Staring poverty in the face

jcp-sign

Today I was informed by the Jobcentre that due to my appointment missed three weeks ago, I would no longer receive benefits, leaving me with £85 a month to live on.

I had attended that place of misery and contempt the day before to see my adviser. She put me on a two day “Finding and Getting a Job” training course, which I found useful. I attended it unaware that I was no longer receiving any support from the Jobcentre.

I had provided all evidence of my Saturday job, only for my employer to be asked to provide more information.

lifelineA friend said his benefits had been stopped for two weeks, after telling them in advance that he would not be able to attend an appointment. He never received money owed. I have heard of people being sent to interviews when they do not meet the basic job description.

They had all my personal details, why did it take 27 days for them to contact me? Why couldn’t they have asked why I missed the appointment, or at least given me warning that my lifeline was about to be cut?

Stop playing with my money Jobcentre! Unemployment is no game.

Stop playing with my money Jobcentre! Unemployment is no game.

Luckily although I am nearly out of money to live on, I have received support from family and friends. I have food parcels, tins and the freezer stock. I walk wherever I can to save on public transport. I am making do with a mobile on which I can hardly hear someone’s voice, rather than buying a new one. “Make do and mend” and “waste not want not” are my new job war mottos.

What is annoying is that I did everything that was asked of me. When I was aware I had forgotten for the first time I rang them up and went in on the day. I provided full evidence of my Saturday work and full evidence of my job hunt, I attended all meetings apart from two which I forgot, as I attended the Jobcentre so regularly it was difficult to keep up. I will need a diary now just to put their appointments in.

Despite having a first in Careers Development I even went to the optional (so I was told when I attended) Group Information Session, where I was reminded about how I look for work, along with repeated information about sanctions this, sanctions that.

Where is the compassion? Where is the accountability? Where is the respect for those who are suffering? As a big faceless organisation I do not know who to address my complaint to. I don’t want to bite the hand that literally feeds me, but if I had more financial commitments I would have been tearing my hair out for the 26 days it took them to write to me.

computer_trouble

An adviser smirked when I said that I could now buy a printer as I had food. It seemed like a big expense, but I needed to print out job search documents without paying 10p per sheet at the library every time.

In between saving up for one, I was referred to their free printing service. It involved a computer with a program different from Word, so every time I copied and pasted from Word it wouldn’t format and I spent about an hour playing about with it until my c.v could actually be printed on two pages. The reason given was “Word is expensive”. Once finally sorted, I had to ask permission from an employee to take it off the printer. You don’t get much more patronising than that.

There was no one to assist and while I was struggling, I heard two employees chatting. One imitated a man’s broken English. This father had just come in to get a bus pass so that he could take his children to school. I found the lack of understanding and respect disgusting. Clearly he had never experienced the daily financial hardship of being unemployed. The job seeker was desperate and needed his help yet he and his colleague thought it appropriate to joke about his language ability, something which was probably holding him back.

My adviser was really helpful and thankfully had people skills. I won’t be referred to her this time I expect. I am going to the Jobcentre tomorrow to get myself off the streets, so to speak. Although thankfully I have accommodation provided for. I would now be in debt as a result of the delay, had I not saved.

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9 Comments

Filed under Jobhunting

9 responses to “Staring poverty in the face

  1. sasastro

    It’s dreadful the way they treat people, no compassion and no understanding . 😦

  2. Oh god… the dreaded Job Centre! Heard many horror stories about them… That’s the last place I wanna go… Seems so unfair that they take away money when you are actively seeking a job whereas those spending years on the dole never have it taken from them!

    Chin up, there’s bound to be something around the corner for you 🙂

    • Thank you, it’s been great to get support from readers and followers on here. There’s nothing like a dwindling bank balance to give me extra motivation in the job hunt. I’m still trying to make lemonade out of the lemons life is throwing at me…(I posted on that subject previously)

  3. I am so sorry to hear this news! I worry constantly about not only being unemployed, but loosing the unemployment benefit as well! Not fun. Not fun at all!

    • Thanks for your comment, yes times are hard enough without attending the job centre every week/2 times a week/going to their mickey mouse how to get a job talks whilst juggling interview dates and application forms. I’d been in the jobcentre the day before the missed appointment for a meeting and I then went to a back to work training course – you’d think that would demonstrate that I was still actively seeking work.

  4. Thankfully I haven’t had any specific trouble with my JobCentre (knock wood) … Though the other day when I asked about reimbursement for a proper suit I bought recently for a job interview, I was told I needed to have ask them beforehand and to have purchased it from specific shops (none of which stock sizes big enough to fit me.. I checked when I was shopping for the suit, and I definitely don’t fit into Burtons ‘skinny fit’ range). So instead the £100 or so is sitting on my credit card, and I can’t afford to pay it off. Fun times 🙂

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