Written September 6th, 2016
So many people presume that you go on benefits if you’re unemployed and you get funded, then you go back into work, end of story.
This is what really happens.
As a 23 year old graduate, I’m applying for a mixture of graduate and customer service roles.
Before I was forced to move across the country, my income came from my retail job and my employment at a University.
I went into the jobcentre yesterday.
My work coach told me off for being told in my latest interview feedback that I was too good for the job.
He told me I obviously hadn’t worked hard enough to convince the employer I was good enough.
I told him I’d emailed the director to pitch my case again, but had failed to get him to change his mind.
I still got the work coach shaking his head at me as if I’d done something wrong.
I then asked why I’d been paid £200 less than I was expecting to receive – after a 10 week delay.
He pulled up a letter where I found out I’d only been given 2/3 of my housing element.
I said I was confused because I’d been promised on the phone multiple times that I’d receive the full housing element.
He advised that I call them on the phones there after my workshop, entitled “How to get a job.”
He then ramped up my appointments to weekly.
I sat in the workshop for 45 minutes and received no information I didn’t already know.
I was told where to look for jobs, how to make a CV, and what to do in an interview.
I found myself explaining things to other people.
I explained that I’d have to avoid talking about my degree in my job interview in retail the next day.
The workshop leader said “Life is hard.”
She then set me 6 tasks to complete for next week, calling it homework.
She said to spend several hours on the essay section.
After the workshop, I called the service centre to ask why I hadn’t received the full housing element.
I was told “The housing team did some calculations, and because you’re single and under 35 in shared accommodation, you don’t meet the criteria.”
I asked why I’d been informed I’d get the full amount for months.
She said “I can’t comment on what other advisors may have told you in the past.”
I asked how I was supposed to fund my home.
She advised me to apply to the council on the off-chance they might give me a discretionary fund.
“I know it’s not ideal, I’d feel the same way,” she told me.
I told her that didn’t mean anything, because now I had to choose between paying for my home and paying for food and interview travel.
“I can’t comment, apply to the council,” she said.
“That could take weeks, I don’t have any money now.”
“I can’t comment.”
“I now can’t afford to live, thanks for your time,” I said, and hung up on her.
I started to leave, but my work coach yelled my name across the room and told me to come back.
Everyone was staring.
He asked me to give a summary of the conversation, and I did.
Then I told him I had to go and deal with the latest setback, and left.
I was in the jobcentre for three hours yesterday.
I now have to choose whether the money I get each month goes on my rent or my food and travel costs on a monthly basis.
I’ve paid my rent this month and now I am supposed to make £60 last for the month.
They expect me to get a train to them and back every week, as well as fund interview travel, as well as pay for food, on £60, until 1st October, because I am under 35. I must also spend several hours on homework tasks for next week.
The DWP have told me that they cannot comment on the fact that they’ve slashed my benefits after lying to me for months, and that now, I do not have enough money to survive.