Work focused interview

(47 Posts)
ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 14:23:43

What an absolute waste of time!

I am a full time student, at the end of my course now and starting my degree in September at university.

My partner is a stay at home carer to our disabled child and claims income support and carers allowance.

I have today had a letter saying I must attend a work focused interview so thinking it was a mistake phoned them up.

Turns out no mistake, it dosnt matter that I am student and so not available for work, it dosnt matter that my degree when completed will lead to a job and have us both of benefits. I am expected to look for a job regardless and waste an hour of my life doing so.

Where is the sense in this? Do they really expect me to throw away my degree and find a minimum wage job now instead?

It's compulsory though so I have no choice, yet another waste of tax payers money that is more likely to leave someone stuck on benefits for life instead of actually letting them better themselves in the long run.

Joules68 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:25:33

How do you support yourself at present then? Is it anoint claim for IS?

ViviPru Thu 05-Jun-14 14:27:05

Utter nonsense. How frustrating for you OP.

Babyroobs Thu 05-Jun-14 14:28:50

Is it to help you find a job for a few months over the summer?

OHforDUCKScake Thu 05-Jun-14 14:30:05

When you are doing your degree, you wont be in income support (if its a full time degree anyway) so you wont need to attend any W.F interviews.

Presumably the course is part time, so they assume you are available to work.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 05-Jun-14 14:30:41

*presumably the current course is part time.

It's what they do antagonise people untill they come off benefits. The whole system is ridiculous.

gordyslovesheep Thu 05-Jun-14 14:33:08

you must be claiming some benefits for them to be contacting you - are you on JSA? or is the IS a joint claim?

go - do the interview and in sept you will sign off - job done

it's a tick box exercise BUT if you refuse they could sanction you

WeAreEternal Thu 05-Jun-14 14:34:40

The process is simple, if you want to claim benefits you have to attend interviews, meetings and appointments that they set up.
If you d

ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 14:35:20

The course is full time but is at college so no student finance available. My partner has a joint income support claim. I have already informed them I will be starting uni in September and of the student finance I will then be receiving and they tell me my partner will continue to claim but the amount will be reduced due to my income. I will be expected to attend work focused interviews still however due to my partner claiming.

WeAreEternal Thu 05-Jun-14 14:36:13

The process is simple, if you want to claim benefits you have to attend interviews, meetings and appointments that they set up.
If you don't want to attend you don't claim benefits.

I don't see the problem.

noraintoday Thu 05-Jun-14 15:38:19

I have to go to work focused interviews even as the f/t carer of my disabled child. They don't necessarily expect you to be looking for a job (though it might be different for the partner claimant) but just going over my details and checking they were still the same (yes, my child has not recovered from his lifelong disability.) It took about 10 mins, no pressure, you just turn up, answer the questions and it makes sure your IS isn't sanctioned (it will be if you don't turn up.) If your DP is a carer then he's entitled to IS which you'd claim as a couple, so they have no legal grounds to expect you to get a job right now.

How often are these interviews going to take place, OP?

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 15:45:58

Make an appointment with your Uni welfare adviser - you may find you are only slightly worse off if you close down the IS claim (your partner will then get to keep all of the Carer's Allowance instead of having it partially deducted from IS) and live on Student support, CA and tax credits.

If you or your DP could get vv PT work (1 or 2 days per week), so much the better. (Your DP can earn a certain amount per week £100ish- before (s)he loses CA, you could do childcare and write essays while (s)he did evening shifts one or twice a week?)

The degree is an investment in your future. You need to find a way to get out of the clutches of the jobcentre so you can concentrate on your studies.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 15:46:49

No student finance?! For a full time HE course? Or is it PT?

Joules68 Thu 05-Jun-14 18:00:09

How do you pay the college fees then?

From what you are saying then I can't see why you shouldn't be looking for work. September is z way off still, and things change

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 18:20:17

Oh degree course hasn't started yet - missed that.

So what's the problem exactly?

ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 19:00:43

I am on a college course now, funded by a 24+ loan that covers titution fees only. The appointments will be 6 monthly and an hour long and I am expected to be looking for work. The degree I am doing is midwifery in September, that means a 45 week year with 30 hours of placement each week on top of study, there is no way to fit a job around it! That's the reason you get extra bursery on this course.

The work focused interviews will continue throughout my 3 year degree despite the fact it's impossible to work around it and I will be expected to seek work or my partners income is stopped.

She is the main and only carer for a severely disabled child, she relies on the tiny income she gets from benefits and cannot work at all as childcare for my son is £15 an hour due to how specialist it must be.

I don't understand why full time students are not excluded from this, even if my partner stops claiming for me when I am receiving student finance in September I will still have to attend or her income is affected. My nhs bursery does not provide income for her only me and we not be able to support ourselves.

I'm faced with quitting my degree and seeking work or living apart from my partner and 3 children. This is wrong.

sezamcgregor Thu 05-Jun-14 19:11:35

I had this when I was at college FT. It isn't to make you look for work, it's so that they can say "hello" to a person and chat to you about your life so you an assure then that you are doing something to get off benefits.

It's just an exercise so that they make sure you're getting the right benefits.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:11:49

But you do live together? confused

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:15:55

Why are you not applying for dependants allowance along with your bursary? That is the bit that is supposed to pay for your partner (instead of the IS).

So Bursary + Dependants Allowance + Tax Credits + Carers Allowance + Child Benefit + Child's DLA = Just about enough

Have you added it up?

Woozlebear Thu 05-Jun-14 19:24:02

Why can't you work over the summer, though, between now and the course starting in September? That's what everyone did when I was studying. If you're not studying for the next 3 months, I don't see why you shouldn't try to get a temp job for that period if at all possible. I also don't understand why you wouldn't want to.

Of course there's no way you should be expected to be job hunting after September, but I don't know enough about the system to know if that's what they'll expect you to do.

ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 19:24:27

I have yes, bearing in mind that I won't get housing benefit its not manageable. Appointment is next week so hopefully can explain all this to a real person. It's laughable that before I went to college and I was on income support i went in asking for help in finding a job and was told to give up looking for work as my childcare costs would make it impossible.

ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 19:27:13

I have no issue with working during this summer and in fact plan to, although I don't finish until the end of June and start again on the first of September so it's only actually 2 months. I won't be having the summer off once j start my degree though, only 2 weeks of it.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:28:08

Well you'll have 7 weeks each summer when you can either claim HB or work. Can't you get a job for the next three months?

Either way, your DP will end her IS claim when you start your course, won't she? So they won't be able to keep calling you in for WFIs.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:30:05

I won't be having the summer off once j start my degree though, only 2 weeks of it.

So the bursary covers 45 weeks but you have to do an extra five weeks unpaid placement on top?

WooWooOwl Thu 05-Jun-14 19:34:40

The sense is in the fact that if you have three children already, you should be supporting them financially. Study is a wonderful thing, and so is wanting to improve your earning potential, but in the meantime your family of five still needs to be fed, clothed and housed somehow. If the state is doing all that for you, then it really isn't that much for them to ask that you explain how you plan to provide at least something for your own children in the near future.

GarlicJuneBlooms Thu 05-Jun-14 19:38:03

Some posters seem to have missed the widely announced news that everybody earning less than the equivalent of full-time minimum wage now has to attend 'work focused interviews' and follow bunches of absurd steps to show they're trying to improve their income. The only low earners to escape this 'providers' gravy train will be those claiming no benefits whatsoever, and those on Support Group ESA who still have to show up for interrogation assessment as often as the DWP chooses.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:41:05

it really isn't that much for them to ask that you explain how you plan to provide

That won't actually even happen Woo as dependants allowance and IS are not supposed to be received at the same time. The WF Interviews are a condition of the IS, so once the OP is on the course, they will stop.

It isn't entirely clear what the thread is really about.

Fideliney Thu 05-Jun-14 19:43:13

Oh is the OP in one of the UC areas? It would have helped to say so, if it is the case.

Garlic Universal Credit is a long way from national roll out. No need for sarcasm.

8dayweek Thu 05-Jun-14 20:07:46

Haven't read all the replies but by the sounds of it you've been invited in for a Work Focused Interview for Partners, which happens roughly after 6 months of claiming. As it's an Income Support couple claim you'll just have the one appointment (partners of JSA claimants are seen every 6 months) and you're not required to take up any support if you don't want to. It's basically to explain that you are entitled to the same kind of assistance / able to access the same funds etc as your partner if you choose to look for work. Under UC they'll be much fewer "couple" claims (i.e. They will all more like JSA joint claims where both members of the couple are required to seek employment) with certain restrictions for certain circumstances. IMHO this will be a lot fairer as LP's get a rough deal in comparison at the moment!

theywillgrowup Thu 05-Jun-14 21:03:49

just go,its not that bad,nod and smile at the right time and you will be fine,yes ive attended many myself

but make sure you go as you will be sanctioned

ProtegeMoi Thu 05-Jun-14 23:47:33

I am going, like I said just think it's a waste of both our time and it appears I'm being very conflicting information as to what will happen in September with them telling me I must attend every 6 months throughout the 3 years. I suppose I will find out more next week.

Fideliney - the course lasts for 45 weeks of the year, I have the remaining 7 weeks off. However the way the course is structured I only have 2 of those of during the summer. There is two at Easter, 2 over Christmas and 1 in October. It is not structured like a traditional course. Also any time of must be made up so these weeks 'off' are used to attend placement so that the correct numbers of hours have been signed off as each half hour over the three years must be accounted for.

To the posters that think I should be eternally grateful for every scrap I recieve, I did not ask to have a disabled child who needed my care, I did not ask to then end up a single parent. However with the help of my second partner I am doing the best I can to make our lives better and eventually secure us a future free from state help.

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:07:06

I'm wondering if you can get an appt with a student adviser even though you haven't registered yet. Don't depend on jobcentre advice - it isn't always the best.

Can you confirm whether you are in a Universal Credit area or not because that will make a huge difference. (Not least to the WFI issue)

Are you also aware of Family Fund and all the little extras that you are entitled to as parent of child with a disability?

ProtegeMoi Fri 06-Jun-14 00:17:59

Contacting the student advisor might be useful yes.

I am not really sure as to UC, I know there is loads of switch overs at the moment as people have been having DLA changed to PIP etc. but it's still IS for the time being, wether or not that is changing I don't know as this isn't a new income support claim so is out of the blue.

Will also look into some of the grants thank you. So much of our income goes on his therapy so anything that helps will make a huge difference.

shouldbeelsewhere Fri 06-Jun-14 00:18:30

If you can't get in with a student advice centre, your local CAB will be able to help with this. Details can be found on

ProtegeMoi Fri 06-Jun-14 00:21:08

Just checked the website, yes we are in a UC postcode. Maybe this is related then and it's being changed over.

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:22:06

You may be eligible for Universal Credit if you’ve just become unemployed and live in one of the following postcodes:

BA1, BA2, BA3
BS31, BS39
CV21, CV22
HG1, HG2, HG3, HG4, HG5
IV1, IV2, IV3, IV4, IV5, IV8, IV9, IV10, IV11, IV12, IV13, IV21, IV22, IV26, IV54, IV63
M35, M43
OL1, OL2, OL3, OL4, OL6, OL7, OL8, OL9
PH19, PH20, PH21, PH22, PH23, PH24, PH25, PH26, PH32
W6, W14
WA1, WA2, WA3, WA4, WA5, WA13
WN1, WN2, WN3, WN5, WN6

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:24:26

You presumably are not in one of the current UC areas (above) but I am posting for anyone else who might be worried.

My understanding is the whole UC project is in such trouble that further roll-outs have been suspended, so that's some reassurance.

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:25:59

Oh bad luck. That doesn't help hmm

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:29:20

In that case I would do my damnedest to get a student advice appt AND a CAB appt. CAB will have best understanding of the local situation.

ProtegeMoi Fri 06-Jun-14 00:33:08

Yep my postcode is on that list, I'm in cheshire and apparantly it's being piloted here I've just read. I will call the uni tomorrow. They have taken into account the fact we get income support and housing benefit when calculating my bursery and reduced it accordingly but it looks like I won't actually get that so hopefully bursery can be recalculated.

Fideliney Fri 06-Jun-14 00:40:09

Fingers crossed smile

Turn to us grant checker might be worth a whirl (searchs 1000s of grants including some v obscure ones and you can put in all your circs to see what might apply including DC's SN, midwifery course etc)

Also Contact a Family's helpline for benefits and grants and anything else to do with disabled children, if you haven't spoken to them already.

Try everything. You mustn't be deterred from your degree by some governmental idiots smile

jacks365 Fri 06-Jun-14 06:59:30

Have you applied for student finance rather than just the bursary? In your situation I would expect student loans to provide maintenance grant and loan, grant for supporting adult dependent, child tax credits including the disability premiums, there's also a couple of other allowances too. Go to their website to see what you're entitled too but you should be able to close your is claim completely.

Turquoisetamborine Fri 06-Jun-14 07:25:02

OP it's unlikely you would be eligible for income support while at uni. You need to claim student finance. Sorry if someone has already said this.

So you will go to one appointment then be off IS by the time the next one comes so what's the problem? If you are looking for a summer job anyway they may have some suggestions about that.

You wouldn't like it on JSA as they often have to come in daily. It's once a month, not much to ask for hundreds of pounds a month. It's also to check your circumstances haven't changed too. They don't do it over the phone because you'd be surprised how many are claiming benefits from abroad so this is a deterrent.

Turquoisetamborine Fri 06-Jun-14 07:25:46

Once every six months not once a month. Once every three years once your youngest turns 5.

ProtegeMoi Fri 06-Jun-14 13:07:55

Jack - I've applied for a maintenance loan yes, we are lot entitled to a reduced one due to the bursery and not entitled to the grant at all. However the bursery has deducted income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit off what I am getting.

I will try that turn to us site now fideliney thanks.

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