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not sure if I should take the temp job/moving to universal credits

(17 Posts)
Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 11:40:06

Up until three years ago, I had a reasonably good job in a niche field.
The small company I worked for went under and I have found it impossible to find another job.
I've been on benefits since.

I'm a single parent and I live in a really quiet area with poor public transport, I can't get a driving licence and I have no childcare.

My job centre advisor has basically told me that because of my situation and the area finding work is going to be very difficult until my son is old enough to look after himself in a few years so she basically just told me to keep 'searching' and that would be good enough for now.

Someone I used to work with has told me that she will be going abroad for 6 months and has asked if I would cover her role while she is away, she works for a very small local business, that she has a family connection to, doing what we did before, there will definitely not be a chance of the role going past the 6 months.

I've used entitled to and I would be around £300 a month better off, but the reason I am not sure about it is because I am currently claiming JSA, tax credits, etc and if my circumstances change I will be moved onto universal credit, and after the role ends I will be stuck on universal credit and back to being unemployed and claiming as a job seeker, which terrifies me.
If it wasn't for that I would take the job in a heartbeat.

I'd love to do the job but I am so scared about claiming universal credits.

I don't know what to do.

OP’s posts: |
TheProvincialLady Wed 12-Dec-18 11:52:00

Don’t risk your financial security for a six months long job. It’s not worth it. Put your efforts into a proper long term job, even though you will have a longer wait.

makingmiracles Wed 12-Dec-18 11:54:10

Tricky one. Are you absolutely sure you will be £300pm better off?
After any childcare, travel costs, tax and ni and any other things that you currently don’t pay for eg dental treatment and prescriptions?

If so, I would personally take the job and build up a savings pot for when you move to UC so that you have the money available to pay bills and not be struggling for the 5-7 weeks you have before the first UC payment comes through. (Make sure you don’t claim UC till after you’re last wage though otherwise they will count that as earnings in a qualifying period and you will lose a months UC)
Recent work will look good on your cv if you haven’t worked for three years.

Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 12:11:10

*Are you absolutely sure you will be £300pm better off?
After any childcare, travel costs, tax and ni and any other things that you currently don’t pay for eg dental treatment and prescriptions?*

According to entitledto I will be £300 better off.
I won't have any childcare costs (it will be during school hours)
I didn't think about tax and NI, I just put minimum wage (which the job is) into entitledto with the hours.
We haven't had any prescriptions in years and I already pay for my annual dental checkup (never had any dental issues so can't see any bills in my future) so that's not really an issue for me.

If I take the 6 month job I will be moved to universal credits, its active in our area, so the first month of the job I will be in that 5-7 week claim phase.

If I just stop all my benefits claims and don't put in a universal credit claim until after the 6 months I will be slightly worse off than I am now in work with no benefits at all.

OP’s posts: |
dancemom Wed 12-Dec-18 12:19:52

You will be moved to Universal Credit eventually anyway. The job could lead to something unexpected or even just give you recent experience which leads to something else.

Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 12:28:46

It will definitely give me some recent experience and a bit of extra money which is why my first instinct is to jump at the chance.
But I don't have any money set aside for the 5-7 week claim phase, which I was hoping to start saving after Christmas to cover it.

My job centre advisor said it will probably be close the autumn of next year before they start phasing over existing claimants, and who knows when they will get to me, so I could have a long while to save before I get switched to universal credits.

There is definitely no chance of it leading to a permanent job though.

OP’s posts: |
unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 12-Dec-18 12:32:58

Go back on entitled to and run it again as if you were unemployed and claiming Universal Credit.
Then make up your mind if its worth it long term.
It sounds like your "security" under JSA is more to do with your relationship with this particular advisor rather than the terms of JSA entitlement as such.

RedSkyLastNight Wed 12-Dec-18 12:47:52

Take the job. Build up as much as you can in advance and see if you can get an advance from the job?

Money aside, the extra experience and contacts are not to be sniffed at. You have no idea what will happen in 6 months. If nothing else save the £300 a month extra and use it to move to somewhere with better job prospects and/or public transport?

Living under benefits is not secure. Anything could change which you have no control over.

00kitty Wed 12-Dec-18 12:49:36

Take the job it's another 6 months experience to add to your CV. You'll be moved to UC next year anyway. Also at least that's 6 months supporting yourself and you can still job hunt for something longer term whilst you're working there

Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 12:52:12

i can compare between my jsa and benefit 'income' now and what my UC 'income' would be for a new claim, its almost exactly the same money, there is 79p difference a month.

OP’s posts: |
unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 12-Dec-18 12:59:52

In that case, I'd be tempted to take the job.

Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 13:02:44

I wish I could move to somewhere with better job opportunities but I can't,
the house we have is rented from a family friend, it's a secure long term tenancy and its below market rent, I'd be a fool to give this up to move and rent somewhere else where I would be at risk of being asked to leave every six months.
Also, my son is at the local school which is 'outstanding', its one of the best schools in the county, he is thriving there, I don't want to make him move to another school.

I know living on benefits is not ideal, I would give anything to be back into work, I'm literally applying for anything and everything but there is just very little around here that fits within school hours.

Realistically I think the only chance of me finding a job is to retrain, I have been looking into this for a while.

OP’s posts: |
Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 13:27:23

I do want to take the job, I could save the extra income or I could put towards retraining in something that would give me a chance at a new career.

But I'm just nervous, i've read so many horror stories on MN about UC
I dont know how I would get through the 5-7 claim phase, I have no savings.
I worked out that the very minimum I needed to survive a month would be £736.
I wouldn't be able to get a loan or anything to cover it.
I know you can ask the DWP for an advance, but that would mean I would end up being worse off for the foreseeable future.

OP’s posts: |
Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 13:29:33

I have just done an income tax and NI contributions calculator and worked out that after tax and NI I would actually be £215 better off each month, not £300.

OP’s posts: |
HeyMacWey Wed 12-Dec-18 13:33:10

Can't you use that £300 a month extra to save to tide you over for the crossover in between waiting for UC? For months of that would give you enough plus a little cushion.

Ginathemacaroon Wed 12-Dec-18 13:57:55

I'd need to stop my current claim and start a UC claim as soon as I start the job, so it'll be a month before I receive my first wage from the job, so the extra £215 I won't have until my first UC payment, so during the first month where I am working I won't have any money at all to pay my rent and bills.

OP’s posts: |
HeyMacWey Wed 12-Dec-18 14:05:33

Ah, that makes sense.

Tbh if it's only going to be £215 after tax and ni I probably wouldn't. It's a hard decision. But I can understand why you're cautious. UC sounds incredibly stressful.

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