WARNING: Stay on benefits. Do not work part-time.

In 2011 Cameron said, “Never again will work be the wrong financial choice … We are finally going to make work pay for some of the poorest people in our society.

What a laugh!

As you know, I found part-time work. I was quite excited by this. I’m now told my Jobseekers’ Allowance has been stopped, I’m entitled to reduced Housing Benefit and I’m not entitled to Council Tax Benefit

I’ve received a number of letters pointing out differing amounts I am or I’m not entitled to and my head is spinning but I’ve tried to calculate what this means.

And I’m £21 per month worse off by working. Add to this the money I have to find for rent and Council Tax and I’m a massive £158 a month worse off before I’ve even paid the rest of my bills.

It’s literally impossible.

I will, of course, also pay high bank charges when I inevitably become overdrawn losing yet more from my paltry income.

If my calculations are accurate, I’m at very real risk of becoming deeper in debt and, ultimately, losing my home.

Over a year since Cameron excitedly said work will pay, the reality is I’m now awake in the early hours panicking about not having any money, fretting that I won’t have fares to even get to work and questioning whether I’ll be penalised for packing in my part-time job and returning to full benefits.

Stay on benefits. You know it makes sense.

I understand I can’t get Working Tax Credits because I work fewer then 16 hours per week.

I’ve not been given any advice on alternative benefit options so don’t think there are any. I have to accept a loss of £158 per month and work.

So – for those who think the unemployed should try to get at least a few hours work – it is an impossible challenge. That is, unless you’re working as part of slave labour for multi-million companies while “earning” your benefits.

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18 thoughts on “WARNING: Stay on benefits. Do not work part-time.

    • I’ll look into it. I’ve been given no advice on alternatives at all. I’ve been sent letters with conflicting information – first I get nothing, then I get a bit of housing benefit. My Job Centre Plus advisor has kept me signing on despite Job Centre PLus considering me being in work. I even wrote “worked as agreed” in my Looking for Work booklet but realise that means nothing: no one cares. It’s madness. I think I have a second part-time job starting next week so should be ok until early next year. But this is the way people are treated all the time.

  1. Sorry to hear of your plight. That twat Cameron and his crew of jackals has so much to answer for. I’m crapping myself about next April when I get docked £ 12 a week for having a spare bedroom, then I lose my ESA in June and the local council may want a contribution to council tax

  2. Hi
    I don’t understand why you are actually worse off – I thought that with housing benefit/council benefit you should be not exactly better off but not actually worse off. For example, I work part time and get a bit of housing benefit and I am about 10 pounds a week better off (although I don’t have stuff like free dental treatment, prescriptions, etc, and if I got the bus to work I would be worse off). Are you sure they have worked out your housing benefit correctly?

    • The powers that be stopped all my benefits. Suspended everything and told me I wasn’t entitled to any housing benefit or council tax benefit. This, of course, left me much worse off. Then they said I might be entitled to a bit more but this still meant I was worse off because it was minimal. Now they’re saying I might be entitled to a bit more again – and who knows what they’ll offer now. The problem isn’t my calculations but what they choose to do with the (detailed) information provided – that is suspend all benefits first, plunge people into poverty, then backtrack when the decision is questioned. My worry is that people who don’t challenge them end up in a real financial mess.

  3. This dreadful situation you describe is precisely what the introduction of Universal Credit is aiming to obliterate for ever. Universal Credit will introduce a taper that will slowly ensure that people do NOT have their benefits cut off in the manner you describe within moments from reporting that two weeks down the line they’re starting a job. The taper will be applied slowly, over many months, and will be directly proportionate to money earnt on the job, so that nobody will ever be worse off in work.

    Also, the conflicting info you’re currently receiving is also testament to the pressing reason for introducing Universal Credit: civil servants are currently lumbered with manuals 10,000 pages long (no extra zero there) in order to understand how a small (or not-so-small) change will affect the payments of benefits. It is a system that is open to countless human error and that, quite rightly, infers that it’s better for people to stay on benefits, no matter how little they get, because they’ll almost certainly be worse off if they take a job (a job that doesn’t pay at least £25,000p/a, that is).

    I am only relating facts of Universal Credit here, not hearsay. I was in your position in 2009, when I was also looking for work and it’s an unpleasant place to be, to put it mildly. But when I was claiming, I was doing so under a Labour government and it was absolutely not any better. I only claimed on a contribution basis and for six months only, after which I was put on the door with a pat on the back. I never qualified for any other benefit but was still suggested to fill in a 12-page Council Tax benefit form only to be told upon submission that I did not qualify because I did have an income of £400pcm. I survived because my parents kept me afloat, but by the time I started my new job 18 months since I was not entitled to sign on any longer, I had accrued in excess of £20,000 worth of debt. All I can say is, thank God for credit cards, and also, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the qualified, I promise you.

  4. Bank charges?
    So you go overdrawn?

    Learn to live within your means!!!!!

    If you are a doley dosser, stop spending more than you get, it’s not an income you lazy bastard, its some “income support” till you find a full time job!!!
    How thick are you!
    The benefit system isn’t a suppliment to your income, it’s for people who can’t find work.
    There’s lots of people earning low wages but they find a way.
    Have some self respect, long term “benefit” swagging losers have a rubbish life because they have no work ethic, no self respect and spend more than they earn.
    Absolute wasters.

    • I’ve worked mostly full-time for 27 years so can hardly be dismissed as a “lazy bastard” or a “long term benefit swagging loser”. Your assumption that all unemployed people have always been unemployed is ridiculous – and clearly a wilful decision to hate rather than understand. Also, I do live within my means but perhaps banks shouldn’t charge people £15 for ghoing £1 overdrawn. And Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance are different benefits received for different reasons. Perhaps you should educate yourself about the situation before you so rudely attempt to educate others. Next time you write to me I will delete your vitriol. It’s not what I think people should have to read.

  5. “Over a year since Cameron excitedly said work will pay” I’m afraid you misunderstood: when this millionaire politician said that he meant it would pay for the employers employing people at minimum wage (or indeed ha ha ha ha ha ha at no wage if you are lucky enough to be forced onto Mr I. D. Smith’s Work Program). No to worry – alot of people like you seem to have misunderstood those words of wisdom from dear David.

  6. I am a single mum was working full time on a min wage job couldn’t afford the rent got very ill with depression have gone back to work part time and am now getting in so much debt I get 800 a month with tax cred and wages in this and im still expected to pay 3/4 of my rent and council tax I am struggling to even put fuel in the car. My company pay 80 a month petrol cost but I’m putting 75 a week in! I don’t know what to do I have never been so bad off and I can feel myself getting ill again. On top of this I av to pay school meals at 40 a month we have no luxuries like Internet at home and car is in desperate need of repairs :(

  7. Hi, I’m a single mum of 2 little boys, I’ve been working part time for the last 6 months and I am so much more worse off working part time than I was just on benefits. I hated not being able to provide for my sons after splitting from their dad, who may I add pays nothing and cause he doesn’t work the csa have said he can pay me 5 pound a week for our kids. This makes me sick!!! I’m sat here today worrying about the cold weather and not having warm clothes or shoes for my sons and to top it off the council r saying I owe over 300 pound rent. So I now find myself not being able to sleep and worrying myself sick about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to find extra money to pay the rent. People r quick to judge us single mums, but do they really think we want to live like this? My sons r my world and it kills me that I feel so useless.

  8. Hello everyone, sorry to hear of your plight, but also slightly reassured, that people are discussing the subject and that I’m not the only person on benefits, facing the same impending wrath of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ !

    If you can bear with me a few minutes, I have a few things to say on the matter.

    Firstly. Housing. There isn’t even enough alternative single bedroom housing in this country to accommodate ALL the people that are going to incur the ‘Bedroon Tax’.

    Therefore, how can it be lawful to impose such a tax ??

    Secondly. Employment. It’s a complete ‘No brainer’ to take a job, if the impact on your life is detrimental in any form.
    When it is no longer financially viable to take a job, why on Earth would/should a person be forced to take one ? And why would anyone, from the Prime Minister to the village idiot chose to be worse off if they could ? lol ! ; )

    It’s totally illogical captain !!!

    But the powers that be don’t care that it’s illogical, or that we don’t have any choice in the matter, because it’s part of a much wider plan, to impoverish the masses of working and middle class people of this and every other nation to make them even more dependent, subservient and controllable !

    We are now entering a period of Massive change that could go either way, depending HOW or even IF the people choose to try to say or do anything about it. Any form of civil protest, unrest or uprising is swiftly quashed, tarnished or debunked by the corporate/political elite through their Main Stream Media Propaganda machine.

    We are Economic Slaves, no better off than under the feudalistic system, living under a… (wait for it !!)…. Tyrannical, Corporate controlled, Fascist government that wages wars on nations without any investigation or justification under the guise of ‘National security’ and the threat of ‘Terrorism’ to go strutting hand in hand with America and the rest of the EU disguised as ‘NATO’ or the ‘UN’ reclaiming its old Empirical territories and ‘Promoting Democracy’ in the other countries that are uprising against their Tyrannical rulers, only to have even worse ‘Technocratic’ leaders installed that are just more compliant with the American way of ‘Globalization’ (Economic and Political co-operation).


    Just for example :
    UK Defence Budget.
    Whilst defence spending will decrease from the 2011 figure of £40bn to £39bn in 2012, it will however account for a slightly higher percentage of total governmental spending. Defence will account for 5.71% of national spending, the second highest amount in the last six years, second only to 2010 when it accounted for 5.73%.

    * Source: army-technology.com

    EU Membership
    The net cost of the EU budget to Britain in 2011 was £10.8 billion* and rising. But the actual cost – direct and indirect – is much more than that.

    Last time it was calculated, in 2008, (because it’s not that important !) the European Union was costing us £65 billion gross every year. That’s about £1,000 each every year for every man, woman and child in the UK. It increases every year, so it will be a lot more now.

    * Source: Office for National Statistics “Pink Book”

    We the people of the UK, are misinformed, mismanaged and misrepresented in every possible way ans have been, throughout ALL of it’s history !


    The ONLY way to do anything about this, is to spread the word to other like-minded people, and UNITE, in a Peaceful Universal Non-Compliance and simultaneously stop paying rent and any other form of taxation, because the cost of social housing has been paid for many, many times over, and all they are doing / would be losing, are funds generated to be redirected into
    areas that are completely unnecessary in comparison to the plight of the General Public of this so-called United Kingdom.

    What can they do ? Put us all in Prison for it !? 2.5M Unemployed People… 1.5M claimants !
    I don’t think so !

  9. I found a part time job that pays £12 per hour on a casual/flexible basis. I might get 1 night a week, I might get 3 or 4, and 5 if there’s a lot of work (busy periods of the year which are short lived). Is it right to purposely choose to work 2 nights a week (16 hours), qualifying for Jobseeker’s allowance and housing benefit, and also possibly council tax benefit? I can never be certain of more than 1 night per week, but I can get at the MOST 3, likely 2 nights every week, especially now that the “low” is coming during the Spring and Summer.

    Potential earnings for 2 nights a week from my job would be £174 since 16 hours is part time and tax free. Plus £76 a week Jobseeker’s AND £56 a week housing benefit AND maybe £17 a week council tax benefit if I qualify, totalling £300+ a week, every week. By the way I am actually looking for a full time job, so I can qualify for Jobseeker’s without feeling like a con. My job is not forever.

    If I chose NOT to go on the benefits, I would earn a MAXIMUM of £355 net a week for 5 shifts (this NEVER happens, I’ve had the job 5-6 months and had about 2-4 full weeks so far), £285 a week for 4 shifts (common only at busy times), £226 for 3 shifts (regular at busy times, but never guaranteed throughout the year), and £177 tax free wages for 2 shifts (16 hours, not guaranteed but likely easy to get at most times of the year). Recently I’ve been earning 3 shifts/£226, but this is ending now with the low work loads to come throughout the year.

    It seems like a no brainer, but I don’t want to be a thief and if it is illegal then I would have no choice but to say no, but my job will not be forever and the good wages will end sooner or later when they decide to end my contract, and with me never being able to guarantee more than a single day a week, I *need* more financial help or I will lose my home and be in debt with the bills and the bank, pushing me even deeper into the pit. I live alone so am responsible for everything myself.

    Basically I can earn at most an average of £226 a week for three nights during busier times, totalling £904 a month, and in those rare months where I get paid 5 times £1,130.


    I can earn £306 (not including council tax benefit) a week for doing LESS WORK, totalling £1,224 for 4 pay days a month and £1,530 for months where there are 5 pay days.

    What the hell, man? The system doesn’t work. I don’t want to be one of those scum living on benefits forever, but I don’t have a career at my job… I’m just a “flexible resource” for the company, as they put it. If I’m offered the chance to sweat my backside off for the company LESS than I currently do for MORE MONEY, should I take that opportunity or just say no and continue to struggle?

  10. I wish I had found this post before i took on a job. i started work on the 9th sept and all of my benefits were stopped immediately leaving me with no money to live on until I received my pay 3 days ago, my last benefit payment went on electricity and gas to ensure I had light and hot water leaving me without any money for food or anything else, my pay check is only just enough to cover my rent arrears due to housing benefits being stopped and to pay for next months rent. I have no money to pay for anything else …………. No food, electricity, gas or even money to get to work.
    I think it’s time to hang myself and make Cameron happy !!!

  11. After reading one particular comment, I felt I should add something. Each person circumstances are different and should be taking into consideration before casting negative aspersions. People who fall into the long term unemployed may be a result of a disability or criminal convictions. The benefit system is there to help and not as a means to discriminate.
    There are many who make a concerted effort to find work that will make them better off financially. But it appears that being assessed and going over by as little as 50 pence could see an individual receiving no help at all.
    Sanctions that leave you with no benefits but you are required to attend mandatory work programmes. In all honesty how do they expect these individuals will eat, pay utilities, bills etc or even attend to sign on.
    I think for those who have jobs be thankful and grateful that you at not in the position of millions of others. It’s easy to cast stones when unemployment does affect you. Many people have lost relatives via suicide as a result of being unemployed.
    A jobcentre Adviser should advise the claimants of opportunities available to them explain what is mandatory or what is not, encourage them to taking up education/training if it will make their job prospect better. Inform them of other benefits that they are entitled to as to any complaints procedures that are in place should they not be satisfied. Jobcentre should be a place where people receive genuine assistance. Advisers also have a discretionary element to their role which they rarely use.
    Work placement should be altered, in that they should be paid work at the going rate. I see no reason why a company should receive money for taking on a individual to work for FREE for 30 hours a week. Doing exactly what their other paid members of staff are doing. Bearing in mind some those part-taking have been sanctioned, receiving no benefits.
    For those who are employed how would you like your employer to inform you/partner or spouse that they will work 30 hours a week for a month and receive no pay! If you believe that this is fine I suggest you give a months wages to family member or friend who is currently unemployed as a gesture of good will.

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