Thursday, 26 July 2012

If you’re on benefits, don’t get a job.

I cannot believe I am actually saying that but I am tired.  I am tired of having to negotiate my way through the mire that is our benefits system whilst trying to get a little bit of paid work whilst applying relentlessly for a full time job.

I’ve had my Housing Benefit reduced from £180 to £55 a fortnight because apparently they’ve overpaid me and they’re reclaiming it back from my current and future payments.    This is because I did 5 days work in April and May netting me £621 after deductions and because of this they have calculated I have been overpaid in every payment from April to June.   So that’s 12 weeks of overpayment because of 5 days work. 

I’ve already written about how these 5 days of paid work affected my Job Seeker’s Allowance so I can only conclude that I shouldn’t have bothered working, trying to pay my way, trying to get back into work because the benefits system makes it impossibly complicated and financially penalises you for the effort.  I can understand entirely how you can end up as a long term unemployed statistic and find yourself subject to all the vitriol that label engenders – the system is gamed against you getting any kind of work that doesn’t enable you to kiss goodbye to being a benefit claimant entirely.  They cut your benefits if you work part time or occasionally whilst trying to get that elusive full time job and anyway your Job Seeker’s Allowance is taxed as income and included by the Housing Benefit bods as earnings, so it is included in their calculations of any overpayments. 

The game is rigged and the house always wins.