Jobseeker’s Allowance

Due to the recession, the cost of living is higher and the number of job vacancies is lower. There do not seem to be enough jobs to go around. Yet the unemployed still seem to be treated as lazy parasites sponging off tax-payers money – the fault still seems to lie with them. OK, there may be a few individuals who prefer to claim benefits than work – who don’t really try to get a job – but most jobseekers are seeking a job and it isn’t their fault that there aren’t any for them.

Besides, it isn’t easy to claim benefits – in fact, the government seems to make it as difficult as possible. Take jobseeker’s for example. First you have this online form thing which takes well over an hour and includes loads of details that you just wouldn’t know without finding the relevant paperwork. It’s not an easy form to fill in. Plus a lot of the questions aren’t particularly clear, due to the terms they use. They also seem to contradict previous questions. The whole thing is very confusing. I have a Master’s degree (well, almost) and I found it confusing. What about your stereotypical jobseeker – those lazy parasites who’ve never worked a day in their life – how are they supposed to get through it? If they were that lazy, they wouldn’t. There’s no way. I was very tempted to just give up. Of course, I couldn’t because I need the money and presumably, so do they, but my point is it’ a frustratingly complicated form – worse than actual job applications.

Then I received a text informing me that I had an appointment at a certain date and time and if I couldn’t make it, I should call this number. It also said J would have to go. This makes no sense to me because we’re not even living together at the moment so it shouldn’t be a joint claim. Also there’s the problem that he will be on campus from 9-5, Monday to Friday, so will never be available when the Jobcentre is open. So I called the number. Eventually, I got through to a switch-board who put me through to the Watford Jobcentre. I was on hold for a few minutes, then the phone rang for a few minutes, then it cut out. I tried again. The same thing happened. I tried again. It happened again. Eventually I got through to Watford and was told to phone a different number and ask them what I should do. When I did this, I got through to the enquiry line for a different type of benefit altogether – I’d been given the wrong number.

Frustrated and disgusted with the way they were dealing with this and their obvious incompetence, I went to the Jobcentre in person. Apparently, I shouldn’t have declared J as my partner, even though the online form implied that I should, because we’re not living together, a fact that I had made clear on the form. Apparently whether or not we’re living together is all they care about. So why not take into account the fact that we weren’t from the form? All I can do is attend the appointment, explain the situation, then, and cross out any mention of my partner when they print out the contract for me to sign. I have a feeling this will not be that simple. In fact, I would not be surprised if I turned up and they refused to see me because J won’t be there. My appointment’s next week so we’ll just have to wait and see.

And all this faff for £71 a week. Which is enough for what? Food? Probably. Food and bills and the rent not covered by housing benefit? Not even close. Which is why I live with my parents. I know that benefits will not cover the cost of living, so how does it cover the cost of living for these lazy parasites? Do they get more than me? No. £71 is the limit. And housing benefit never covers your rent, let alone bills, etc. Honestly, it’s a mystery how anyone can survive on £71 a week. And anyone who’s had to try to survive on benefits would know it’s not the easy option. Any job is preferable. Shame there aren’t enough jobs, really.



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