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Anyone else had a letter from DWP

(18 Posts)
Anngeree Fri 09-Oct-09 10:14:10

I recieved a letter yesterday from DWP saying that from October next year any lone parents with children over 7 will be taken off income support & encouraged to find work/ better hours.
This applies to anyone NOT working more than 16hrs, people on training courses and voluntary workers. We will also be expected to attend work focused interviews every 3mths instead of the current 6mths.

I'm not against working I chose to be a SAHM after I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave (company closure) & since Ds started school i've helped out voluntary in his school & I really enjoy this.

However having not being in paid employment for 6yrs i'm very nervous of the prospect of returning & feel that single parents are being forced to provide rather than be there for their children. Shouldn't we have the same rights as married mums to make choices that will affect our children??

I'd be quite happy if I could find a job to fit around school as I enjoy being there to take Ds to school & collect him.

I should also add that I have hearing problems due to Menieres disease & since the last time I was in paid employment my hearing has deteriorated which also adds to my apprehension of returning to paid employment.

Anyone else nervous about returning to paid employment or has anyone done it & had a positive experience?

Tinkerbel6 Fri 09-Oct-09 12:49:34

IS claimants will be moved onto JSA which will be mean work focused interviews every 3 months and more opportunities for training schemes, although from the end of this month people on IS will have their work focused interviews changed from 6 monthly to 3 monthly if their children were born between 25/10/00 and 27/10/03, so there isn't really much of a difference between the 2 benefits.

I think lots of LP's are nervous of getting back into work after so long of being out of the workforce, im sure that will ease once in employment.

GypsyMoth Fri 09-Oct-09 12:56:45

i fail to see how,in this climate,how any of us will ever find a decent job!!

have been looking.....at last interview(jobcentre) i was told a 10 hour job is no good,a waste of time etc,etc. surely its better than nothing...THATS what annoys me

MrsMorgan Fri 09-Oct-09 13:04:06

I had the same letter, also stating that from now on my work focused interviews will be 3mthly rather than 6mthly.

I don't have a problem with it, other than that they need to realise that just because they move someone to jobseekers allowance, it doesn't mean they will suddenly get offered a job.

I have applied for roughly 4 jobs in the last 3 weeks and not even got to inteview stage.
Applied for another on Wednesday and was supposed to hear yesterday or today if i'd be called for an interview but nothing as yet.

CarGirl Fri 09-Oct-09 13:06:03

I think it's a very tough one in the area where I live a lone parent with 2 children entitled to a 3 bed house living in private rented will cost the LA/Givernment around £25,000 per year in HB/CTC/CB & IS. It seems to be the Landlords who make all the money whilst everyone elses loses out!

I also think it is really unrewarding that after keeping your initial £20 per week that you earn that you only get to keep 10% of what you earn as the rest is deducted of benefits, doesn't exactly make anyone feel valued.

It is really hard to return to work after a long gap and of course most people would rather be there for their children than not being there because they have to financially provide for their children. However we have an ageing population and the books don't balance there will just be more and more public spending cuts on health and education until the balance is readdressed.

It really sucks that working 10 hours per week is so looked down as yes it is so much better than doing nothing!

There is no easy or "fair" answer though. I was a single working parent I'm now a very p/t working mum of 4 and have a dh. Now that my youngest has gone to school I too need to work because in the long term we can't continue at the level of income that we have - I don't like it either.

ChocHobNob Fri 09-Oct-09 14:22:41

I'm married and can't afford to stay at home and look after my children any longer. I have been out of work for 5 years and am nervous about getting back out there. But I don't get any help in doing so! I think it's good that they seem to be encouraging and offering support to single parents getting back to work.

I'd love to stay at home and be there for my children, but to me, that is important when they are very young. At 7 they will be out of the house themselves for most of the day.

I appreciate it's difficult though but agree with Cargirl.

MrsMorgan Fri 09-Oct-09 18:40:32

I must point out that the 'help' with getting a job that is mentioned is non existent in terms of actual help getting a job.

Yes if you get a job you are entitled to extra financial help for the first year but ime the job centre do not actually help you to find a job.

All of the interviews I have ever had I have got myself, not through anything that the jobcentre did.

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 19:01:16

It must be a hard prospect - but when my youngest started school, I started p/time work three months later, just applied and applied and applied. If I hadn't been offered a job I'd have signed up for a course to help me find a job - although DH is very supportive, he works full time, and we had to learn to juggle days off etc to manage childcare, so I'm fortunate in that respect, I don't need to find a child care provider, it just costs us in lost income when DH doesn't work, but overall we're both happier showing our kids how to work (within reason, not making it your be all and end all) for what you want.

snigger Fri 09-Oct-09 19:02:59

I caked myself, I add - the most stressful, yet most fulfilling and rewarding, thing I've done, returning to work after a six and a half year break.

Take any support you can get, and make sure you check on any extra tax credits etc you might be entitled to.

WickedWench Fri 09-Oct-09 19:22:44

You should check out Access to Work which is a fund to support people with disabilities who are working. It pays for things such as specialist equipment, BSL interpreters etc so that the employee/employers don't have to bear that cost.

If you use speak to your Personal Adviser at JCP (when you get one) ask them about it and also ask if it would be better for you to meet with the Disability Employment Adviser because of your hearing problems.

You'll be fine by the way. I had no choice but to return to work 3 months after I had DS (bad old days - Tory government!!) and I don't think there are that many 'married mums' who have the option of being SAHMs. I don't know any!

CarGirl Sat 10-Oct-09 10:02:59

WickedWench I had to be actively seeking working when my eldest was 6 weeks old to be entitled to income support because my then husband was a college student (having had to take early retirement on health grounds) oh yes the good old days.........I was the breadwinner when my dd was 9 weeks old and she had to go to a childminder shock

"I should also add that I have hearing problems due to Menieres disease & since the last time I was in paid employment my hearing has deteriorated which also adds to my apprehension of returning to paid employment." is there some sort of process to be assessed as whether you will be classed as disabled because of your hearing impairment? Only some employers actively recruit those registered disabled usually the government & local authorities etc.

thesunshinesbrightly Sun 11-Oct-09 00:48:44

yes i have, was going too college, but now need to jobs to make ends meet, oh well their goes my dream, kids are not happy.

thesunshinesbrightly Sun 11-Oct-09 00:50:25

two jobs hmm

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 11-Oct-09 01:02:45

You can go to college and remain on IS as long as the course is under HNC level, you should get childcare and travel costs paid either by the college or Jobcentre plus, as long as you join New Deal for Lone Parents prior to application (plus ann extra £15 per week training premium). As long as you start the course prior to your IS ending you can be "transitionally protected" and remain on IS until the course ends. Talk to your Lone Parent Adviser. I do this a lot for my customers.

If you are unable to work due to ill health you can claim ESA instead of JSA, this will be fully explained 6 weeks prior to your IS end date at your "end of IS interview".You will also be invited to attend an "options and choices" event in advance of the changeover which explains all of your, er "options and choices".

If you are in receipt of Carers Allowance, the new rules don't apply and you will remain on IS for as long as you are a Carer.

Incidentally, the reason why lone parent advisers do not reccomend working 10 hrs per week is because you need 16 hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, without this it is not worth your while coming off IS.

CarGirl Sun 11-Oct-09 13:20:38

KatieScarlett - that's fab, I think that's really good that parents can get support to go to college.

Anngeree Sun 11-Oct-09 18:59:30

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I'll be speaking to my personal adviser when I'm due to see her next month. I have been told in the past that I could see a disability adviser but as Ds isn't 7 until next May JCP have been happy with my doing voluntary work.

Even though I have menieres disease i'm not classed as disabled (in the eyes of DWP) as with the help of equipment I can lead a fairly ordinary life so I'm not entitled to DLA etc.

I will ask about access to work as I will need a Loop system & hearing aid compatable telephones in the workplace.

I'm a trained Nursery nurse & the problem with suffering Menieres disease is that it's difficult for me to hear in places where theres a lot of background noise & it's quite difficult to keep a group of 30+ children quiet!wink

When I volunteer in school the teacher is aware of my hearing difficulties & i'll go in 10 mins before children arrive in class so I can talk to the teacher find out what i'm doing most of the time it's reading with children in a quiet environment on a 1-1 basis but I do struggle when i'm helping in a large group.

I think my main fear is because of my hearing problems i'll be classed as a poor communicator & therefore not suitable to work with children even though it's what i'm trained & qualified to do & it would also be brilliant working in a school with having a school aged child myself for holidays etc.

There seemed to be a lot more help for people with disabilities before the recession now it seems like all the good jobs will go to people who've made redundant.So being told that I'll be taken off income support does seem really daunting.

CarGirl Mon 12-Oct-09 19:31:33

I'm sure it is really daunting but don't sell yourself short - it sounds like you have fantastic recent eperience as well as good qualifications. I hope the perfect 16 hours per week job appears for you before May!

notevenamousie Tue 13-Oct-09 10:41:55

I am one of these terrible single mums that works to provide for my child rather than being able to be there. I thought this was normal - a normal role model to provide to your dc and how society should be set up to work. I think it's very dangerous to let yourself get out of the workplace like this - how can you save for your childrens' higher education, your own pension, explain to them why they need to go to school and what they have to work for? OP, I hope you can get back in to something valuable and rewarding - applying for jobs is, I agree, soul-destroying but it will do you and your dc so much good to not be supported by the state but to support yourselves.

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