Getting off benefits – the worst part of unemployment yet again

As the Guardian reveals that the richest 1,000 people in Britain have seen their wealth increase by £155bn since the crisis began  … I have again tried to move from unemployment to part-time work – that is, from unemployment to underemployment.

I told my Job Centre Plus adviser before I even secured the contract and he has been helpful and supportive – but unable to stop the inevitable.

All my benefits have been stopped.

This stopping of benefits happens before you have any chance to give details, to fully explain your reasoning or prove your income.

It is profitable for the government to plunge you into poverty first and ask questions later.

I’ve explained to Job Centre Plus and to the council that my income works out at just £30 more than I would get per week from Jobseekers’ Allowance. I’ve shown contracts, visited almost weekly with updates and emailed any relevant information.

Nevertheless, my Housing Benefit has been calculated to now be £1.19 per week, my Council Tax Benefit is nil and today I find my Jobseekers’ Allowance has not been paid.

Of course I immediately switched off my heating, rationed the food in my cupboards and freezer and will stay home unable to afford to go anywhere. I wonder if this is the “war mentality” of which Heseltine spoke today – workers clamouring to survive while the wealthy remain untouched by the failures of the banks and the global economic crisis of their making.

I recognise this Tory-led coalition, supported by lickspittle lackey Lib Dems, will claim that Universal Credit will end this problem but this is clearly not the case. It will simply be worse for us.

The Tory work ethic – the promise that work will pay – is a lie.

This is the second time I’ve experienced this as I try to find work, to remain active and employable. I wonder now if it will be worth doing it again in the future. I might choose to stay on benefits.

Regular readers will know that, after 20 years as a journalist, I found it impossible to secure work in the industry so I retrained as an academic and now find it impossible to secure work in higher education.

Ironically, I found out this week that I passed a post-graduate certificate in education – what a waste of time and hard-work attaining a new qualification has proven to be.

This work is only until March 2013 so all this confusion and stress will start again as soon as it ends…


7 thoughts on “Getting off benefits – the worst part of unemployment yet again

  1. I absolutely admire you for trying hard but as you said in your article the tory mantra is not what we all thought it would be. It just makes me wonder that if educated people like are treated in this manner what is going to happen to the rest of the society?…

    • We’re all the same once unemployed – which is why we need to realise that, ultimately, we’re all the same in work. We might earn more or less, might do different hours, wear a uniform or a suit, but whether we have a job or not, how much we earn – and if we’re joining the dole queue – all depend on someone else’s decision. We don’t own the purse strings or have any real control over our futures.

  2. This is the main problem for people who can’t secure full time work on a regular basis: you should be able to move from loss of work to benefit immediately, but this never happens. You can’t pay the rent or council tax, the bills, you name it, it’s a sick joke. They can take weeks to sort out a claim for HB or CT benefit, Jobseeker’s takes forever and in the meantime you have to work for a week or worse a month in hand……this is why people end up staying on crappy benefits because a) they can’t get regular work b) have no savings to bankroll themselves through the times of no cash. You CANNOT AFFORD TO SWITCH FROM BENEFITS TO PAID EMPLOYMENT! I could go on and on and on: send me David fucking Cameron and IDS and I’ll have them told…..they do not get it, haven’t got a clue, much like most of the general public who have no idea what’s in store for them until it happens….

    • Exactly! The rhetoric about get any job, relocate if you have to, get off the dole and into work no matter what depends on people not understnding that all this takes money. I’d happily relocate for a good job! I can’t afford the bus fare never mind a rent deposit, a moving van, enough money to live on until I’m paid, etc. People don’t understand, as you say, until it happens to them. And they also live in hope/fear that it never will.

    • Cheers! I’m entitled to the JSA – it’s backpay owed from signing on – so will kick up a fuss until I get it. And I the HB and CTB decision seems to be based on their miscalculations. I’ve written to my MP. It’s clearly about stopping your money THEN investigating if you’re entitled to it – benefit scrounger until proven not.

  3. I live in Vancouver, Canada so things are done somewhat differently. I’ve been in and out of work (mainly more out) since the ESL school I had worked at for 7 years closed down in 2011. I’ve gotten some Employment Insurance but that has run out, meaning I get nothing. I can apply for social assistance when I have no savings left – that is $625/month (396 British pounds). Renting one room in a sleazy hotel with a shared bathroom (with drug addicts and cockroaches) is $375. The apt. I currently rent is $950. It is crazy. I have temporary part-time work coming up for three months but after that, out of work again. I rather envy the continual benefits that the jobless in Britain get – although how awful that yours have been cut off. How are you doing these days?

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