He would be entitled to something but far less being under 25 years old. His level of qualification is not at the Student Loan level and only amounts to about £70 per week which certainly isn't bad.

    I am going to look into how much he would get if he was not staying at home.
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    As he's 19 I'm sceptical there is anything he can do, as she ultimately is putting him up out of "goodwill" rather than any legal requirement.

    That said, it may be worth him point out to her that if she throws him out, he will immediately inform the government that he is in independent adults and stop her being paid the extra £2750+, so she would be cutting her nose off to spite her face.

    Other than that he needs to find a way to move out.
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    Agreed. I think she now knows not to cross him. I advised him to 'innocently' reassure his mum by mentioning what she will be getting as he is going back into education, so as to be seen as nice and supportive. In reality what I have advised him to do is plant a subtle seed which says in other words to his mum "I know what you are getting for me studying, I know it is for me but you want to spend it on you, and I know if I stop studying you will not get it"... so effectively its an unspoken bargaining chip to keep her off his back until he can gather resources to get away from her.

    You can't choose your parents so they say....
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    Your friend needs to talk to someone like Shelter or CAB. The college might be able to advise him on this matter as well.
 
 
 
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