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To think that the Jobcentre are absolutely taking the piss?

(135 Posts)
BumFunHun Tue 10-May-16 19:32:35

A bit of background history first of all:-

My dad, aged 60+ (keeping it vague for the purposes PC/data protection/fear this post may backfire to his detriment) moved in with my DH and I approx 3 years ago, after finding himself a little bit homeless, and a lot unemployed and skint.

Anyway, moves in with us, and starts the painful process of 'being a doley' (his words, not mine) for the first time ever in his adult life. He's worked previously since he was 18 in a manual trade.

This is where it gets all kinds of apologies in advance - and congratulations if you read this without falling into coma:-

So, resigned to the fact that at 60+ he's not going to really have too much joy in finding manual work he has experience in, he signs on. Eventually his £76.whateveritis, starts filtering through on a fortnightly basis. Since January he has had to take part in compulsory work placement to continue receiving his pennies. Fine, no biggie, he gets on with it - has attended Every. Single. Fucking. Day since January. 10-4 pm, Monday to Saturday in the charity shop he's been assigned to. Mundane work, where, when asked how his day has been, he considers it a promotion to have been assigned to 'pressing' rather than 'hanger sorting'

Whatever, I digress, he today receives a letter telling him that his benefits are at threat of stopping as the Jobcentre in their infinite wisdom believe he did not attend his placement on 26 April (he did) and hasn't been completing his mandatory hours of 9-5pm (impossible, as the shop he has been assigned to opens at 10 and shuts at 4 - hence him taking it upon himself to do the Saturdays instead to make up the time)

I'm furious for him! I get that they have to enforce these mandatory placements to make working seem a better option for the few that choose benefits as a lifestyle choice - but the man is over 60 (although not quite entitled to any form of pension); has knackered knees; no relevant experience for less exhausting work; and his age against him when it comes to applying.

I'm also mad because (albeit slightly unrelated to the above):-
1. They (JS) made him attend a test to assess his English and Maths levels, despite him being grammar school educated, with exam passes clearly on the CV they made him rewrite to their standard precedent format (which ironically, is pretty crap)
2. The letter inviting him on the course was littered with the most basic grammar and spelling mistakes, he actually red-bic'd the whole thing and handed it in when he attended, joking that he'd completed the English test.
3. He's previously had letters demanding he attend course/appointments with them that are post stamped AFTER the date of said appointment, then been threatened with sanctions for not turning up
4. The most recent letter re the supposed 'failed attendance' was signed off 'Regards [initials, rather than name], so he can't even address a response to a person
5. They didn't check their sodding facts in any way before sending the letter.

Am I being unreasonable to think they are a bunch of penpushing wankers over there, and perhaps they should just give him a nice paid job in the HQ somewhere, proof-reading letters before they're sent, rather than making him work 30 hours a week for 76 quid a fortnight?!

Hit me - I can take it if I am BU.

I can also accept that my post could probably be a fuckload more concise - but I'm in rant mode, and my fingers of fire just won't stop typing....

Ironically, he couldn't give a shit. He's penning a letter addressed "Dear [initials]
[insert required written explanation required no later than 17 May]
Lots of love [his initials] x"

Perhaps I'll just not give a shit too, although his £40 a fortnight contribution to his food and the bills is actually quite needed. Feel better for offloading anyway.

StealthPolarBear Tue 10-May-16 19:34:55

Yanbu at all

DetectiveBeckett Tue 10-May-16 19:36:36


facebookrecruit Tue 10-May-16 19:37:00

Some job centre staff are absolutely awful. Evil jobsworths. You are definitely not wrong X

Toffeelatteplease Tue 10-May-16 19:37:25

Yanbu flowers

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 10-May-16 19:37:58

Am I being unreasonable to think they are a bunch of penpushing wankers

Absolutely not. The Job Centre does not exist the unemployed.

Meow75 Tue 10-May-16 19:38:19

Wankers- just wankers.

I have nothing more to add, because your DDad has been treated appallingly.

MashesToPashes Tue 10-May-16 19:39:21

Completely not being fucking unreasonable at all.

BumFunHun Tue 10-May-16 19:41:12

Apologies, I cocked up in the OP-it's 70 something quid a week he gets. For what it's worth. Maybe I need that Maths test he had to do wink

LadyAntonella Tue 10-May-16 19:42:31

Yanbu. Your poor dad. That's a sickening read. flowers

Storminateapot Tue 10-May-16 19:44:38

They deny they have targets for sanctions, but I don't believe it for a minute. It's all about finding ways to delay or deny money.

30 hours a week for just over £1 an hour?? 16 year olds are entitled to 3 times that!

TormundGiantsbabe Tue 10-May-16 19:48:22

Could he find part time work in a shop? He'd be doing less hours for more money and wouldn't have to deal with the jc. Maybe the charity shop volunteering would help get his foot in the door?

BumFunHun Tue 10-May-16 19:48:31


No, no, I messed upon the OP, he gets £70 a week, not a fortnight, so it prob works out about £2.50 an hour. He's practically minted, right?!

BumFunHun Tue 10-May-16 19:54:48

We're hoping this mandatory work may help if he could find PT in a shop-it's just his age that goes against him when applying for stuff I think (he just applies for anything and everything now, to meet the required quota of applications. He even applied for a beauty therapist job the other month 'for the crack' as everything seemed pretty pointless and bleak during that weeks' round of applications)
We live in a 'deprived town' with high ubemployment, which doesn't particularly help his plight either to be fair. There's hundreds of applications for anything part time and unskilled sad

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 10-May-16 19:54:57

One could be forgiven for thinking they do this sort of thing intentionally

AllThePrettySeahorses Tue 10-May-16 19:56:58

So let's get this right - he's paid his National Insurance for decades which entitles him to JSA if unemployed, and he's forced to jump through fucking hoops to get this pittance? And 6 days a week? Fucking lawsuit is in order. YANBU.

FuzzyOwl Tue 10-May-16 19:57:18

YANBU! This is unfortunately what people who choose to be on benefits as a lifestyle choice have done to those who need help. Admittedly, it does sound like your dad could do a job but I expect his age and the CV he has been forced to rewrite will make it very difficult for him.

CaptainMarvelDanvers Tue 10-May-16 19:57:25

He has rights OP. I'd find a local charity which deals with benefit issues.

People don't realise they actually have rights regarding benefits and believe they have to accept everything which is thrown at them. This isn't true.

If they sanction him, get him to ask for a mandatory reconsideration from the job centre. Do this straight away, explain why he disagrees with their reasons for being sanctioned. If you are in contact with a charity, they can draw up the letter for him and he can send it off(make sure you have proof of postage). If he does it over the phone make sure he takes the person's name and make a note of the date and exact time.

They will probably carry on with the sanction because they expect people to give up at the first hurdle. If they do carry on with the sanction, go for an appeal. Again you need to do all this as soon as possible because they put time limits and also like to play funny buggers. If your dad is sanctioned I really do urge you to get help from a charity, I don't know your area so I don't know whats about but if google doesnt work get in contact with a church which is very active in terms of fighting poverty, social and financial exclusion.

FuzzyOwl Tue 10-May-16 19:58:57

P.S. If he gets his MP to act on his behalf, his complaint will be dealt with by a specialist team and they should look at him as an individual rather than just a statistic!

CaptainMarvelDanvers Tue 10-May-16 19:59:14

Also most sanctions which go to appeal get overturned.

expatinscotland Tue 10-May-16 20:01:17


But someone will be along to tell you he needs to 'just move' (with no money, not being homeless as he's living with you, no job, etc) or 'look for jobs further afield' (because unskilled, zero hour contact jobs definitely call in people from out of town for interviews).

numberseventeen Tue 10-May-16 20:03:39

Fucking hell Op, that's appalling, I work for HMRC and we have lost a lot of staff to DWP recently for "work coach" roles.

Your dad, and my dad actually are the very reason I would never in a million years take the job. I'll stick where I am until I'm kicked out of the door.

My dad(grammar school educated, made redundant at 62 in the middle of radiotherapy treatment) was required to fill in a daily diary for jobs he had applied for. His "work coach" marked it, and annotated pages, like a primary school teacher ffs.

It makes my blood boil!

WeAllHaveWings Tue 10-May-16 20:05:37

3 years ago I was unemployed after redundancy, for the first time ever after working for 25 years,, luckily it only lasted 6 weeks.

My 3rd time "signing on" it was threatened 3 times that they would "stop my benefits" of £70ish contribution based JSA because I hadnt filled in the job search diary to this particular persons liking. Even though I explained this was new to me and the the previous weeks I had been told me what I was doing was correct she was still very patronising and frankly cruel.

This was also done in an open office with the next person in the queue sitting 5 feet away hearing every word.

I'm afraid I calmly and very firmly pulled them up on their attitude so I was lucky I got a new job the following week and didn't have to go back. I was also lucky my dunny money meant I wasn't reliant on their money so could risk their wrath and speak my mind.

They did not help me in anyway to find a job, looked at my CV and said its fine we can't really help you, you know enough to get on with it yourself.

I can totally see how it must be the most depressing, demotivating and humiliating experience for your dad. Some, not all, of the staff are beyond vile.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 10-May-16 20:06:06

There are plenty of people whose lives are being made unnecessarily miserable by this system like your dad and who would give anything to have a job.

Common sense has gone out the window to be replaced by computer generated letters and staff reading like robots from a screen.

upanup Tue 10-May-16 20:06:17

Yanbu. Your poor dad flowers

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