Newest Review: ... on is a different ball game and a lazy power mad wannabe's dream. I have worked non stop since I was 15, was then made redu... more
Out of work, always sign on
Member Name: tlmartin
Date: 06/06/09, updated on 06/06/09 (1343 review reads)
Advantages: NI contributions, £48 a week to tide you over
Disadvantages: You loose NI contributions if you don;t sign on and when you need them they wont be there
I have had to use the job centre a couple of times, and to be hoenst, if your out of work you really should sign on, otherwise you will loose out.
When I left university, I managed tog et a bit of temp work on a 6 month contract. After that finished I was unemployed and waioting for a enw job to come through. I was very much hopeful for the job I was in the process of interviews with etc, and as I had some savings, and not wanting to be the implied "scrounger" that the general public refer to Job Seekers, I didn't sign on. This was the worst mistake of my life as I will now explain.
After 2 months this job did not come through, due to internal company politics. I was now unemployed, properly and loking for work, so as savings were running down I signed on. I have always been wise with money so I naturally had investments, my own house etc, while at uni, but I was below the £4k savings, and had nothign coming in so I signed on income based. They needed to know my entire life history. Ok I can accept it, afterall you wouldn't want someone wokring or getting unearned income, or having a few million in the bank signing on and claiming tax payer money, as much as you wouldn't really want people lazing about not bothering to lok for work claiming money.
I verified all the information they wanted and was paid the £48-£52 whatever it is every 2 weeks. I had to go in every 2 weeks to discuss what I had done etc. Now in Stafford which is where I was, the Job Centre there was terrible, they were really stuck up, and they made you feel like a low life, scrounger of society when you walked in, absolutely terrible place. Although to be fair, in essence I was only claiming back some of my own taxes, afterall we all pay NI from our wages, National Insurance, that is an Insurance policy to cover us, should we be out of work or fall ill. (If you don't claim it, its like paying for contents insurance of your house and if your burgled paying for all the replacement stuff yourself, not using the insurance you pay for). So I didn't let the attitude here bother me. |I just went in, did my bit and continued to look for work. One thing I did that was quite amusing, was while unemployed I saw an advert in the paper for a college course to help you get work, by giving you a certificate in Communication skills (call centre techniques, customer handling etc.) It was 2 days a week for 4 weeks. I signed on to it. This was back in 2003, there were no EMA's, iot was not a proper colelge/uni course, it was an adult ed course, to help people find work, they actually helped with CV, etc. As soon as I told Job Centre, they said "oooh your not going to be able to claim for JSA now, because your on a course, you can;t be out looking for work, and its not a course we have put you on" so there I was trying to actively find work and help me find work, even basic call centre work, and I was about to be punished, only when I told them the title of the course as they were filling in the removal of funds paperwork did the person say "oooh yeah thats one of our courses we accept that, so you'll be fine". So this was a course i had to find myself, and they never advised me. Also if it hadn;t been one of theirs, for me trying to improve my employability, even though the course cost nothing, but also gave me nothign back (as i wouldn't become a proper student) I was also going to loose out. Great logic there, someone makes an effort and you punish them (but wait I mentioned I dind't sign on for the first 2 months I was unemployed .... so it gets better).
I managed to land an 11 month contract teaching ICT in adult education, so signed off and did that. The 11 months came to an end and so naturally my money was low so I went to sign on, because again I had paid for my NI, but i was now living with someone who earnt a decent salary, but we both paid equal for the house etc. I wasn;t able to claim for income based JSA as the household income was over a certain amount, but in sessence she and I had contributed to NI, so realistically I was entitled to something while I looked for work, afterall she doesn;t give me money, and neither should she, she earnt it. I asked to sign on Contribution based, which means it based upon your NI contributions, you get it for 6 months (enough time for me to find a new job)
"oooh sorry sir, you can't get that, your previous financial years NI contribution is not complete". So because 14 months previously I hadn;t signed on, because I had savings, not wanting to be a "scrounger" as the papers/public label job seekers, because I acted foolishly nobel, I went for 2 months without contributing to NI. I had contributed to NI fully the financial year previously to that, I had contributed fully financial years previously to that tooo, but the previous financial year to which I was claiming in was not complete because I thought i was 90% set for the job I was waiting for, so there was no need to sing on and take the tax payers money, because of that I could not sign on to contribution based, when essentially I was actually in need of it, for me to personally live, for me to contribute to the house, for me to pay for petrol to find work and stamps to send out applications etc.
I still had to attend every 2 weeks, because what they would pay was my NI contributions this financial year while I was out of work. So I was also travelling to the Job Centre every 2 weeks to receive no cash, but to have the government make NI contributions for my, which go towards, NHS, future joblessness and ofcause my possible pension in 50 years time.
I got a job, hated it and decided to go do teacher training. I quite the job and had a month off inbetween to prepare for a very hectic uni year (as teacher training is extremely hectic (your essentially wokring full time, learnign full time and at uni and doing coursework, you do not get much free time))
For that month off I didn;t need to sign on, I was comfortable in my living, I had some savings, but I didn;t know after finishing uni if I would be in a job or not. So while I did not need the JSA money I still had to sign on immediately for that 1 month between work and uni starting, and claim my £48-£52 (whatever it is ) a week, just to ensure my NI contributios were paid so if in 12 months time I was out of uni and no job and in need of cash, I could actually sign on again!! I was in Telford this time, and I must say they were extremely nice and helpful. They were pleasant, they understood logic, they understood common sense. For instance while I still had to look for work, they also understood that after their interview and singing on within 3 weeks I would be signing back off, and practically applying for work, and getting an interview, nothign would happen within 3 weeks, afteralkl time to send out application form, attend interview, be offered a job usually takes longer than 3 weeks, and also if anyone did offer a job no one would want someone just for a week or 2, so there was no chance of me getting a job, because I already had something lined up for me. They made the system easy and friendly to me, understanding that factor.
So if someone is signed on, don't have a go at them really if your out of work, you should sign on straight away, make sure those NI payments are made, because that day you do need JSA or anythign else base don NI contributions, if you've been proud the year before and not signed on you will loose out, due to the government system.
So in conclusion if you are out of work, sign on immediately, even if you have savings, just get on contribution based for 6 months to be paid, still go the following 6 months when your not paid to get your NI contributiosn so that the following April if you still have no work, and still have savings you can sign back on in a fresh finacial year for 6 months more of payments.
So the most important thing you get from the job centre is your NI contributions (after all that also adds to your state pension, afterall you don;t want to miss out, and end up with either a lower amount, or a bill to top up your NI payments. Further to this, in all those years you have worked you have paid NI, its only fair you get to claim on your insurance policy when your out of work, afterall you pay 12% of your salary into it every year, and so does your employer!!!
In relation to job centres they very much vary, Stafford was terrible, lazy, judgemental, (even though my taxes for all those previous years and from my savings, actually paid their salary). Stafford would get 1 star
Yet Telford was very friendly, understanding, had common sense (very rare in public sector today) they were helpful, I have seen how they helped other people find work, always took 20mins atleast with each person to go through jobs on the system, etc. Telford would get 5 stars
Overall my quick rating is on the whole system, being rediculous, punishing those who don't claim when they don't need to, to save the government money for those who do need the money.
This review very much focuses on the whole JSA/Job Centre system rather than the actual places, purely because these are not often known facts, and they don't always tell you, afterall this is the main purpose of the Job Centre to help you find work, and also to help you survive while out of work.
Also don;t forget the many benefits you get while on JSA (although usually Income based, but most shops don;t know the differnt and if you say JSA, they ask nothign else)
Free eye tests
Free training courses
discounts in some places
Summary: Always sign on when out of work even if you know you have something in 1 week, 1 months time