Before I could answer he started going on about something like how people like me like to toggle on, on benefits while others are begging for whatever it takes to get a better quality of life. My eyebrow must have looked like a wiggly caterpillar.
|Cabbage White (Barry White)|
So I interrupted
And putting on my best Barry White voice, asked what made him say that? It seems he had read somewhere I was on Job Seekers Allowance. I patiently corrected him, and suggested he'd read the wrong record. I do patient (pun intended)
Not that it was any of his damn business.
I've never claimed unemployment related benefits in my life, for instance Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance, (ESA) nor do I intend to. I've never been inside a Job Centre. I'm not allowed to use one either - I'll come to that in a minute.
I've never 'signed on'. Ever. No disrespect to those that do. I just don't see the benefit.
The confusion often arises because even government departments get mixed up between ESA and DLA, which is presumed interchangeable. My experience of ESA only comes from helping people out with their claims, and as far as I'm aware unless you are in the ESA Support Group you are required to attend regular Job Centre interviews and it ceases when you find work.
You can receive DLA whether working or not. It's not means tested and not counted as income. It's there to enable you to be just like anyone else.
There is, a tiny quirk in the system
The government, despite its rhetoric about getting people more productive has failed to address the issue. Unless you are claiming JSA or ESA, Job Centre services are not available.
For instance, if you have a job, and want to change jobs, you can't use a Job Centre.
Daft, isn't it?
That is more than a disadvantage than you may realise. Many of the people I know are in work, with children in low paid or low paid part time jobs, and are willing to take on whatever work they can get their hands on. It's a bit 'old skool' around here. They see the means to getting income is to work hard, and long tough hours if and when the work is available.
But because they are employed they can, the Job Centre told them, use the computers and take notes on a notepad, however other services such as speaking to an advisor, training, educational opportunities, the usage of phones, access to the internet and free postage, getting their bus fares back (for instance) they have to finance themselves. There is a tremendous amount of help available for the unemployed. But if you have employment? Stuffed.
This is my experience too. Meanwhile, one grabs every opportunity.
As for the consultants opinion? I'm well aware of the administrative cycle they get drawn into, and I get thats frustrating, but hey, don't paint everyone with the same brush.