At my job centre interview this morning my details on the database were changed so that I could be moved from income support to job seekers allowance.
The change will happen on my son's birthday.
"Oh how lovely," I said to the job centre man. "Happy Birthday son, on this day your parent is being moved onto Jobseeker's Allowance whereby you will both be penalised if she does not actively look for work. When she does get work you can expect to spend less time with her. Many happy returns."
"Don't see it like that," said the job centre man.
I was silent but I wish I'd said 'tell that to my child'.
Mistress Ha Ha from boot camp was moved from one benefit to the other on her daughter's birthday. She was panicking yesterday when I saw her. She wants to go self employed but is worried because she doesn't have many clients (she's trained in a form of massage)
Job Centre man explained self employment to me a bit and said you have to estimate your earnings. I said 'what if your earnings are really low' and he said: 'the system understands that people might be on a low salary.' 'I might only earn £80 a month!' Fear and confusion, potent little cocktail that.
We can all, he said, look for jobs we want to do for the first 12 weeks, he thinks. After that we can't, we have to go for what's offered to us, which might be something we just do not want to do - like in my case - shelf stacking. Too bad.
Volunteering? Still have to actively seek for paid employment.
I think you can do work experience but I'm not sure for how long
that translates as - you can work for free - but I'm not sure for how long.
"Our records show that the child you are responsible for will be 09 [soon]
Once they reach this age, you will no longer be able to claim Insome support because of being a lone parent or single person with responsibility for the child."
Quite the task master our symbolic husband.
I must say, the perks are quite good if you do shelf stack for 16 hours or more. You get a one off payment of £250 and £60 a week for the first year (expect hardship in your second if you don't get a comparable raise) Housing benefit is payed for a month so you worry about that, presumably, after your first pay packet.
Housing benefit. Ha Ha said her claim was stopped and she had to re-apply and was given no warning or anything. Jobcentre man said I wouldn't have to do that, this is a "seamless transfer".
These changes to lone parents, forcing them out to work, is so patronising and unnecessary.
Stress stress stress stress stress all tied up with Red Tape.
Many happy returns kids!