Universal Credit/dole.....call it what you will. Whats your experience?

Discussion in 'News and Current Affairs' started by Dave7, 12 Oct 2018.

  1. Dave7

    Dave7 Guru

    I was in a very 'fortunate' generation and aged 15, I started work in 1961.
    I was out of work just once.....in 1982 when the company collapsed.
    I went to the Dole office to sign on. When they found I had a credit card they made me wait 4 weeks for money, telling me I could live off the credit card (very helpful).
    They then came to my house to interview me. When they found I had an endowment mortgage they made me cash it in and live on that till it ran out.
    They literally measured all our rooms to calculate our heating needs.
    IMO it has got way too soft over the years but heyho its purely an opinion.
    Whats your (HONEST) experience.
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  2. Phaeton

    Phaeton Guru

    Oop North (ish)
    Started work in 1976 aged 16 yrs 2 weeks, was never out of work until 1994 when I walked out of a job through being accused of having an affair with the boss's wife, which wasn't true we just got on better than they did at the time. I rocked up to the DHS, at the time I had 2 kids under 10, a mortgage, credit card debt etc. Filled forms in for about 4 hours, got passed from pillar to post at the end of which I was told I couldn't claim anything. That was Wednesday started a new job on the following Monday, had one or two short breaks from work but never been back. To me if you have genuine needs they're not interested, but those that know how to work the system get it all. I'm sure this is wrong, but it just seems that way.
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  3. OP

    Dave7 Guru

    One of the clearest memories while at the dole office.....being refused.....was a group of irish "travellers" really kicking off and being, literally, handed a wad of cash.
    gavroche and postman like this.
  4. numbnuts

    numbnuts Legendary Member

    North Baddesley
    Never needed the dole, the only benefit I claimed was ESA in the support group after my accident, but I had to jump through hoop for years with Atos medical assessments.
    raleighnut likes this.
  5. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    I notice that all the posters so far saying 'It's got too soft' haven't been anywhere near the system in the last 25+ years...
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  6. I started work in the late 80s. Illness made me quit the job in 1992, which required a doctor's letters to get me anything.
    The idea then was to get you on a course and in a job club to decrease the stats, which was fine by me. I detest sitting not earning my keep, and sitting at home feeling ill was rubbish. For dole+£10 I was stacking up NVQs, running the tech support of Rotherham & Doncaster iTeC through 1993, and back in full employment in 1994.
    In 2011 my company decided to rid itself of debt by shedding debts and employees and changing it's company number with full government approval.
    I went to the Job Centre (no more dole office) in my BMW. No redundancy for 17 years service (thanks UK.gov). The £3000 I got from a government compensation fund paid off the beemer. I parked that up and got the mountain bike out.
    The weekly payment I got now paid for paper & envelopes for sending CVs and came with the condition of signing on and proving I was looking.
    The mortgage company didn't believe I had no income so savings paid the mortgage instead of the redundancy clause.
    Many around me in the queue ignored the machine with 50,000 jobs on it and just walked in demanding. I was in another job in 3 weeks.

    There are people that can't work, those that are afraid to after being out too long, those that can't find their 'niche' and won't explore, those that don't want to, and those that can't live without paying their way. I'm in the latter. The system has to cope with the rest. The assessment systems have to find a way of not punishing the genuine needy. That's the balance that keeps going wrong.
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2018
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  7. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Started work in the 00s. Unemployed in the 00s and 2010s. Been unemployed a few times, thankfully most short and not recent. Worst and longest time was the throes of the world financial crisis.

    My experiences of actual job centre were walking/cycling up the hill to the citadel job centre that's like a fort in the middle of an estate. It's gone now, was closed very recently so in future I'd have to go all the way to town. Go in, being greeted by a large number of security guards (most who were all right), told to go and stand in a large waiting area on the left with loads of ancient touch screen terminals, having to pretend to press buttons and look 'busy' having already searched all job centre jobs multiple times on their decrepit website. Other people played along this game to varying degrees, some quite weird telephone calls from the phone booths on the sides going on sometimes. Some didn't play along and depending on how rough they looked would just get glances or told to do stuff. You'd wait about 15 mins, although when unemployment really kicked off the holding area was so packed with people that no one gave a monkeys about keeping up the pretence and you just stood their trying to keep away from everyone else, got called up, in, our, next! I had a regular person who I signed on who was all right and neither did nothing and took no evidence, nor did she go completely over the top like other agents. At various other times had various other agents who treated people completely different to in/out bye to poring over stuff and quite unpleasant.

    The backroom of the jobcentre and upstairs was interesting. Remember one of the times I signed on the first time being greeted by a worker there who was superficially very nice, looked at education and work history and said I'd probably find something soon. When I went back upstairs to see him a 2nd time not that much later to be sent on the flexible new deal stuff, he was a totally different character and as if that conversation had never happened. Lots of weird conversation workers were having about queries they couldn't resolve, backbiting jobseekers or other members of staff! One was once having a rant about a jobseeker going on a pre-booked holiday and can't we give them a benefits sanction and another worker saying it's only for a week and they did tell us and the rules allow that. When I was last on, there was a horrendous record of benefits sanctions dished out, often by the new deal (and variants ever since) providers.

    The Flexible New Deal provider, some of the people in that centre were horrible people. Benefits sanctions seemed to be given out on quite scant information, hunches or just because they could. The most worrying one to me was how they treated someone who had to go and see their parole officer. The two good members of staff left. A4E were even worse from what I could hear. I ended up doing two workfare courses, unpaid of course. One of them was very lengthy indeed and I never got an interview despite one being 'guaranteed'. Just before I signed off, things were ramping up significantly, with a series of information events arranged, mandatory to attend one of them being a McDonalds information day. I signed off and told the jobcentre and new deal provider, and then I got a benefits sanction in the post a while later.

    The thing that annoyed me most ever about the jobcentre was a sign on agent insisted that I sign on for an agency, so jumped me on the spot to ringing them up, having a stressful conversation with them and then the seriously stupid bit, that I had to fax my CV to them, not email, not hand deliver, fax. But it got better, the jobcentre wouldn't let me use their fax machine when I came back with my CV (which one of the security guards thought was insane), so I had to wait for a public library to open, make a 3rd journey and then splash out a large amount of money to pay the public library (think it was £1.50 or £2) to fax it. Went into town to meet the agency, put on their books. Sorry no work. Never was. Just ghost jobs.

    In one of my previous jobs I had a few issues with a bad HR department (reference issues), and they wrote to the jobcentre and said I had worked there but I'd left my job and they didn't know why. The person at the jobcentre just basically said, don't worry, we won't take your benefits off you, if you say it's nonsense just sign this bit of paper saying you don't agree with their version of events. It sounded like this happened all the time.

    The system just isn't kitted out to deal with the modern world. The jobseeker agreement is hilarious, the better off calculation usually comes up with more money (as a man with no kids, no complicated circumstances) than I'm likely to earn. The jobseekers agreements I've signed have all said work within the city boundaries, 9am-6pm Monday to Friday. Such jobs barely exist anymore, for those looking anyway. Multiple times I've taken work that breaks the jobseeker agreement (break as in goes way beyond what they expect). The system doesn't do anything for those who are out of work for a bit and looking, those who gradually flip in and out of work all the time or those unable to find work.
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2018
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  8. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    Every day I see homeless people, and people whose disability benefits are being taken away or reassessed.
    Presumably, in case their cerebral palsy or MS has got better.
    People die within days of being assessed as fit for work when they've actually got a terminal illness.
    From what I see, the system is now geared towards cutting benefits across the board.
    It's certainly not getting soft, and no-one who's anywhere near it would think so.
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Oct 2018
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  9. Mr Celine

    Mr Celine Discordian

    And what's yours?

    I made several claims to unemployment benefit, supplementary benefit and housing benefit between 1980 and 1987 when I was between jobs. I started working for the then DHSS in 1987 and worked for them until made compulsorily redundant in 2008. Since then I have worked continuously in welfare rights.

    None of the benefit regimes in existence since 1980 have required anyone to live off borrowed money, eg a credit card. You would however have been refused an urgent needs payment (up to 1988) or a crisis loan (1988 to 2013) if you had a credit card you could use.

    None of the benefit regimes in existence since 1980 have required anyone to cash in an endowment policy. These have always been disregarded in full, though any proceeds on maturity would be treated as a capital asset. You would not have received any additional benefit towards paying your endownment, though if entitled to supplementary benefit would have received payments for the interest that you had to pay.

    Supplementary benefit did include various heating allowances, most paid at a flat rate, eg an additional allowance for a household with central heating or a fixed amount for houses with underfloor heating. The only additional heating allowance that could have required any visiting officer to calculate your heating requirements would be an allowance that could be paid if your house was hard to heat. You must have claimed that your house was hard to heat or they wouldn't have come out to check.
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Oct 2018
  10. Salty seadog

    Salty seadog Space Cadet...(3rd Class...)

    Ok. You are in a benefit supported house. If I claim benefits having been extremely diligent towards my own circumstances. Ihave my own house with a small mortgage to pay. I can get get some support for my mortgage interest and even that is a loan. so do I get "benefited" out of my home and then get nudged into the system?
    good idesa or ideological idea.
  11. What is your opinion based on?
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Oct 2018
  12. tom73

    tom73 Über Member

    Can't really add to what @marinyork say's as it sum's the whole thing up and how I've found it over the years. It's been a few years since last had contact with them but I still come into families that are.

    The last time I had contact with them it was a joint clam both me and Mrs 73 found ourselves out of work around the time the coalition government started. They kept "losing" our claim over and over this went on for month's. Yes you get back pay but we had nothing for over 4 month's. Lucky we got some help from that great organisation the Cavell trust. Good job really without it we'd have lost everything.
    Salty seadog likes this.
  13. OP

    Dave7 Guru

    70+ years of life ok with you?
    I stressed... .it was 'an opinion'. I didnt claim to be correct.
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  14. Rooster1

    Rooster1 I was right about that saddle

    Well the very person who invented the system (Ian Duncan-Smith) has said not enough money is being paid out and is making things very difficult for the needy.

    A chap on the radio said this morning that he had had an email notfiying him of payment in six weeks, a week later another email saying it would be seven weeks, then another saying eight weeks. He finally had something through and it was a total of £0.00 - He has had no help despite meeting the criteria.

    The system is a mess. It is supposed to reward you for working more and more, but that is not what is happening.

    You need the internet to access the system. To afford the internet you kind of need money. if you have no money accessing the internet would be difficult.

    PS, I have been fortunate to be in employment my whole life.
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  15. classic33

    classic33 Legendary Member

    One assessment, for epilepsy, consisted of nothing but a few questions followed by the "physical assessment". Eyes closed and both arms outstretched, bringing the requested hand in to touch my nose. Followed by feet together, bending down and touching my toes. Being able to both of these backed up the answers given to the questions and that I had/suffered from epilepsy was confirmed.

    Just under two years ago, I'd the carpet pulled out from under my feet with a diagnoses of cancer, change of circumstances didn't bother the advisor. It'd be two weeks before I'd hear anything, plenty of time to do her course. People get it it every day. Trying to explain that I'd had it twice before, and it'd hadn't beaten me(cut off and cut out). She gave the the response of "third time lucky maybe"."

    Previously sanctioned because I refused to consider any job that involved driving. Obvious legal reasons, which they wouldn't agree to.
    marinyork likes this.
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