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Income support meeting

(57 Posts)
UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Oct-15 22:10:56

Just wondering if IBU

Found myself as a single mum on benefits due to having to leave ex partner.
Last week I had an IS meeting with the job centre. She asked if I was planning on going back to work and I said yes, in the next year or 2 as I'm currently saving to pay for my C1 license so I can join the ambulance service.
She basically said it was a "pipe dream" and that I should probably just settle with a minimum wage job and look to going back to work immediately. I explained to her that with childcare and travel costs (I'm taking my driving test next month so currently rely on public transport) I was 250 pounds a month worse off when I was working. She then said "that's just life darling," and again tried to convince me to look for bar jobs.
AIBU to refuse to go back to work atm just to end up in debt again, never to be able to afford to do my C1 and actually get a nice stable job that will fund a comfortable life for myself and DD? She's only just turned 1 so have another 2 years until the IS stops, which is the time frame I'm giving myself to get my ass in gear! I've had a shitty year, fleeing domestic violence which she was aware of and only just managed to get back on my feet. I'm not planning to live on benefits, they're just really saving my ass at the moment! Really unsure now though whether I should just forget about the ambulance job, suck it up and try and muddle through on a minimum wage job where I wouldn't even be able to afford to buy food shopping sad
Any advice would be appreciated! Especially anyone who has been in my position! Thank you smile

Fugghetaboutit Tue 06-Oct-15 22:13:10

Yanbu. They have a lot of pressure to get people off IS due to cuts. Your child has only turned 1 ffs. You sound like you have a good idea of what you're going to do. Stick with it.

Fugghetaboutit Tue 06-Oct-15 22:14:01

I was in your exact situation, explaining I was going back to work and they just kept on anyway. Just ignore, you'll probably see someone else next time and have to go through it again.

starlight2007 Tue 06-Oct-15 22:18:39

I bet she has a target to meet..

you are well within your rights.. and with the child tax benefits cuts it sounds like you are doing the right thing.

I fled from DV when my DS was 10 months old..It wasn't just about getting things back on track for me it was for DS who had severe seperation issues as a result.

FishWithABicycle Tue 06-Oct-15 22:22:17

You are absolutely doing the right thing - and the public purse will be better off for you taking the extra time so you can earn a decent wage and draw less benefits in the long run than if you set your targets low and need top up benefits forever.

Good luck!

WhenTheDragonsCame Tue 06-Oct-15 22:25:25

I have just come off income support to start university and was lucky that everyone I met during a meeting was pleasant and wished me well with my studies.

Has the age that income support stops dropped to 3 now? Up until August it was 5.

Purplepoodle Tue 06-Oct-15 22:36:35

I think your being very specific with your job choice and perhaps need to think more broadly. Perhaps gain other qualifications that would help you get a job in ambulance service - first aid ect. Many trusts require gcse or nvq. You need a back up plan incase you can't get into the ambulance service as a driver

Purplepoodle Tue 06-Oct-15 22:37:32

Relative started as a call handler then moved into driving and that trust paid for her additional licence

UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Oct-15 22:37:40

Thank you everyone! You're all so kind smile
dragons yes I heard they are changing it so that when child turns 3, you have to move onto JSA. For me it's a good thing, as it gives me less time to fuck about!! grin

UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Oct-15 22:39:21

Thank you purplenoodle that's really helpful. I was planning on doing first responding when I've got my car to get my foot in the door. I'll have to find out where my nearest call centre is!

UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Oct-15 22:39:48


expatinscotland Tue 06-Oct-15 22:42:01


TheFormidableMrsC Tue 06-Oct-15 22:42:24

You are absolutely doing the right thing. I have found myself in a similar situation to you unfortunately but because my husband left as he was having an affair and before he even told me he was leaving he had sacked me from our family business and stopped my salary hmm. I had given up a long term City career for him big mistake. I had no choice but to go on benefits. I had an ASD toddler and lost my income overnight, literally. I have been lucky, the JobCentre have been fantastic to me and very sympathetic, it sounds like you've just ended up with somebody trying to meet targets. As if this whole process isn't humiliating enough without having to deal with somebody who can't see that the long term gain for you. Sending you a hand hold and lots of luck for the future. You deserve it flowers

IgnoreMeEveryOtherReindeerDoes Tue 06-Oct-15 22:43:49

That lone parent advisor is more that a jobsworth you can make a complaint as maybe they need a refreshers training course! My Lone parent advisors have always been very helpful and supportive.

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Tue 06-Oct-15 22:44:31

Sounds like you got a dodgy advisor.

I am in a similar situation, but I still have my job. I am on extended maternity leave.

The first meeting was awful. Unexpected. I got lost. Soaked in the rain. Had to walk for an hour in the rain with the buggy...

Lady said "you will be £50 a week better off by going back to work". I replied "it will cost me £70 a week in petrol to get there..." When fuel was at its highest!

She agreed. Said I was better off waiting for ds to be in big school, so child care costs were less. Then she gave info for winter fuel help. Sure start vouchers. And a couple of other things that were actually useful.

It might help for you to ask for a different advisor?

flossietoot Tue 06-Oct-15 22:44:34

She can't force you to apply for jobs, but can signpost you to organisations that will help you to be job ready whe your child turns five (it hasn't dropped to three just yet, but there are certain conditions to meet when child is three).

TheFormidableMrsC Tue 06-Oct-15 22:45:10

I want to be Purplenoodle grin

flossietoot Tue 06-Oct-15 22:46:37

These conditions will also be dropped to when child turns one under universal credit, but probably not until 2017! I was speaking to a senior person from the DWP about this last week.

SWFARMER Tue 06-Oct-15 22:47:39

I don't know the right answer sorry.

However I do know you do not need to settle for a minimum wage job. I had an office job with no experience and was on 16,000 which quickly progressed to 17,500.. And then you work your way up and increase wage and so on.

Just a thought :-)

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Tue 06-Oct-15 22:50:01

I work and went back to work when DC1 was 6 months old.

I don't get much in TC but I love my job as a cleaner. I will state I'm on £9 an hour.

As a tax payer I would rather mothers ( and the few fathers) who are on IS or JSA to get the career they want < realistic im not on about stardom >

To me it makes sense.

IS is cheaper for the government to fund V childcare cost plus tax credits.

UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Oct-15 23:00:53

Thank you guys smile I thought I was doing the sensible thing! She just made me doubt myself for a minute or two! Really confused about the IS though regarding how long I can claim for? Because if I CAN claim until she starts school, that would just make life a hell of a lot easier!

Calaisienne Tue 06-Oct-15 23:04:55

I used to run a JobCentre. I don't agree with people holding out for the job they want and expect the rest of the tax payers to support them in that (believe me no-one wants to run a Job Centre but it pays the mortgage).

However there are some circumstances where it is reasonable to hold out for a better offer as long as you are taking positive action to improve your job prospects - one is where you are recently unemployed and have a good chance of getting into your old field, and the other is where your child is very small. I can see why the rules are changing from under 5 to under 3, but I think moving the line down to 1 year old is a bad step.

Please note I am talking about unemployed people here not those who are disabled or carers for disabled.

Stick to your guns, and please make a complaint about this advisor, she is bullying you and is acting ultra vires.

ilovesooty Tue 06-Oct-15 23:05:45

I think regardless of anything else I'd have taken exception to being addressed as "darling".

Osolea Tue 06-Oct-15 23:13:56


Finding childcare to cover you while doing the training to be in the ambulance service will be close to impossible, so while it's an admirable goal, I don't think you can focus on that as being the only job you'll do.

You have a responsibility to provide for your dd as soon as you possibly can, and if you are fit and healthy there's no reason why you shouldn't be looking for work now. Personally, I think it's immoral to expect the state to support you for years when you are capable of doing something to at least contribute towards paying your own way in life.

Don't give up on the idea of joining the ambulance service, but you will have to do something to support yourself and your child until you can make it happen.

TheFormidableMrsC Tue 06-Oct-15 23:23:17

Osolea, sorry, you are being completely unrealistic. I cannot even begin to tell you how shit it is being in this situation. I was a high earner, I have paid hundreds of thousands in tax over the years and will not apologise for having to rely on benefits in the short term, a safety net for people like me and the OP, exactly what it was designed for. In the long term, her taxation will be greater if she has a solid well paid career rather than a minimum wage job that she may not be able to progress from. Short term pain, long term gain. I completely changed my opinion of the benefits system when I found myself in it. I do know people who use it as a "career", indeed one person in my own family has never had a job and just pops out babies. I don't agree with that. I do, however, think that giving the OP a break to get a qualification that will serve her for years is the far better option. I now find myself a "carer". I want a law degree. If I can do that while I care for my child, then I will. It is a very short term investment for the taxpayer and as I have said, I have paid way way way more in tax than I would EVER get back from short term state benefits.

I don't want to turn this thread into a benefits vs work argument, but I think there is a huge difference between shirking and aiming for the best possible goal in life.

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