Things every jobseeker should know (and JobCentres don’t want you to) – Part 1: dodging 0845 numbers

I have not updated this blog for a while now. That is because I had been working. After nine months doing a maternity-cover job, I am back on the dole and have more stories to share.

Except I am not. On the dole.  But more on that in my next post.

This being my second round as an official, government-stamped jobseeker, I felt like a hardened “veteran”, ready to take the old bull by its horns, or in Job Centre-speak, face the dreary sign-on days with a (forced) optimistic smile, a (pretend) calm demeanour and my jobseekers’ “book” filled out every fortnight with “the six main things I have done to find work”.

I was surprised by a few  new discoveries, which in turn infuriated and saddened me. If you are unemployed, and about to claim JSA (jobseeker’s allowance), you might like to be aware of them too.

Most Job Centres now seem to offer you only 0845 telephone numbers to make your initial inquiry about signing on. These are numbers that are supposedly charged at the same rate as a local call from a BT landline but can cost a small fortune if you rely on mobile phones. Remember: it takes 30 minutes or more to apply for JSA on the phone.

What can you do:

1. Go to SAYNOTO0870.COM, and search for a cheaper standard telephone number, or even a free one. Not all JobCentres are listed on that site though, so if you can’t find your local one, try option 3 below.

2. Borrow the phones from your local Job Centre Plus: if you have the stamina and patience, that is. My local Job Centre is only two minutes away but they also only have a couple of phones and are usually occupied by people who have had the same idea. Note that at a Job Centre you will have no privacy either.

3. If you have Internet access at home, don’t bother with the phone: apply for your JSA online – you can do this now on the Directgov site. It can take you up to 30 minutes, as there are quite a few forms to fill in (you can save and return to it later if you can’t finish in one go), but , believe me, it will save you a fair amount of stress.

On the phone, chances are you will be kept on a queue for a long time, or the Job Centre’s computer system will crash half way through the 30-minute telephone registration (this happened to me) and they will ask you to call again later.

4. Free numbers ARE available for the JobCentre, surprise, surprise. It is only when you have clicked on this button

 

on Directgov.uk site that the free 0800 numbers are finally revealed on the next page:



 

 

5. Free numbers are also revealed if you ring the 0845 number: yes, that’s right. You will find that when you call their 0845 number, you are referred to the same free number above.

So why not make these 0800 numbers available and searchable from the start?

Job Centres are deliberately burying their freephones away to avoid being inundated with “irrelevant” calls. The 0845 numbers are supposed to work like a firewall, discouraging time wasters to ring in – that is the explanation I received on the phone from the Brighton and Hove Job Centre, which still offered a local enquiries number.

When paycheques have stopped, savings are low and every penny counts, it can feel like the last straw.

Am I really a time waster? Ironically, it feels as if the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) is wasting my time and (hard-earned) cash to make it as hard as possible for me to claim a basic taxpayer’s right.

I came across this fellow Jobseekers’ Rant blog today, which made me nod in agreement. It is true: buying newspapers to look for job adverts, taking public transport to go to interviews, buying paper and ink cartridges to print out your CVs, all costs money.

For a jobseeker on a £60-plus allowance a week, a £20 spend a week on buses and trains means a third of the allowance gone.  I catch myself becoming a hermit, going out less and less, as once I step out of the house, money starts rolling out of my purse. Money I can’t afford to waste.

By phone or online, once the application form is submitted, an adviser should call you within two working days to set up a first appointment for you at your local Job Centre Plus.

Then the fun begins…

If you have never claimed JSA before, you may benefit from browsing through this Jobseeker’s Allowance Survival Guide, which gives you a brutally honest picture of what to expect and what rules you will be expected to play by.

More tips in my next post here, but if you have any to add, please feel free to share them in the comments’ section.

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109 Comments

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109 responses to “Things every jobseeker should know (and JobCentres don’t want you to) – Part 1: dodging 0845 numbers

  1. The 0845 are “support” based services.

    The 0800 055 66 88 number is a freephone number for a new claim.

    • Gemma

      i called today to get and appointment on the 0845 number and because there was a strange buzzing noise on the line the guy called me back on an 0800 number. The number is 08000232635.

      Hope this helps everyone :)

  2. Hi, I must actually say, as this is the first page I have read since I became aware of your site, than you will have to forgive me as to whether or not any info I provide is actually something you can make use of.
    Firstly, “A Government cannot deny a citizen the right to claim Social Security if they (the claimaint) have adhered to all conditions of such benefit”.
    If you have been denied a new claim for benefits (to which I cannot theoretiaclly see where you would have breached any conditions which would lead to this denial of benefit claim in being legal) then they will be denying you benefits in which “The law says you need to live on each week”, which therefore means these people are depriving you in terms of “Human Rights”.
    Seeing as you have come out of employment, than you should automatically have no issues in having a new claim accepted. Even if you had been sacked from a previous job, this would not affect your entitlement to claim. The only thing it may affect is to how much benefit money you will receive once the claim has been accepted. This will also apply to anyone who got booted off a Work Scheme for whatever reason, which then led to them having all of their benefits stopped. These people (or the majority of them at least) would therefore be left to think to themselves as to “Why should I continue to sign on, if I am not receiving Jobseekers Allowance, but by doing so means that your N.I Stamp will be paid”. With that thought in mind, people sign off, and live life on whatever other ways and means of getting money to make ends meet in which they can. However, when you are signing on, even when your money has been stopped, it is your signature alone that releases any payments that you are due to be paid.
    Now, who’s to say that the Jobcentre or DWP are legitimately following what the Government are enforcing? The only evidence the Job Centre will have on file is your signature (which allows a payment to be released). This information can then be provided as proof to suggest that benefits never actually ever stopped being paid ;-). but seeing as no issue was raised by the jobseeker they either take what they say as gospel, or sign off.
    In signing off, you have just given the Jobcentre the and DWP the ability to wipe your claim off file, and therefore possibly allowed them to get away with any unlawful benefit ssanctions which they have imposed on the Jobseeker. If you do continue to sign on, but then later decide to go the full distance and fight them in a Tribunal Hearing, chances are, they will backout at that stage, and the appeal for your benefit money to be re-instated will be made in your favour.
    Obviously, it’s a long, draining process, but if you genuinely feel that you are being screwed over, then I suggest you get all the evidence to suggest what you are being put through as being wrong together, take it to your nearest CAB (or any other type of business they provides free support) and then get them to represent you all the way. This will then be shown to the DWP or Job Centre, that you intend to take everything seriously and to the extent of legal action if required.
    You may be able to do it by yourself, but it will take a lot of time, and a lot of research to make you appear to the DWP & Job Centre as someone to be taken seriously, and has presented themselves with knowledge that could indicate that you could cause quite a bit of hassle on your own if it’s not stopped before hand. This is them where they will go right to the last stage before it goes to the The Court of Law, to which they will wait and see in hope that you backout either due to being financially restricted, or just because you feel the whole ordeal could be too much stress to be bothered in going through.
    All it is, is a case of seeing who wishes to call each others bluff first. Chances are if it is that you can provide a genuine case in which you have followed all procedures to the extent in which you feel hard done by when they unlawfully stop your claim, than your virtually laughing all the way.
    The fact that so many people will just leave them to continue and get away with it is almost possibly due to having the it set in their minds that either

    A, They are worried about their benefits be stoped if they are seen to be causing a problem over something in which they may have good reason to do so.
    or
    B. They have the attitude that because they are realistically (though not directly fighting against “The Government”, than this is something that would not be worth even trying to tackle.

    Which is why, when they decide to stop individuals benefits (such as mine) and they have done it to the extent in which I can virtually skip and jump merrily all the way to a Tribunal Hearing and not even think teice of backing down, purely because I now have nothing to lose as all future benefits have been suspended, and the with the minset that I stand to be taken to court in order for companies that have not received due bills, is the reason in which I have no issue in telling anyone how much of a screwed up system the Job Centre & DWP companies actually run.
    Finally, I will say that all my information has come from research on the net, and that most of it is now no longer available in the public domain due to “Takedown” requests in which search engine providers like Google are presented with, after information has surfaced that could somewhat cause a bit of a fuss. This information would then possibly be made available via the Freedom of Information route. Where you have to declare that you will not publish any information that is released to you that is relevant to the information you are looking for. Same again really, it’s just another way in making the information less easier to obtain without having to go through more hassle to obtain something you have a right to in the first place.
    With that said, is also the reason in which I have not provided any links to the sources in which I obtained my information from, as if I did, than it is highley likely that the webpages containin the information will be deleted.

    Cheers, and hope this helps

  3. stephen hart

    thanks for all the info really appreciated, ive just dialled the freephone number from my mobile phone (t-mobile) which has no credit and to my amazement im currently waiting in the cue. so already u have save me a couple pounds on my phone bill . respect. we need more people like yourself and the person who also gave great legal information. i think a lot of time the system puts people off what they are entitled to bacause of the hastle involved but you have to fight for your rights. if thats the way it is, you just have to accept it is the way it is and you cant change it, so if that means spending 3 hours 1 day on a telephone then it has to be done. the cost of the call from a landline has put me off before but not anymore as its free. i will tell any1 about this i.e friends, family. makes me sick the way the government are so fly and sneaky. morally incorrect
    thanks again

    • Hi Stephen,

      I am so glad the information was useful to you. I will try to keep on adding any useful tips I come across. Please do contact me if there are any particular areas where you’d like help/advice in.

      • Callum

        Hi Chie I have a few questions if I may? 1.Do they know when you log on to job-match site aka Jobcentre+ site as they request you go on there everyday.
        2. If I was to put down random jobs would they ask questions because my advisor said hes going to send my job search form off because he dosent think I put enough down to show im looking for work.

        Im trying to get into education and getting a job is a priority but educations my #1 , and I need to live right and when I get a career I will be paying it back anyways thru tax so I figured I want to make it as easy as possible.

        If you have any more interesting info please let me know.

        Thanks , Callum.

      • Heath

        can you confirm that 4 weeks holiday is allowed for each year of Job Seeking. So far no break for the last 4 yrs as informed had to be available for work at all times

  4. ES40

    The 0800 0556688 number is the ONLY number to make a new claim, you cannot make a claim on an 0845# the ONLY other way to make a claim is online. If you want to phone the Job Centre or the Benefit Centre you cannot be put through by calling the 0800#. The 0800# is also free from most major mobile networks, Orange, T mobile, Vodaphone, Tesco, Virgin (O2 & 3 probably). After attending the jobcentre your advisor should give you a landline contact telephone number, it should be on your JSA agreement. An online claim is treated as made from the date on which you complete it and submit it, so saving it and coming back to it could cost you money if you leave it to after midnight. if you put a mobile number into an online claim you can expect a text within 2 days, if you have not had the text or a phone call you should phone the 0800# on the 2nd day.

  5. Shelly

    It’s been a week since I completed an online form to the JSA and they haven’t been in touch. I called the 0800 number and tapped in my postcode and was given the 0845 number, I am not a BT customer so hanging on the phone has been costing me and I still haven’t been able to speak to anyone. I am really desperate and its now a bank holiday Monday looming, so I doubt I will hear anything then. I applied for HB and took all my forms and ID to Ealing council and the staff were appallingly rude on reception and also where I waited nearly 2 hours to be seen. I understand they must get a tough time but not from everyone. Its distressing enough without them making you feel worse. I face eviction if my rent isn’t paid this month and I have little money left and red letters coming through the letterbox. At the moment I have little faith in either benefit system.

  6. Andy

    Personally, I’d rather starve than claim a benefit. I started a claim but was put off when I was made to feel a failure. I’m not. I’m a carer, unable to continue in the job J had because I was looking after an aged parent. Caring and working took over 100 hours a week and something had to give.
    I’m living off modest savings, for now. Perhaps my patent will do the decent thing and die. I think that’s what the DWP would like.

    • Sam

      As a carer for your elderly parent you may be able to claim Carers Allowance and your parent may be able to claim for Disability Allowance. Claiming Carers Allowances will also pay your NI, even if you don’t actually get any money because it depends on your circumstances. It could help with travel costs, housing, heating, other living costs and costs when travelling with your parent. I gave up work as a accounts asst, 5 years ago to be a carer for my disabled son, so can empathise with your circumstances. I know it can be a frustrating experience applying for the benefits, but you have earned the right to claim benefits and allowances by working previously. Try to think of it like this; if your parent didn’t have such a caring son, then their care would be the responsibility of the local authority and be far more expensive than your benefits. As a carer you didn’t used to be classed as ‘unemployed’ and as such, didn’t have to sign on every 2 weeks.

  7. kaj

    please can someone help me im on jsa i rejected a job offer from tescos who olny offerd me 10 hours aweek max i phoned my adviser at the jobcenter and told her she said to me she wel deal with me when i sign on next time and said i might get a sanction? can she do that to me by law? on my very first sign on she sanction me coz she said i didnt do my job search right. plz if anyone can give me any sort off advice.

    • Mr Baker

      Kaj,

      I used to work for the jobcentre until a few years ago and i had to resign in disgust. have come across this scenario many times. As far as i am aware you can turn down a job which offers less than 16hrs of work per week. You cannot be sanctioned. If you are threatened with sanctions ask to speak to the manager. If they press ahead with it, comment on the form that the job was under 16 hrs per week in large letters. Hopefully this will (if you have a knowledgeable Decision Maker) draw his attention to the correct regs. Should this fail and you get a sanction ask for a RECONSIDERATION ( DM will look at the case again ) if that fails straight to your MP and solicitor for appeal and explanation. Best of Luck

      • maureen

        hi mr baker, sorry to trouble u but i need some advice please. i made a new claim for jsa last week and ive been told it will take two weeks to sort this claim out, but in the meantime i have no other money coming in and im at my wits end with worry. my advisor sez because i have copd that i should also look on their forem for other benefits that i may be able to apply for but she didnt tell me what ones? is it possible while my claim is being dealt with for me to claim a crisis loan. many thanks. maureen

    • george

      i know i am like half a year late with this,but id say NO, they could or would be putting you at a financial disadvantage maybe causing you to become homeless,how did you get on with these dirt bags.You have right to appeal against any sanctions and 80% of cases go in the favor of the claimant ,its costing those idiots in government 80million a year to fight cases at tribunals they haven’t a hope of wining until they become above the law,which wont be too soon the way the uk is going.

  8. wayne

    jobcentres only kick us off for minor things so there statitstics are good for the news and bosses saying employment is down. All they are going to create is more theives and crime because people have got to live by what means is necisary.

  9. a marriott

    andy from sunny brum not!
    Claiming the new jsa/esa when you were used to the old sytem seems to be quite complicated when you get through your given 5 choices…..1 income sopport 2 jsa 3 esa 4 something else 5 completely something else….if income support has stopped why is it advertised?
    a nother

  10. Mr Angry

    Jsa regime is crap and disrespectful to any one ! they suspend your benefit for any slight minor discretion. I was late for the CV club ad all my benefits were suspended including my housing benefit – I have not paid my rent for two months now! I was genuinely apologetic and appealed! It sucks! No wonder they are employing more and more security guards!!

    • sarah

      i fully understand i am a lone parent and have just started signing on as my daughter is now 5. i have been sanctioned today for not appling for a job they asked me to apply for even though i have applied for 3 other jobs i found myself. she told me to expect the papers this week and if i fail to bring a cv next time i sign on i could lose my benefits..if i had of lost my job seekers would i lose my other benefits also ie housing benefit, child benefit and council tax. ant advice would be greatly appreciated.

  11. bob

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE

  12. Yianna

    Well this government is a joke and insult to what was once a great nation…. The secret agenda in Europe is to bring the working class and professionals down to the level of India & China and for there to be either super poor or mega rich….. But what the idiots at the top here fail to realise is that in those countries people are encouraged to use their own initiative to earn a living. You have street vendors who are not governed by any tax laws, H&S rules that are easy to live by and cheaper food and living quarters…. Believe me if this government has it’s way we will all be living like that within 10 years possibly even earlier.

  13. Yianna

    Hahaha and the joke begins….. I have come online to complete my JSA application online as that’s what is forced down our ears from the phone in option… Just to be told that: as you have claimed ESA recently. You have to go through the phone system!!!!! Dear God give me STRENGTH, please…. :-)

  14. Nicola

    I called to claim income support on 2/7/2012 and got told it would take 2 weeks to process. Expecting a call from them telling me when my money would be in my account. So i waited and waited and recieved a letter yesterday stating that im not entitled to income support. Im 36 weeks pregnant and havent got a clue what to do now. Dont know if i can claim jsa as al be in labour when time to sign on for first time. Please help me somebody with options of what to do. Urgent

  15. Garrog

    Hi Nicola – I’m saddened to hear that finances are a worry at this important time for you.

    Unfortunately benefits entitlements are complex and very individual; I would be suspicious of anyone who can claim to give a definitive assessment without detailed information on your circumstances and a good understanding of the welfare system.

    Amongst many unknown factors, I don’t know whether you have been working until recently; if not, for example, then my understanding is that Income Support is the normal income-replacement benefit in this situation during later pregnancy, so I would initially be suspicious of the decision you received stating non-entitlement. Again, I can’t say whether the decision was right or wrong within the law as there may be specific reasons that your situation cannot qualify, but if your recent letter did not sufficiently explain the reason(s) for non-entitlement I would be straight on the ‘phone to the contact centre shown on the header; in the best case you may be able to get a simple error corrected and start receiving Income Support. You may also be offered advice on other benefits, although this is less likely as the benefits contact centres are ‘siloed’. I should also mention that with (almost) any benefit decision there is a right to a re-consideration and/or (for those that are able and where necessary) tribunal appeal.

    I’m disappointed that you have clearly not been given more support to deal with finances by your NHS trust. Ideally you would have already had a full benefits assessment which takes into account benefits, tax credits and grants from a community health team, pregnancy support group, a women’s/cultural/general advice centre or local council, depending on your local arrangements and voluntary services,

    At this point, however, rather than chasing services which may or may not come through for you, you may prefer to take the second best option of taking an on-line assessment. You will find the government benefits assessment at https://www.dwpe-services.direct.gov.uk/portal/page/portal/ba/lp

    In any case, I hope that you are able to secure your finances swiftly so that you can concentrate on maintaining your health and preparing for the birth of your child.

    All the best,
    Garrog.

  16. helen

    nicola you can claim income support appeal hun good luck xx

  17. jan

    i have just had mine jsa sanctioned for 2 weeks for failing to fill in stupid job searches. they are treating us like idiots

    • helene stone

      i’m not geing rude by why not just fill out the job search then you have no reason to get sanctioned?

    • Dean

      This paperwork is not mandatory, you do not have to fill it out if you can talk about the 6 jobs you applied for in detail. They stopped my money i kicked off with the manager and they paid me. They are trying to con people, dont have it. They should educate people about what they want and why, not just punish them and explain after.

    • george

      Thats all they need to apply a sanction,please don’t let them do this.
      Their bloody minded anyway and have targets to hit.I know people who have been squeaky clean and done everything by the book and yet still got sanctioned,they appealed and won their case.Its costing a small fortune in tribunal cases and a huge percentage are being won in favor of the claimant.

      • bobmac

        i was sanctioned last year for missing one working links appointment,two days later received a call from my housing association telling me my rent(housng benefit) was behind,appealed the decision and got it back after a month,and stress! couldnt make an appointment just recently,phoned in to let them know,”why cant you come in” the guy asked, its a wee bit personal i said, not good enough he said,i,m having to report this to the benefits office. surely i dont have to divulge(which was a medical ailment at the time) to a stranger,(and you dont see too many or any immigrants at these working links gestapoisms)

  18. raj kumar

    i live in wolverhampton. on feb 2012 the guardian published that there were 11,500 unemployed and only 1,500 available jobs in wolverhampton. that would mean 10,000 people in wolverhampton should be recieving job seekers allowance no questions asked.

  19. maria

    Please help, last week I went to sign on to be told that i now have to do daily signings? I advised them that I would not be able to attend today as have a gas meter being fitted and they could not give me the exact time only between 8 am and 8 pm I gave the job centre the paper work and she photocopied it my appointment today was at 2pm i called at 1.45 to advise that i am still waiting for them to call and she said because i am a daily signer i would need to come in I adv tht this would not be possible as I have no one else here to wait for the engineer the woman then said that i would have to call in first thing and give a statement as this would need to be reffered to a decision maker, does this mean i will lose my jsa? i am so stressed with all this I am being made to feel like I am cheating them out of money – i have worked for 25 years and never claimed a benefit looking for a job is stressfull enough without all the added worry they put on you!

    • papa

      your story is really similar to mine, worked 25 years, had my allowance stopped for 4 weeks because some idiot didn’t pass on a phone call I made about meeting up with an employer. When I tried to explain it wasnt my mistake and I have no money for food the reply was you can get food parcels… oh wait a minute, no you can’t they are shut right now. They failed to warn me about the sanction, failed to pass on the message I gave them and failed to give a flying f*ck even though it is clear as day I want to work and often prove it with the evidence I take in. I am positive its a way of cutting their costs but a damn shame they tar everyone with the same brush and put decent people that have paid their taxes for years in such a frightening position. I would love to see the jobcentre staff fall on hard times and end up on JSA and get sanctioned.
      P.S I have applied for well over 100 jobs in the last 6 months, I am not a bum I am a worker.
      PPS. I think that George’s comment saying that 80% of appeals on sanctions go in the claimants favour is incorrect and could get peoples hopes up.

  20. DEC

    IF EVER CLAIMING JSA, FILL IN A `NIL INCOME STATEMENT`, BUT U NEED A BANK STATEMENT TO BACK IT UP, I LEAVE ANY MONEY IN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT, SPEEDS EVERYTHING UP,

  21. georgecroall

    Dear sir . What is identity theft . JSA .

    Dear sir or Madam . this letter was handed to the manager of the Jobcentre .

    Fully informed & freely given consent .

    Consent obtained under duress or on the basis of misleading information does not adequately satisfy the conditions for processing .

    Jobcentre policy on Consent .
    For consent to be fully informed and freely given . you need to tell the customer exactly why you need the information .what you are going to do with it and whom you might share it with . We cannot put any conditions on a customer to try and persuade them to consent .

    European Directive 95 / 46 / EC on Data Protection on which the UK Date Protection Act is based .
    Consent . shall mean any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes by which the date subject signifies his agreement to personal date relating to him being processed .

    Jobseekers agreement . ES3JP : General statement .
    I understand that this is general information & not a full statement of the Law .

    Data-Protection-Act .

    There is no-legal-requirement for a . jobseekers allowance ( JSA ) customer … to supply their provider or Job-centre with a . CV . an Email-address or a telephone-number .

    There is no . internal guidance that says it is a condition of jobseekers allowance that claimants must provide their telephone-number or their email-address … providing a telephone-contact number is not – Mandatory .

    I do not consent to you sharing my personal information . because I do not want to give up my . Data-Protection-Act rights .

    Contact with you . work programme adviser . that you prefer only to be contacted by letter .
    Standard letter . to explicitly remove consent to contact you by landline or mobile telephone , including text . sms . or email .

    However . ( if ) during the information gathering process by . Jobcentre-plus . with the customer . the customer provides an . email-address . a landline-telephone-number .
    Or a mobile-telephone-number . then it is reasonably expected that they have given Jobcentre-plus . ( implicit-consent ) to use these media in order to contact them . or permission to use these media for contacting the customer . ( if ) the details had been supplied by the customer .

    Asked for . telephone-number & email-address . was not aware it was Mandatory . without the need for permission & further consent .

    “ Quoted “ It was put into words that . in so many words . that I’ve signed my waver away . my rights . it was demanded that I bring in my Email-address on 13.9.12 . by Karen .

    “ Quoted “ Plus the fact . that all my telephone-number be give over . so that my Adviser can telephone the companies in question . to confirm that am looking for work .

    I felt that it was in a threading manner . how it was put across unprofessional . Bulling tactics . was left to feel insulted on 11.9.12 .

    In this matter . are you the Law of the Land .

    With regards to engaging with my Adviser . felt the Advisor in this case was not friendly . not approachable & had a demanding personality .
    If I was a younger person . I would feel a bit threatened . I would put it across to you . that . Knowledge & experience is lack off .

    Jobcentre Adviser . to amend your jobseekers agreement . ES3JP . so they both state you . ( do not ) consent to your personal information they hold being shared

    Jobseekers agreement . ES3JP : Other steps .
    To improve my chances of finding a job I :
    – Will open a bank account by .
    – Will create my CV by . my employers have my CV . Agencies . verbally by telephone .
    – Will update my CV by .

    □ Consent to jobcentre plus . retaining my CV & sending it to prospective employers by the most appropriate method .
    □ Including email over the internet .
    □ Excluding email over the internet .
    □ Will get an email address by

    Please provide internal information held that makes it a Mandatory condition .

    Can you please send me a copy of the internal guidance given to Jobcentre staff on the issuing of the . Jobseekers Agreement & information held that confirms that no action will be taken against a customer who does not consent to undertake or indicate they will undertake activities listed on page ( 4 ) of the agreement .

    Please can you confirm what is Mandatory . by law .
    For the layman .

  22. Dean

    Today i was threatened by the staff at the job center. Told that she was taking me to court, because i recorded an interview. The interview was recorded because the conduct of this member of staff was not acceptable. I had a meeting with the manager at the job center about this member of staff, and he told me he would talk to her and this would no longer be a problem. 1 week later during an interview about my job search she tells me how she will see me in court and i will have a letter about it in the next few days. This cant be on? How did she get my personal detail to do that? The job center data base? And why would you then threaten me with this in an interview about my job search? Im now at a loss, i dont know what i am meant to do, who im meant to talk to and how to fix this. Had i threatened a member of staff or acted in this way they would remove me. But it would seam that the system is not fair and im expected to accept this.

    • It is disgraceful how people in positions of power can so easily threaten or intimidate those in a vulnerable position, such as the unemployed. Surely there is a complaint procedure for unacceptable behaviour by JobCentre staff? Do research your legal rights and stand up for them! Good luck.

      • Dean

        Thank you. i have been on the phone all day to the manager again trying to fix it. i will update when i have a result. fingers crossed

    • Dean

      So after many hours waiting i get a call from the manager at the job center, who tells me that his staff admits to threatening me. That she didn’t mean it and would be in violation of the data protection act if she took my details and took me to court. He tells me that i wont have to see her again and that she told him she was sorry. Im then expected to accept this 2nd hand apology as the end of it.

      • billy

        take her to court for violation of the data protection act and for threatening you.

    • george

      fire the letter from hell off to your mp, he or she should certainly reply as bad press is going to explode all over the media soon with all the negativity regarding JCP DWP and work programme providers.all not fit for purpose.

      • george

        They have a complaints procedure,ask for this ,put it in writing and keep copies of EVERYTHING.I speak from wretched experience.

    • papa

      you have nothing to worry about, she is BullSh**ing you. Look up UK law on recording conversations as proof that can be used in court. You don’t need to notify them of your recording. It may not be used as direct evidence but can be transcripted by the court as evidence. Next time you have an issue with someone notify a manager of your concerns instead of recording it. You have no worries

  23. lindsey

    I am seriously pissed with the jobcentre 2 day i was laid off on the 10/09/2012 i attended jobseekers interview on monday 17/09/2012 at 4pm, i am told me sign on day is a tue 11.50, so i ask clearly does that mean i have 2 come in tomorrow (tuesday 18th) no she replies wk after i receive a letter telling me how much i will receive in benefits, today i go 2 sign on 2 b told my claim has been closed because i did told attend 18/09/2012 i explain the lady told me i didnt need 2 im told there was noting she could do given the phone number to make a claim for a rapid reclaim! while i am on the phone imention i would like it back dated 2 b told this may not be possible. how the hell do the expect some1 2 survive!! fair enough id i just couldnt be arsed 2 turn up but they didnt even contact me i could have been in hospital or anything and they didnt even contact me fumming!!!!!!!

  24. Amy

    Hello I need a free number to sign off I’m on 02 I been told that you can ring for free not to sure and don’t really want to take the risk thanks

  25. Skint52

    I am 52 years old and payed into this system for 35 years.

    In return for my being made redundant, I am in receipt of £71 per week.
    Fine, no surprise there!
    But I came by some info about a single mother that I should not be privvy to, and was astonished.

    She has an under 12 year old daughter, works a few hours a day term time at a school earning £600 per month approximately.

    But her total monthly income is boosted to almost £2000 per month by ex’s maintenance of £300, DLA of about £200 – (For which no checks are made regarding eligibilty, else she wouldn’t get it!), The standard £80 Child Benefit plus a whopping £186 per week Tax Credit Payment!

    What is going on?! …..

    I mean fair enough we shouldn’t abandon single mothers benefits wise, but really….. £2000 per month – for a lifestyle choice?!

    How many people here work all the hours God sends and still earn a lot less than that?!

    But if you don’t have a kid – £280 per month is enough to live on??!!

    No wonder the country is skint!

    • SForeman

      DLA is paid to enable people with a disability to work, part-time or otherwise, or if they cannot work it helps pays other expenses they have to pay out because they are disabled. So you can work and have DLA. For a disabled single parent father, it paid for the local taxi to get his primary school age daughter to school. The nearest school being too far away (rural area) for him to manage in his wheelchair. For others, it pays towards the disabled conversion car running costs. Checks were ALWAYS made before DLA was granted, by fully qualified experts in the appropriate field. Now unqualified people use a computer system designed to reduce insurance company payouts regardless of the applicant’s legal eligibility, and decide that quadriplegics, people in comas or catatonic in hospitals are ‘fit for work’.

  26. Cornishscot

    Couldn’t agree more Skint 52 – feeling well and truly shafted here to given that I have paid Class I (or equivalent stamp ‘cos I don’t think it was called that back then) since leaving F/T education in May 1984 and getting my first job and worked continuously since – they don’t seem to want to pay me contrib. JSA now though (even though I can see no ineligibility for it in the JSA rules) because 8 weeks before the end of the 2011/12 tax year I took on a freelance job short-term on a self-employed basis rather than sign on back then when I was made redundant – I think they want me to de-register as self-employed too thus drastically cutting my chances of finding work again which, to me, makes no sense whatsoever in current climate (already damaged beyond repair probably, my N.I.. contrib. for future JSA claims based on 2012/13 year already because of the self-employment so might as well stay registered and pay Class 2 contribs. myself as I have been doing up until now even though they don’t actually count towards much, if anything, later e.g. retirement benefits in the same way class 1 might – and if I am self-employed again this tax year I may even have to pay Class 4 contribs. on top if I earn enough “profit” to qualify. Yes, they are quick enough to take contribs. off you (even class 3 voluntary ones I dare say but let’s not go there if we don’t have to) but when it comes to getting something back you get zilch or at best a hellova lotta grief first from them.

  27. Hi, I’ve posted a link to this page on my facebook page about unfair sanctions dished out by the companies that the government use for “long term” unemployed (link https://www.facebook.com/groups/269781363141182/), I hope this was ok to do and if any one wants to be added to the group please feel free, I came across some info about how places like JobFit (used to be called BTCV) deal with sanctions and what they SHOLD tell you but dont tell you when you get a sanction, for example, I was sanctioned for 26 weeks due to confusing a date with my solicitors and I notified the “work program” as soon as I found out I’d confused the dates, I’ve also been sanctioned in the past for being ill and for JobFit not sending me a new appointment via the post or contacting me via phone, the appeal system never replied to my reconsideration forms and I had to go chase them up about it and even had the CAB in my local area hound them, this last one, after 12 weeks I found out that if I returned to the “work program” I’d get the sanction lifted but if I got another sanction in 6 months I’d get one for maybe up to 3 years. Whats worse is that I’m old enough to remember job centers without computers and thats exactly what JobFit is, a blast back to the past at least 15 years and it baffles me why such an out dated method of looking for work is being out sourced to places like JobFit that cant or dont want to help people in the time of their need.

  28. Tottenham Jobcentre is the worst. Today I asked for a copy of my Profile that they hold on the Customer Assessment tool. I was told I would need to submit a FOI request for details on what the CAT sytems holds on me. FOI? And thats from a manager!

    Advisers quidlines on CAT are clear.under the data protection act and DWP rules:

    That you must be introduced to the CAT with an explanation of what it is:

    (A) “28 At an appropriate point during the interview (after you have agreed a job goal/work area) introduce the customer to the CAT and explain what it is for.”

    That you can request a copy of your CAT profile at any time:

    (B)“59. If a customer wants a copy of the CAT they can ask you for it at any time and the PA must provide it.”

    That the CAT is not mandatory:

    (C)“36… Note: The CAT is not mandatory for customers and they can request that information is not recorded on it…”

    That grades are allowed to be challenged:

    (D) “18. Should the customer disagree with a score you have recorded against a statement, note this in the free text box indicating the evidence you based it on and the reason(s) the customer disagrees. Also write what letter the customer thinks should be written and why.”

    • papa

      Wrong Huddersfield JC is! They are giving out sanctions like flyers advertising a sale
      We need to get a name and shame wall up here to see the offenders who are tightening their budgets with sanctions

  29. hi… worked for 16yrs since leaving school.. gained a lvl 2 nvq and an advanced apprenticeship & tech certificate in business admin.. ALL while being a SINGLE MOTHER!! I am currently working almost 50hours a week.. and only have 2 weeks left at work before my probationary period comes to an end.. i am out of the house for 11 hrs a day for which i pay a childminder £200 a week term time for my 2 girls.. (being a single mother is NOT ALWAYS a life style choice… but a NECESSARY One… ie my little ones father was a violent bully, and i suffered domestic abuse…!! i HAD to walk away for the sake of my kids and myself!! ) I have worked hard and i struggle to pay the childcare during half term at 445 per week… as i have NO family at all to help out!

    Please DO NOT assume that ALL single mothers are lazy, and undeserving of the benefits that they are provided with!! please DO NOT DEEM to the judge the circumstances of the majority of single mothers out there … when you look deeper there are a whole host of perfectly acceptable and tragic reasons, WHY we are single parents in the first place.. although i DO accept that there are a LOT of single mothers out there who are and DO play the system unfairly.
    Without that life line.. i would NOT be ABLE TO work.. as i wouldnt be able to afford the child care.. of which i can only just about afford to pya term time.. and i DO panic about HOW i am meant to pay for child care during the school hols when i can eventially find another job!! currently i DO NOT get housing benefit.. council tax benefit, income support, or anything else… to supplement my current working income. Every penny that comes in goes towards paying for rent, bills and child care then food.. in THAT order! and in 2 weeks.. i face the horrifying prospect of applying for and living on full benefits for the first time in my life!!! I only took my current job, because it was all that was offeredd at the time, at which time i was the SOLE breadwinner supporting 2 kids and a partner who was bringing in NO money what so ever……having spent a year searcing and applying for roughly 3-5 jobs a week.. daily job searches on various sites, agencies, etc.. i am still no closer to finding anything. with companies telling me i am OVER qualified… or UNDER qualified…

    so ten days before xmas 2012 i am officially UNEMPLOYED.. but as my probationary period is NOT being extended, therefore i am no longer required.. does that make me voluntarily unemployed? sacked? etc as the one thing i CANT afford to do is not be bringing in any money.. (was informed 2 days before i moved house that i was being let go… with a months notice instead of the usual week.. as i WAS moving house :( )

    so wtth 2 weeks to go before im out of work… ten days before xmas.. and with JSA applications taking roughly two weeks to process… WHEN do I put claim in????

  30. just been dragged in to jsa to show my bank statements etc out of the blue, they want me to go away and highlight any money over and above my jsa money going into the bank. for instance if my daughter put in 50 to pay her catalog bill with my card, then i need a written letter from her stating that this was correct! and that’s every Pennie for 3 months, i have 1 week to comply before my benefit is stopped. i have never cheated the system and am an avid job seeker. meaning i really want a bloody job, any job really! anyone else had this, what can be done?

  31. MADE A CLAIM ONLINE 15/11/12 RECIEVED TEXT 27/11/12 SAYING CLAIM WAS AWARDED MONEY TO BE RELEASED 3 DAYS AFTER I SIGN ON .
    HEARD NOTHING SO GOT IN CONTACT WITH THE JOBCENTRE LADY ON DESK SAID YOU MUST HAVE HAD A WORK RELATED APPOINTMENT I TOLD HER I HAD HAD NO APPOINTMENTS AT ALL.
    SHE THEN CHECKED ON THE COMPUTER BECAUSE SHE SAID I MUST HAVE HAD ONE COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HAD HAPPENED SO TOOK MY LETTER OF ME TO SPEAK TO MANAGER AND SAID SHE WOULD GET HER TO RING ME .
    HEARD NOTHING SO PHONED UP TO CHECK WHAT WAS GOIN ON I WAS THEN TOLD THAT THE JOBCENTRE HAD CLOSED MY CLAIM AND THAT I HAD TO GO SPEAK TO THEM BECAUSE CHIPPENHAM COULD TELL ME NOTHING .
    WENT TO JOBCENTRE AND WAS TOLD I HAD MISSED MY SIGNING ON DAY WHICH WAS APPARENTLY 20/11/12 I WAS THEN TOLD I HAD TO MAKE A RAPID RECLAIM AND SHE GAVE ME A FORM TO ASK FOR IT TO BE BACK DATED.
    I DID THIS AND RECIEVED TEXT DAY AFTER SAYING MY APP WAS ON MONDAY ATTENDED THAT AND TOLD TO COME 12/12/12 AND SIGN ON WHICH I DID THE MAN THAT SIGNED ME ON ASKED IF HAD APPLIED FOR IT TO BE BACKDATED AFTER I EXPLAINED WHAT HAD HAPPENED I SAID YES AND TODAY NOW THE 14/12/12 I RECIEVE LETTER TO SAY THEY WILL NOT PAY THE BACKDATED MONEY SAID I DID NOT GIVE A GOOD ENOUGH REASON AS TO THE DELAY IN THE CLAIM AND THAT I MISSED SIGNING ON WHY ARE THEY NOT LISTENING TO ME IT IS THEIR MISTAKE NOT MY FAULT AND I AM GUTTED THAT I WILL BASICALLY LOSE £400 + 2 WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS MY POOR KIDS ARE GONNA HAVE THE WORST CHRISTMAS EVER :( ANY ADVICE ON THIS WOULD BE APPRECIATED

    • Daniel

      I am having trouble getting money back dated!!! Its only 13 days but its my money. I have filled in two forms along with p45 and job booklet and both have been lost at Northampton jobcentre/not received.
      Its an up hill battle but I am not giving up! I suggest you don’t either, they act as if its your taking money of them personally, not money your entitled to!!

  32. vincent

    the jobcentre are the biggest load of idiots or just plain difficult people iv’ve ever had to deal with. If they operated as a private company customers would leave them and they’d be out of a job themselves.
    Ive known people be sanctioned for the stupidest things: 1 friend was told when he made his JSA claim that he had left his last job voluntarily. He told them that he tried to go back and they wouldn’t let him in the building. He didnt get any cash from them for over 8 weeks.
    He was only sacked because he had to take time off at various times for custody hearings over his daughter. He always told the boss where and when in advance so they could cover his hours. Any surprises for guessing that his job was an agency one where they wanted him to available at all days even days that he’d been given off by them and on some actual workdays they told him they had no work that day for him after he turned up.
    Ive had my recent woes with them. They tried to make me apply for some warehouse job for minimum wage through some agency. I told them im sick of agencies as they’ve used me in the past the waythey did my friend and it may screw up my housing and council tax benefit with MORE arrears(which im paying off gradually fromJSA). Also, the job in question was one i’d applied for in the past via email and heard nothing from. I did apply just so that I could say so if they asked to see proof.

  33. primecut

    Hi guys here is a very useful tip that I would like to share with all of you.
    To make free 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls from your mobile just dial
    01250820800 and follow the instructions you hear. A good idea is to set this number up as a contact in your phonebook, name it something like Free0800calls. I hope I have been of some help. These companies who charge for 08 numbers make me sick!!!! Just another example of corporate greed.

  34. george

    Thanks for that tip,much appreciated.

  35. Srisha

    Hi Elliott !!

    What number should you phone if you had claimed JSA on the 26 of October 2012 but have not been paid any penny ???????????????

    Now they want me to apply for an emergency cash payment which I must pay back from my JSA payment…..

    Please help, I haven’t been eating properly and I can not ask any more money from friends :'(
    :'(

    Thank You.
    Waiting for your reply
    S

  36. steve

    what is the bare minimum on jsa the dwp must pay you to live on by law as currently they are taking nearly 35 quid a week of my jsa for loans csa etc and leaving me with nearly nothing to live on surely thats against my civil and human rights

  37. george

    Hi Steve, seriously look into this as the dwp and all their little foot soldiers hope that everyone will just roll over, don’t take it, if its illegal then fck em for it.

  38. michael rae

    anyone applying online though should beware i did this recently and despite receiving a confirmation e-mail was told it had not been recieved unfortunately i had deleted said email therfore having to make a new claim.

  39. Mark

    I have been claiming JSA since Sept 2012. I’ve done all the right things with my job searches, shown willingness to go back to college and have applied for voluntary roles.
    Over Christmas week I took my eye off the ball and didn’t really search much for work seeing the world of work largely shuts down.
    Now they have hit me with a 4 week sanction.
    I do feel I have some mitigating factors.
    What should I do? Can they deprive me of all benefit for four weeks?

    • alex

      ive had exactly the same thing, however i only realised when my money hadnt gone in…… and today, i received a letter stating a decision will be made about how it will affect my claim, as apparently, i hadnt taken sufficient or appropriate steps to find work… the period is from 20/12/12-02/01/13……. even the job centre was closed during that period, so exactly how much do they expect ya to do on xmas week??? so, my moneys stopped, without any decision being made as far as im aware, as i havent been notified of any sanction………. surely thats not right!!!!!!

  40. Ellie

    Hi guys, if anyone could help me that would be fantastic, I can see I’m not the only one who’s sick and tired of dealing with these patronising morons.

    I made a claim for JSA on the 10th of December, having been abroad living with my mother. I had my interview 2 days after, and took a HRT the same day. I called a couple of weeks later to check how my claim was going, and they told me they were behind. I then got a call on the 2nd telling me that the DWP hadn’t received the test, and I had to go to my local centre and do another one. When I got down there they told me that they still had it on file, and I didn’t need to complete a new one.
    I was advised to call and check they had received it when I got home. The woman I spoke to said they had received it, everything was fine, and I should have my money on Wednesday (today). Surprise surprise, I wasn’t paid. I called them to see what was going on, and they said my test was being sent to an “expert decision maker”, and to call them on Monday if I don’t hear from them before. So basically, I think it will be at least another week before I receive any money. 5 weeks!
    I’m 18 and living with my Dad. He can’t keep supplying me with food and money – they’re not eligible for benefits, but they have to pay for child care which is very expensive, so they can’t afford to keep me there for free. Can I get a crisis loan? And can I make a complain about the way my JSA claim has been handled? They lied to me, wasted my time and have been very rude to me. My boyfriend is also claiming, and was also told his HRT wasn’t received!

  41. my income support is being freatened with suspention just because my baby is not registered this is mine and my partners private buisness but i should not have to lose my benefits because of this and my baby have to go without food i went down there and gave them proof that he is my baby but and they can also contact the hospital if they want more proof but still thats not enough for them they seem happy for us to go without well if they do thel get a fight on there hands because i want to know what act they go under that says they need a birth certificate for me to be entitled

  42. george

    Id seriously complain to the office manager verbally and in writing, and also ask for a full list for entitlement so they can get on and process your claim.
    They cant just specify whats needed as you say ask them to show you what act regulation in the DWP guidence sets this out.

    Good luck.

  43. Gemz36

    Can someone advise me please what happens at week 18 they keep mentioning it to me which is making me anxious. I’m on JSA and had a call from them saying that I must look for a job that is not in my trained field now that I have been unemployed since August because as they put it I have “transferable skills”! Please could someone advise me of my rights? Thank you

  44. lyn

    can they stop my jsa for not going on a work program? wen i rang and told them i wasnt well.

  45. confused.com

    Hi if anyone can help that would b great:-)

    I have worked since leaving school in 1992, was full time till I had my children then went part time so only worked 21 hours a week. I then moved area 6 years ago and then only worked 14 hours a week due to them cutting my hours. I was dismissed on 4/2/13, due to being off a yr with an unknown illnes (under hospital, on lots of drugs etc) On Friday I had my 1st interview ever at the Job Centre and the lady said that because I havent paid tax/NI in the last 2 years then I wont get any benefits? She also said that it wernt worth sending my claim form. I mentiond about my stamp, she replied that because I get child benefit that my stamp is being paid??? I insisted that she sent the form off even if they say NO cos I thought this was the only way to get your stamp paid?? Wat is she on about???Is this true???Also can I claim because ive worked since 1992 (wen I left school) up until 04/02/2013???Surely I can claim something???Please help:-)

  46. Two weeks ago I went to sign back on *groan* I had just completed a 3 month contract with a local company as a data processor. I also graduated in 2012 with a degree in IT 2:1 class.
    Now I am not the typical university grad as I am 40 years old and had a career of some 18 years in a local company working in Mass Spectrometry yeah I know most people say what the hell is that lol. Going to see the job seekers advisor they always look completely blank at me when telling them about my career history and qualifications. The truth is they have absolutely no idea what to do with people like me who have worked in a neesh industry and have high level qualifications. To add insult to injury I was then told that because I was at university during the last two tax year I was not entitled to claim contribution based JSA as I had only worked 3 months during that time and because my Fiancée was working full time I would not pass the income assessed version of JSA. At this point she said the only think you can sign on for is to get your stamp paid and frankly its not worth your effort with the number of hoops you have to jump through. She then said “have you ever thought about relocating outside of this area? because frankly I doubt you will get employment based on your skills and qualifications because there is nothing like that in this area”. Now I felt quite offended by her comments and tone as she came across as being frankly its not worth me or my colleagues wasting our time on someone like you.

    Then came the final slap in the face I said “But I worked for 18 years and paid tax all that time, surely I have contributed enough to claim some form of support?” She said “NO, those 18 years count for nothing!” WHAT? So who the hell and for what have I paid thousands of pounds of tax for? I can’t get ANY support or help of any kind not even a CV clinic? Despite being a tax payer for the better part of two decades.

    I am so sick of the attitudes in this country of those in positions of influence who seem to have an almost god like complex. I can’t get work because I am either over qualified or under experienced. I saw the posters at uni about doing an Masters degree and how it can help, so I thought okay I will go and enquire about it all. I was then told by the university careers people that being honest having a Masters degree could actually make you more unemployable than employable! What? They stated that have to much in terms of qualifications on your CV can scare off potential employers. Oh for gods sake I mean REALLY??? I never thought I would live to see the day that having good qualifications and intelligence in this country would be seen as a bad thing.

    Right now I am looking at my out of date passport and think about my fiancée’s friend and her husband who went to start a new life in Australia and it seems like everything is working out for them. They left the UK almost two years ago and have never once looked back. Both working and new buying a new house over there and to add yet more insult to injury in a massive ironic kind of way she got a job for her local council out there working in IT and has NO formal qualifications in this field. They simply gave her a 6 month trial which she passed (well done to her by the way very pleased for you) and she now has a permanent contract with them. I can’t even get that much here in so called Great Britain.

    If my other half says right lets apply for visas I am off! gone, out of here. I seriously think this country has no future unless there are some massive changes made and I simply cannot see that happening because that will take power away from those that crave it.

    Good luck everyone in your efforts to find work I honestly hope you find what you are looking for.

  47. Jeremy.

    Hi, Can anyone advise me with an issue?
    I’ve been signing on since Nov 2012 and as I’m over my first 3 months they have started making me come in every other day which is an inconvinience to say the least (but I am doing it without conplaining!).
    They have now started saying that I have to come in on Saturdays too, but I explained to them that I have a 12 year old son who lives with his mother in another county (I’m in London, he lives in Bedfordshire) I go and see him at weekends. When I filled in my agreement (when I first signed on) I did put in it that I am looking for work MON to FRI (full time hours) and wouldn’t of said looking for weekend work because of the fact that I have my son at weekends. Knowing this, can they force me in on a Saturday? The Human Rights Act SPECIFICALLY STATES that we have a legal right to a home life. Where do I stand on this, can I force the issue of not coming in at weekends because my original agreement states that I’m NOT looking for weekend work?
    Any opinion would be good.
    Thanks.

  48. Brian Orledge

    Does going in on a Saturday deny people a home life? Are people who work on a Saturday denied a home life?

  49. What informative postings….as i am also battling against the regime!! sanctions,,,equals security guards wages.!! Im determined to get every penny back…and drag them through the mud to whichever higher department i can, my issue is also with my incompetant advisor! and ill be dragging her with me!!! Great site! by the way….

  50. William

    Benefit stopped, housing benefit stopped, rent arrears, eviction!

    RELAX.

    Follow this 3 Step Guide and Housing Benefit carries on as normal.

    This is what you do.

    Step 1:
    You’ll recieve a letter telling you from which dates you have been sanctioned. KEEP THAT.

    Step 2:
    Go to your local council and tell them your unemployed but not currently recieving your benefit and ask for a form to apply for housing benefit seperately.
    He/She will hand you a form and print you out an appointment.
    Note: Do not bother to bore the clerk with your whole bleeding heart story, no doubt with a que standing behind you. Lol. They can’t do anything about it until they have all your details in writing on THEIR form which he/she hasn’t given you yet.

    Step 3:
    Fill it out and take it to your scheduled appointment with the letter with your sanctioned dates on it. They will review your form with you, fax your sanction letter and give you a reciept telling you your housing benefit has been paid for that period.
    Done.
    Note: If you are a private tenant and you are worried about when your landlord will recieve his rent. Just show him the reciept. That way, he/she will know the rent is late for a reason, but at least he/she knows the money is coming.

    And that’s it.

    Additional info:
    Don’t worry if you lose or do not recieve the sanction letter. Just find out exactly which dates your benefit has been stopped and make a note of it for your council appointment. It’s better to have the letter, but they’re not going to refuse you your housing benefit over it.

    So when you lose your benefit (JSA etc) for any reason eg. a sanction, and your housing benefit has been stopped… Do not worry about your housing benefit. This problem can be remedied easily. The job center and the council are 2 different organizations. You get housing benefit because you CANNOT pay your rent. That is the sole reason you get housing benefit. So when your registered as being unemployed and have applied for housing benefit, then the council know you can’t pay your rent. However, when you become no longer registered as unemployed (because the Job Center stopped your claim), your housing benefit automatically stops because your circumstances have changed. So all you have to do is go to your local council office and tell them your JSA (or other benefit) has been stopped and you need to apply for housing benefit seperately. They’ll give you a thin booklet of forms and an appointment to come back to hand it in to an advisor and when you meet with an advisor (who will be nothing like the job center Nazi’s), they will review your form with you to make sure it’s properly filled out and then give you a reciept.

    BISH BASH BOSH!
    No rent arrears.

  51. lyndalyn

    Can someone help. I am new to claiming JSA and from all the posts I have had the same trouble. Although I am now receiving payment I don’t understand why you don’t get payment for the first three days. My current problem is that I have been offered two days work 21 hours next week at 6.50 per hour. The work is casual and they will not pay NI and TAX and I will have to arrange this. I will also have to notify JSA. I have spoken to then today three times and I cannot get a straight answer as to how this will affect my JSA benefit. I note from previous posts that if you notify them of working hours it can take them weeks to recommence payments. I cannot afford to do that. I was made unemployed by my previous employer on the 11.03.2013 and told that I am not going to get paid for the work that i have done sine 25.02.2013 so I have no money. I am worried both ways if I take this job then this will mess up my JSA and if I don’t take the work and they find out will they sanction me. Anyone have any suggestions.

  52. gordon

    Everyone gets a letter around febuary stating the amount of jsa they recieve.in the letter it says this is the minimum by law that you can live on.if thats the case how can the government make you pay for a spare bedroom.surely they are breaking the law?

  53. Pingback: Signing On, not rocking out | By The Skin Of Your Teeth

  54. Daniel

    I was signed on for 1 month and had a horrendous time…..
    I was on a zero hr contract and hrs had dropped to one day a week. So I thought I would sign and get some help.(hahaha)
    Firstly I had to ring the 0845 No just to book an appointment, my nearest job centre is 30 miles away. so I drove there and signed on, first two weeks go by and I scan the internet and fill my little jobby booklet with those two weeks.
    I then lose my job completely, and go away on holiday(which had been booked before the struggle) so I signed on mid march.
    So I did everything by the book and was honest about everything. So when I get back from my holiday expecting some money from JSA on the 28th march there isn’t any.
    So I ring up and I am told even though I was only working 8hrs I still earned more than £70 which is true, but I was under the impression it was 16 hrs:( so even after the journeys backwards and forwards no one imformed me there was no point in being signed on.

    But from the feb 28th – 13th March I didn’t work at all and still no help, I had to open a new claim when I got back from holiday for why I don’t know, I was told to rapid re claim…. But I knew I was entitled to back pay from when I didn’t work.
    Its the 26th April and I am still battling for my back pay and they just keep ‘losing’ my paper work.

    Anyone else problems applying for back payments??

  55. Claire

    Helloooooo, I’ve been on JSA since September! In January I was given a mandatory work placement which I attended and all that jazz! I’ve stayed on working in the charity shop where I was sent to for two days a week! But this morning I feel as if my advisor coerced me into taking on another placement, at a different charity shop for another 3 days a week. She didn’t state that the placement was mandatory but she wrote it in my Job Seeker’s agreement which, stupidly I signed. I’ve asked my friend’s mum who works at a different job centre about this and the answer was pretty much, they can do whatever they like if it get’s you off the dole. I really don’t see the point in taking on more experience, it also means I’ll have to give up other voluntary roles that I have been committed to for much longer than I’ve been on JSA, and frankly I’m not prepared to give it up! I am expected to go to this new charity shop on Monday, which is one of the days I spend at the other charity shop that I work at. I told her before she phoned this new place that I work 2 days a week and she was like well you need to build up your confidence, to be honest I am pretty darn confident now anyway from the placement I have already done. I would rather up my days at my first charity shop than go to this new place! I’m sorry I’ve rambled but I’m pretty upset about this! I really want to sign off and save myself all this bother but my parents can’t afford to keep me as it is! What are my rights? and What do I do!?

    • rick

      im am currently been hounded to do vol work and my advisor told me if i didnt do it i would be puton MWA because her boss is on her back over her stats is this legal

  56. rick

    and im called on the phone by the same advisor constanly over this vol work

  57. Wonderful website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew
    of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about
    here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!

  58. Jackie Petherick

    Just wanted to warn you at aged 58 years and being out of work for 1 year I was offered a fabulous job which I found myself (they didn’t like that) I was stupid because when I went to sign on they asked what I had done to look for work that week and I said I hadn’t because I had finally been offered one but it didn’t start for 3 weeks – with a sullen stare the job centre ogre stared at me and said that is why it is called Job Seekers Allowance and that was it all my benefits were stopped costing me over £500. I appealed but they didn’t want to know.

    Be Warned !
    Jackie

  59. dan rosevear

    Even though this post was wrote 2 years ago, I found it to be disappointing, I was kind of hoping for something a bit more juicer. I found this blog because I was looking for something else. I have or i should say about to finish a two year stint on working links They claimed when I first started to be a more relaxed version of New Deal but if you believe that you are delusional.Anyway, my adviser today told me today, that once i finish with them I have to resign on and I could be made to go down to the job center every week and it could be every day They will make me do mandatory (a word they enjoy throwing around( work which I complained about as it is against my human rights and throw in some other vicious threats which by this time I had stopped listening to because my adviser was boring me Of course if I don’t comply they will sanction me, and stop my money. My adviser’s suggestion was to get into work quick before my time with him finished. I smell a rat!! a Streisand effect that will come back to bite him in the ass if he messes with me and lies. This is what I think He writes out this big ass threatening policy that we have to abide to after leaving working links He try’s to get us into work and if he succeeds makes him look good and keeps the stat figures up for working links. I am actually going to go to my job center on Monday and ask them If they say something completely different my so called adviser is going to feel a whole lot of pain, If it is true then be warned that they (the Jobcenter) are taking no prisoners

  60. jackie and everyone, use your heads, if you get a job and start date, say 2/3 weeks, don’t tell em shit, the day before you start, sign off, easy.

  61. Kenny

    Hi! It’s nice to see that this blog is still on the go. I have a question that I hope someone can help me with. To cut it short, I’ve been on ESA for 3 years now. I was in front of a Tribunal Court 2 years ago, I won, but, they put me on a 2 year “back to work Scheme”. Because of my disability, the back to work people never did anything with me and are now handing me back to the Job Centre. Last year I had another medical, once again, ATOS failed me! As my condition has worsened I appealed the decision again. I’m still waiting to hear from the DWP. I now have an interview with the JCP next Thursday! A friend has said I should write a “holding letter” for the JCP until I receive a result from the DWP! Can anyone help me with a holding letter? It would be much appreciated. Thanks

  62. Chris

    Hi, I hope someone can help me.

    I have just finished uni (last Friday) and went to ask about jobseekers at the local Jobcentre. (I would have gone to see them earlier but my nan (who brought me up for the first 12 months of my life) died a couple of weeks ago and I was away from uni to see her in the Hospice and for the funeral (just got there the day before she died) :(

    The Jobcentre gave me a leaflet and said I needed to claim online. I started the claim but it kept kicking me off so after numerous tries I had no option but to leave it till the following day and try again.

    The following day I went down to the jobcentre and told them what had happened. I also asked which address they would advise I make my claim from because I had finished my course and had to be out of Uni accommodation in three days time, so would be back in my home town at the other end of the country when I was due to be asked to attend a local appointment.

    The man at the jobcentre advised me to apply from the new address – the one I am due to move into on Monday – BUT (and here’s the thing) – when I went back and tried to apply online for the THIRD time, it wouldn’t let me enter an address that I haven’t moved into yet!

    So I can’t claim from my Uni address because I won’t be here when the local appointment comes through and I cant claim from the new address because it won’t let me detail that as my address because I don’t take the tenancy up until Monday!

    I don’t know what else to do and will end up losing a weeks money and a weeks contributions as a result. Does anyone know what I can do please?

    Thanks in advance.

    Chris

  63. John

    Hello, I made a new claim for jsa on June 1st after being unemployed for 2 weeks. I did this because claiming is always a last resort for me. I tried to backclaim to when I first left work and stated my reasons but was refused. I can understand this. I filled in my claim online and received a letter a week later saying my claim was successful and I would be receiving £71 a week. Good stuff. I heard nothing for a week after that and so visited my local jobcentre and they informed me that I did not attend my meeting for a new claim which I should have recieved details of via text and therefore my claim was cancelled. I did not receive a text in the first place yet the jobcentre insisted it had been sent. They advised me to fill in a rapid reclaim form online stating what happened and informing them that my claim was from the 1st of June. I had an interview and my advisor told me I would get my back dated pay and receive job seekers until the 28th which is when my new job starts. a few days later I recieved a letter saying I would not be getting jsa because I didn’t attend my initial interview, an interview I wasn’t aware of because I never recieved a text message confirming it. I have now just checked my account and instead of the £290 I was expecting for the month, I have recieved £51. I am living on practically nothing all month and I refuse to believe that I will not be receiving my money because of a mistake on their part?
    Any advice would be great!,

  64. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I may as
    well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

  65. Great post. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well.
    .

  66. I never understand why big companies like this can’t offer an 0800 number. They’re not expensive to obtain or maintain, and can offer all of the same features of an 0845 number. Not only this but it is much more convenient for the customer!

  67. mo

    As I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a free number can anyone here help??? I’ve received a text saying claim has been awarded does this mean money will be sent out?

  68. so agree with most comments on here – jobn centre is a joke

  69. DNT30

    Been on JSA since April. Initially filled in my application online, as this was the recommended way to do it now. Took me about 1hr. When I went in for first meeting, was told the online application was lost so had to fill one in manually there and then. My adviser got me to use the Universal Jobsite and I was led to believe that all my jobsearches would be conducted online nowadays. 4 weeks later, while signing I was asked to show my search for work evidence, to which I replied that I had done most of it online. Result ….instant 6 week sanction!!! So I learnt my lesson and after 6 weeks brought in my list of work searches for them to look at. No problem.
    Then I requested help from them to get a CSCS card (Health and safety), without which,in my line of work, I will have difficulty getting employment. (I have had 2 agancy job offers which fell through when they found I did not have an up to date CSCS card) After spending a week trying to get to speak with my ‘Job search advisor, he finally said he’d look into it and ring me back. Of, course he didn’t. So every signing on day I asked about this course, without which I will not get a job. I was told I had now been switched to a ‘virtual adviser’ Merseyside and it was to her that I had to inquire, when she contacted me. 3 weeks later, she contacted me, this Monday and after having to put her right on most of my unemployment details, I asked about the CSCS card and how I needed to be sent on the course. She agreed and afterwards emailed me to let me know the course would start this Friday and that I was to go to my local DSS office and my previous adviser would give me the course details. I went yesterday expecting to see my adviser, only to be told that he was not there and that I would see someone else. The someone else turned out to be the woman who had sanctioned me for 6 weeks previously. She straight away went into Dalek mode and demanded my eveidence of work. I told her that I had been sent here to pick up details of the course and that on tuesday (2 days before I had signed on and provided my work search evidence. She didnt want to know, so I told her that I had been messed about long enough and that this course was vital for me to get a job and that me coming here and voluntarily asking to be put on this course was, in fact’ Me searching for Work!!’ She then told me that this was an abusive conversation and was not prepared to continue. She got a G4S (Yes the Olympic fiasco people) security guard to stand next to me while she printed off an appointment for a meeting with someone else next week.
    Just before leaving, she also told me that I had not been enrolled on the CSCS course by anyone. I fully expect her to sanction me again, as these people seem to be answerable to nobody these days.
    I thought these people were here to help me get back into work???
    WHAT A JOKE !!!Is there anyone to whom I can really complain??

  70. zaynabm09

    I first signed on August the 19th, since then its been 4 weeks, and I haven’t been paid! I’ve attended every interview,sign on with my advisor & other advisor’s, and last week I signed on they told me the money should be there in my bank by Friday. Friday came I was stuck in a dilemma, all because the money wasn’t there! Now I came on Tuesday the day I normally sign in, and they made me telephone twice it went to income support because they couldn’t give clear instructions, only to find out my claim isn’t even there?! I have done EVERYTHING they asked, they want us to come on time? WHY NOT PAY US ON TIME?! This is my first time, I am only 18, no one deserves to be messed around like this! Now I feel like signing off after this mess is sorted out! I was better off, even had MORE interview when I wasn’t signed on! They REALLY downgrade people ….

  71. patrick doogan

    Hi, I have a friend who is on the sick with a condition which wont improve, it will in fact deteriorate. She has great difficulty walking at the moment. She has been placed on the government scheme which has been introduced to assist those on the sick who are expected to be able to return to work in 18 months or more to ready themselves. This includes attending working links interviews, making a cv and learning job search skills and methods. As she has no email address she has been told she must get one. She cant even use the internet. Also as she has a worsening condition she definitely will nott be able to return to work in 18 months. I wondered about the legality of all this in a country where the people are supposed to be protected by the civil liberties laws. Rant over, I would just like to conclude that the whole thing stinks of an infringement of civil liberties and a government attempting to bring down unemployment figures at the expense of people unable to work instead of dealing with issues such as immigration so that the healthy able-bodied people claiming jsa who want to work can have a better chance of securing employment.

    • Thanks for commenting. I am sorry to hear about your friend and how she is being treated, but I must disagree with you that immigration is the cause of high unemployment in this country. Immigrants workers in the UK are often in jobs able-bodied Brits are not keen to take either because they lack the necessary qualifications or because of low pay. Take nurses, for instance. Whenever I have been hospitalised in the past, most of the NHS nurses in my ward were either from South Africa or the Philippines. There’s an acute shortage of nurses in the country, so we should be grateful for the foreign ones filling the gap. We need to stop blaming immigrants for every problem in Britain.

  72. Lesley Hemming

    I have been signing on for two years now, I am 61 and a teaching assistant, I have done every thing the Job Centre has asked me to , up to now I have applied to at least 30 jobs a week. Always attended my signing days. This week I was stunned to find I have to look for jobs 5 hours a day and record it, and then to top it all attend the job centre daily. I have two more years to go to retirement if I live that long I am so stressed with the situation I find myself in.

    • Oh dear, Lesley, I am so sorry to hear. Your case deserves to be published in a newspaper article to call the public’s attention to the absurdity of the one-size-fits-all system. Do you mind if I refer your comment here to a few journalist friends to see if they’d like to interview you for a piece?

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