A couple of weeks ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I registered for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) online and then presented myself at my nearest Job Centre Plus for an interview and to sign the many forms that today’s Government demands.
The process for applying, and subsequently receiving, JSA, was pretty straightforward, but fraught with anomalies. Like having to do it online, having a mobile phone to receive texts, and needing to ring an 0845 premium phone number, if you have queries. Not exactly the best way to spend the £71 per week some job seekers, including myself, receive, My personal circumstances, like others, mean I receive no additional benefits, so living on 70 quid a week, is virtually impossible.
The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) want to see their “clients” (their description, not mine) back in work as quickly as possible, so they provide a number of support resources to facilitate this, whilst also ensuring they check that their clients are doing what they said they will. That’s fair enough, but when it means three separate visits to the same Job Centre, incurring unnecessary travel expenses, the already inadequate and stretched allowance has already been busted.
Now, I’m fortunate enough to have been able to plan financially in advance for a period out of work, so I can get to where I need to be without having to worry about how to pay for the bus, but not everyone is as fortunate as myself.
Tomorrow, I shall venture down to the Job Centre to sign on, and prove that I’m available for and have been actively seeking work. Which I have been, and a number of applications are currently being processed by various organisations. To this end I will show my advisor the diary I’ve kept detailing my job seeking activities. You may be interested to learn that the Govt only expects job seekers to undertake a total of three job seeking activities per week. Three? Per week? WTF? It will be interesting to see what my advisor makes of my long list of activities and applications I’ve noted on their (crappy, photo copied hundreds of times) form.
Someone asked me the other day, why I’d registered for JSA, and for a variety of reasons, I did resist doing so for a while. And when I’ve previously been between jobs I didn’t venture online to register, as I didn’t even think to do so. But when it was pointed out to me that my NI stamp wasn’t being paid during those times (which were merely a matter of a couple of weeks), I was advised that I should register. I wouldn’t want anything to affect the massive pension the Govt will give me when I reach retirement age.
I’m not relying on the Job Centre to find me a job. Why would I? I’ve been perfectly capable of finding my own way in the world of work for the past 35 years, so why should that change now?
So back to those job websites I go………