Newest Review: ... number. There are so many different options and menus, many of which sound similar, and it is sometimes difficult to get the right one. ... more
Here to help?
Job Centre Plus
Member Name: birdcharlotte
Job Centre Plus
Advantages: Free clothes, CRB check may be paid for
Disadvantages: Unhelpful and rude staff, Slow in processing claims.
I first signed on to JSA last February, I completed my claim over the phone on the 9th February and was told that someone would contact me to set up a face to face interview to finish off my claim and allow me to receive my benefits. After two weeks of hearing nothing, I called the Job Centre three times, and was told that I had not put in a claim and had to start from scratch.
So I started from scratch and put my claim in at the end of February and was told that I would have to go and sign on every 2 weeks with proof that I have been searching for work.
Despite the fact that I had been signing on for 2 months, I still had not received any payment. I had visited the centre four times and not once been given any assistance on searching for work.
At the end of April, I was offered work through a nursing agency. I informed the person that I signed on with every week and told them that I was not guarenteed hours but atleast I might get a little more than I am on JSA.
In the middle of May, I left the agency and signed back on, I was informed that I could put in for a 'rapid reclaim' which would guarantee me money within 30 days. When signing back on, the person I was sigining on with did not understand why I had signed off when working for an agency, as I could have carried on claiming as long as I did not work more than 16 hours.
After 8 weeks of waiting for my rapid reclaim money to go into my bank, I was offered a full time permanent position at my current job. When I chased up payment with the job centre, I was told that my claim had just been processed and I would be getting paid soon. Also, I asked if I could use their printer facilities and was told to go and sign on with working links, who would let me use their printer.
===My Thoughts on this 'Service'===
To me, the Job Centre is a complete joke.
After weeks of chasing them for money and asking for help in searching for work, I felt that I had achieved nothing. For 8 weeks, I was living on nothing and dependant on my boyfriend to give me money for interviews, stamps and envelopes.
When I was told I did not have to sign off when working for the agency, I was furious that I hadn't been told this before as I was only receiving six hours a week from the agency, so was still living on pretty much nothing.
Furthermore, they should not claim that a 'rapid reclaim' will be processed within 30 days if it is going to take them 8 weeks, once again, I was living on nothing!
However, when I explained to the person that I was signing with that I had no money to buy interview clothes, I was told to choose some clothes from Topshop and they would provide me with a voucher to pay for it. So the job centre brought me a skirt, heels and vest top, which totalled at £98!
Also, when I started working for the nursing agency, the Job Centre paid for my CRB check so that I could start work. However, when I was offered another nursing job, they refused to pay for a CRB until I had been given my working hours.
I found Working Links to be so much more helpful that the Job Centre and will be reviewing this company shortly.
Overall, I feel sorry for anyone who is in the position where they have to sign on and hope that I am never in this position again. The staff do not seem to empathise with any of the people in the centre and see their job as just that..a job, not a place to help people who seriously need it.
If you are signing on and feel that you are not getting all of the help that you need, look for your local Working Links branch and sign up with them.
Summary: I feel sorry for anyone else who has to go through this!