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Re- Benefits..please read..!!

(197 Posts)
bichonbuzz Thu 20-Aug-09 23:21:53

Have just watched Benefits Busters prog where women on benefits are supported to try to return to work.One of the women gets £240 pw- has 4 chldren - which coincidentally is my wage - and she stated that she wanted to return to work but felt that benefits are too high and actually discorage some people to work.She was offered a job during her course but calculated that to take this job it would mean that she would be £50 pw WORSE OFF- i just feel that the gov should have let her work and contribute something for the benefits she would continue to get - it would be a win win situation as she felt it wd help her self esteem to work (appriciate some people could nt do this due to circumstances )- She seemed upset and motivated to work and it would have been one less person on benefits - AIBU to wish that she could have been supported to do this whilst keeping her benefits ....

paisleyleaf Thu 20-Aug-09 23:24:08

Does volunteer work interfere with benefits?

TalkIsCheap Thu 20-Aug-09 23:24:12

The system does throw up some crazy anomalies sometimes doesn't it ?

NervousNutty Thu 20-Aug-09 23:26:19

Volunteer work doesn't exactly interfere no, but the job centre get very twitchy if you do voluntary work, as they think you will eventually end up getting paid on the side and not declare it.

Also, once the ladies youngest child reaches 7, she has to look for paid employment anyway.

bichonbuzz Thu 20-Aug-09 23:26:33

Paisley leaf - im not sure - id say it would be good to build experience but then they say people have to be avaliable for work ...I think the woman in question wanted to feel that she earned her own money but good point ....

BigGobMum Thu 20-Aug-09 23:28:02

Paisley - I dont know about now but volunteer work used to affect benefits. I used to do volunteering for a charity which involved stays away from home. I had to 'sign off' for the period I was away and sign on again when I came back.

NervousNutty Thu 20-Aug-09 23:31:43

One of my neighbours helps out in the computer dept of a school. He asked job centre if it was ok, and they said yes, so long as he had a letter from the school stating that he recieved no payment or it.

He got said letter, sent it to relevant dept, and what did they do ??? Yes, they stopped his benefits. Why ?? Because a letter stamped by the school wasn't proof enough apprently.

paisleyleaf Thu 20-Aug-09 23:33:57

That's awful.
I'd just thought the experience could be good on a CV, so perhaps getting you into a better job that might pay more than the benefits.

junglist1 Fri 21-Aug-09 07:23:18

how typically ridiculously stupid

misdee Fri 21-Aug-09 07:37:43

we are on benefits. dh has a job offer pending, (waiting on docs report), and we wont be any better off, wont be any worse off, but i'm telling you, the boost dh has gotn from getting an interview and a job offer has been amazing. he is a different man. am hoping the docs report is enough, but if not then DDA will be informed.

secretgardin Fri 21-Aug-09 07:48:40

a family member of ours had her dc1 when she was 16 and her dc2 when she was 18. she has always been adamant that they will have a different life to what she had. when she started doing a few hours of cleaning, her benefits were cut, so she was no better off. 2 years ago, she had 3 different jobs, to completely come of benefits. she started a course through her one employer as well and put a huge amount of effort into trying to improve her and the kids life. unfortunately she got so much into debt, was taken to court as it was either feeding her dc or paying her council tax (i know which one i would pick). she was worse off by at least £200 a month. she couldn't afford to work. can't understand where the logic is in that.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Aug-09 07:58:37

the problem is that the system literally completely cuts the claimant off. they have to apply for WTC, which can take weeks if not months. their housing/council tax benefit gets cut off and again, weeks if not months to sort out.

on WTC, you lose most if not all council tax benefit. that alone is an extra £1000/annum even for most A band homes. you also lose much housing benefit. in many cities, that's another £5000-£6000/annum, from gross earnings.

ever seen threads on here from people who experience a tax credit fuck up?

the TCO stops their tax credit payments. just like that.

until the cock up is sorted out, which can take months.

people on WTC lose free school dinners, free prescriptions and dental care.

basically, the problem, other than childcare, is that low-incomes are taxed WAY too much.

and the tax credits system needs revision.

and benefits need to be graduated in relation to income, not just 'you're working, you're on your own.'

MIAonline Fri 21-Aug-09 08:01:14

It also makes me think the minimum wage really isn't enough if someone can get more on benefits. I think there is a case for topping up someone's pay to their pre-benefit level.

She gets £240 a week from benefits and her job would only pay £190. If she was £50 worse of for getting a job, she could be topped up. It would save the system the £190 her employer is paying. Once the pay (either through more hours as children get older or pay increases) reaches the same level, then top ups could be phased out.

ssd Fri 21-Aug-09 08:05:13

couldn't agree more expat

we were better off when we got WFTC, since I've been working for minimum wage we are worse off

there's no incentive for low paid workers to go to work, I work as being at home all day when the kids are in school drives me nuts

violethill Fri 21-Aug-09 08:51:23

Totally agree ssd.

The obvious solution is that there needs to be a greater differential between the lowest paid work and being on benefits. In fact ultimately I think it's the only solution.

Many of us know that there are other huge advantages to working - self esteem, being a good role model, meeting new people etc, but if you're second or third generation unemployed you probably can't see those advantages at all. And I think there will always be a small core of people who can't be arsed to work unless there is more of a financial incentive.

It's not simple, because the benefits system is incredibly complex, and it's not just looking at the amount brought into the house, it's all the other things that expat points to like free school meals, prescriptions etc. There is often very little financial incentive for someone to work rather than be on minimum wage.

If we had a system whereby being on benefits paid for you to exist quite reasonably and healthily, but no more than that, and being in the most low paid job gave you measurably more than that - eg the means to go on holiday, have more spending money in your pocket - then more people would want to work. If they can't see that there will be a measurable difference in terms of financial gain, they won't.

Not really rocket science is it? hmm

expatinscotland Fri 21-Aug-09 10:56:37

The other problems are a) age discrimination b) the fact that many low or min-wage jobs require complete availability to work on a 24/7 schedule which varies from day-to-day or week-to-week.

If you are a lone parent, this is a huge obstacle, particularly if you don't have willing relatives or friends/neighbours.

As Nutty pointed out, too, usually you need to pay the childminder by the week no matter if you work all the days/shifts.


And yes, you have to come up with a good 39% of that or so yourself, on top of losing most of your housing/council tax benefit, transport costs and losing other benefits worth thousands.

Sorry but it's not as simple as 'on yer bike'. That's what lead to a lot of problems in the first place and why so many no longer have the roots and links needed to help with childcare.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Aug-09 10:57:53

I've thankfully never been a lone parent or had to live off benefits. We do get tax credits and partial housing benefit as we are working poor, but we are married and have the option of swapping out shifts to avoid childcare costs.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Fri 21-Aug-09 11:29:55

When I was a lone parent and looking to go back to work I wouldn't have been better or worse off but I was in a very very lucky position to having an ex that worked away from home so the dc's and I were living in a house which he was still paying the lortgage on for part of the time until we were all on our feet.
Had I had rent to pay there was no way I could have gone back to work as when I was told what I would get in housing benefit, counsil tax etc I couldn't have afforded to pay what I wouldn't have had to on benefits.

Also it was far simpler to work when neither of the dc's were in school as full time childcare was far easier to find than now trying to find care for dd in the holidays and wraparound during term time.

Now I live in an area where the school has an after school club and holiday club but are prced way out my league even with a dh.
I am in a ctch 22 sitaution I really do need to work but to make it worth my while I would have to work full time but
I don't have suitable options for child care to enable me to work full time and would be working for nest to nithing part time.

And the sad thing is if I left dh then finacnially I would be better off getting my rent and most of my council tax paid for me so the benefits I would get every week in my back would actually add up to way more than we have to live on some weeks at the moment.

oldraver Fri 21-Aug-09 11:34:19

I have just spent about an hour on Entitled To to look at what help I would get in other circumstances and yes the Tax Credit system is a joke and very skewed. I am hoping to return to work next year when DS goes to school and was looking at different scenarios.I dont get benefits, and dont work enough to claim WTC at the moment.

If I earned £15,000 form pure work I would get full CTC and some WTC, some Housing Benefit and some Council Tax Benefit. Putting the same totals in (£15,000) but split from 'other income' and some paid work I would get a third the amount of WTC, no council tax benefit and Housing Benefit would be £25 instead of over £100.....Its a crazy system

madameDefarge Fri 21-Aug-09 18:41:57

Um, expat, when I was on wftc I got free prescriptions and eye tests and everything...

I earned £10k per year, and got about £500 per month in wftc/cb/ctc, so had about £1,300 per month to live on.

The housing benefit didn't affect me as I had a mortgage at that point, but I had no help with that.

So as a single parent it worked well for me.

madameDefarge Fri 21-Aug-09 18:44:10

oh, and on top of that there was a £60 per week top up for getting back to work for a year or so...

expatinscotland Fri 21-Aug-09 18:58:52

Um, Madame, we have free prescriptions in Scotland.

I don't know what the situation would be for a lone parent with one child, as I am married and have three children.

expatinscotland Fri 21-Aug-09 19:00:52

We have free eye tests, too.

We did, however, have a WTC credit cock up.

They cut us off without a bean until it got sorted out 7 months later even though it was their error.

We were definitely NOT better off.

I'd hate to be a lone parent with the possibility of that hanging over my head.

madameDefarge Fri 21-Aug-09 19:04:59

indeed, maybe I was lucky. But when it works properly it is a good system.

drosophila Fri 21-Aug-09 19:06:03

I guess you have to also weigh up the long term impact of her returning to work. Should she have taken the job even if she was worse of in the belief that she will as a result probably get better paying jobs in the future. A gamble I know.

Also the mental health benefits to working may have been worth the financial loss. It's a tough call.

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