Made A New Claim With The Job Centre

Discussion in 'benefits and housing' started by Trauzor, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Trauzor

    Trauzor New Member


    I'm new here, I saw this site while Google Searching, I felt this site offered the best advice and support so decided to sign up.

    I have been back and forth between the Job Centre, the Work Programme and temporary agency work since December 2011. Before then I was in education and then on Income Based Jobseekers October on-wards until I found that temporary agency contract for the Christmas period of 2011. As I had very little experience in anything. I accepted whatever was offered, I found myself applying for many positions that if I had a choice I would not do. I had very little say in the matter as work for an unskilled teenager is hard to come by. I applied for many IT based positions as that's what I studied at college, apprenticeships, temporary agency contracts and was even offered Zero Hour Contracts which I had no idea about at the time. I was that desperate to get away from the dole, I accepted the first place that wanted me.

    Fast-forward two years and all I have managed to get is temporary agency work and zero hour contract positions. I still have very little experience, no proven skills with only certificates to back the knowledge up. So I'm left with the Job Centre or these zero hour contracts.

    I made a new claim with the Job Centre in the middle of March as I had been left staring at an empty bank balance for three to four weeks as I was never offered any work with the agency I was signed up with. The agency does not have much contact with you. It's a text message maybe once every week possibly twice. As you dial the line is busy for hours on end, before you know it there are no slots left. So that text message was a complete waste of time.

    Anyway back onto the subject. I made this claim, wrote all the necessary details including all work in the past 6 months. I was startled to see in the contract agreement that they wanted me to do 14 things per week. When I last made a claim in August 2012 I was expected to do 3 things. In 2011 three things per week. I now must do 14 things per week and they want me to create a Universal Job Match Account and give them access to it. Or is it publicise my account so it's viewable by the advisers. I'm not quite sure on that, as this is completely different to what I was used to.

    I raised the issue that I felt 14 things was way too much, the reply was then that's 14 things you must do for the week but that does not mean you must apply for 14 jobs per week. Which was a sigh of relief. What I do not understand though is that when I phoned a few friends who have been long-term unemployed, well 1 year or more they say it's still 3 per week. I have another friend who lost his job in January and he must do 5 things per week. Mine is 14. It's a massive increase from 3.

    I also must look for work up to 90 minutes travel. This was 60 minutes the last time I made a claim. This one is not as big of an issue as I do not mind traveling a distance providing it's not an awkward place to get to as I must use public transport.

    For the time-being I am still employed. I do still have a contract with the agency, as it's a zero hour contract I am not given many shifts, when I am it's a mad scramble to get them 5-6 slots from a possible 400 names, or however many they have on their books. It's near enough impossible to get any shift unless it's a really busy period.

    I just have a strong feeling that I may struggle to live up to these new terms and be sanctioned. I'm already struggling with cash as I never get any work. Then I decide to make a claim to ease my money problems and they put a huge amount of pressure on my shoulders to make sure I'm doing enough.

    Not a great situation to be in. Trying to work but not being offered any. Make a claim and be given a huge task to find the amount they would like per week. As I cannot apply for just anything as I do not have the experience to apply for most vacancies.

    I would love to be able to find a job that offers work everyday on the same hours with a permanent full-time tag behind it. That would be a great boost, but as things stand I'm shut out from everywhere. I get shunned with Job Applications, I don't get many phone calls and this is someone who has been applying for the best part of two years. I know that some people will be doing much more than I have, but I do feel I have done enough, just not got anywhere with it. It must just be me being too dumb to get a regular position. If only I was given more interviews I may have had a better chance of securing something a little better.
  2. Fez909

    Fez909 toilet expert

    Welcome to the forum. :)

    Firstly, with those zero hour contracts (I'm in the same boat at the minute with no work coming from the agency) make sure you fill out the declaration about how many hours you've worked each fortnight and hand it to your advisor at the JCP. It's a ball-ache, but if you don't do it, they assume you've had hours and will reduce your JSA, and it will take many weeks before they put it back and give you the money you were owed in back payment.

    With the 14 things, make sure you write down everything you do that could count towards getting a job: look at a website one day? That's one. Same website the next day? That's another. Speak to a friend who might be able to "put a word in for you", that's another. Etc., etc. You could look at job vacancies every day on the internet for 2 weeks and there's your 14 things, without even applying for a single job! Of course, that wouldn't work every week. Try to apply for a few jobs a week, and use your imagination for the remaining items you need to fill the quota. Remember they have no way to check this, so don't be afraid to lie if you haven't done a lot to look for work.

    The Universal Job Match is not compulsory, regardless of what they say. They will put heavy pressure on you to join it, though. I have so far avoided it by mentioning the security problems which were highlighted in the national news when it was first launched: search for it on the news websites and you'll find some stuff you can use. They keep telling me the initial problems are now sorted, but I've shown them I have enough to get on with without using the Job Match service, and of course I look on there, too ;)

    90 minutes travel is standard, but on public transport that isn't too far usually. Plus, as long as you're doing your 14 things they won't even mention this. If they ask, then of course you're looking in neighbouring towns and are willing to travel if you could get a job. Ditto working nights, etc.

    Good look :cool:
  3. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Apply anyway if it's vaguely within your capabilities. I'm not on JSA but a friend is. He's diabetic, alcoholic with Hepatitis C, has very limited movement in his hands because of arthritis and is homeless, can't easily access the internet except at my house but he just keeps applying even though he hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of employment or he'll lose his JSA.
  4. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    Hey Trauszor welcome to Urban. Others will doubtless be more helpful with other details but firstly on the Universal Job Match website, since the beginning of March, they're expecting all clients to have a profile on the site and apply for jobs through it. Personlly I do use it, amongst other sites but as it's not actually mandatory and would be apparently illegal as it stands, for them to insist you give them access to your account on there, you don't have to. Unfortunately individual staff may not know this or plead ignorance and try and pressure you into allowing them access. If so, try and say you have privacy concerns about the system, not with that individual advisor due to reports in the media about the site but you're willing to use it to apply for jobs. THen just write the ref numbers of those in the diary thing.

    One good thing about that site, is for a lot of jobs it's really quick to apply once you've uploaded your CV. I'm not sure what they count amongst these supposed 14 things other than applications. Registering with other job sites, handing CVs into agencies, rewriting your CV are worth including. The amount of of job related activities you're expected to undertake does seem to vary. The willingness to travel up to 90 minutes each way is a recent change to. Remember if someone is sanctioned, they have the right to appeal. Unfortunately although advisors vary, you have to have the idea that they're not really there to help you find a job. You just need to demonstrate you're meeting their expectations, sign your thing and get out with out a fuss.

    Good luck
    BigTom, Greebo, cesare and 1 other person like this.
  5. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    This is unfortunately one of the consequences of all this sanction bullshit. People are forced into wasting everyone's time for the sake of dancing through hoops. Fortunately I have a pretty good DEA who realises there aren't 20 jobs a fortnight I can do.
  6. Libertad

    Libertad Would it help?

    Your friend should be on ESA and in the support group, according to my Disability advisor at JCP he should also be able to claim DLA. I appreciate that his lack of an address is also a factor here.
    peterkro, Frances Lengel and Greebo like this.
  7. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    I'm really not sure if Universal jobmatch is or is not now compulsory. They made some changes to the terms of conditions recently and the jobcentre have been told it compulsory from the 1st of March.

    I'm waiting to see some evidence online post 1st March that proves they haven't been able to make it compulsory since the previous advice i saw.
  8. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    AFAIK it's compulsory to have an account on the UJM site and use it for job seaking activities.

    IT is not compulsory for you to allow them access to your account. That's the box you have to actively tick when you sign up. You can create an account on UJM with out ticking that gbox. I believe the site let's you revoke access to JC+ staff if you have already allowed them. Course what any individual adviser may tell you face to face may differ. May not accord with their union's own advice or even the law. This is the situation as I understand it as of now.
  9. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    Possibly worth mentioning if you are in receipt of DLA but on JSA rather than ESA, you should be entitled to what's called the disability premium. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I had to switch over to income based JSA how painless it was to claim the disability premium as part of it.

    It's having the DLA sorted out though which made that happen.
    Greebo likes this.
  10. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

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  11. punchdrunkme

    punchdrunkme the fuck I do?

    If your technically employed and your still going to be getting work from the agency have you considered claiming self-employed tax credits as an alternative to signing on? This is what I do when I don't have a contract. Its about a fiver less a week and housing benefit is the same, but you don't have the hassle of the jobcentre, potential sanctions and work placements to worry about. You are meant to be working more than 30 hours a week, but thats an average over a year and obviously your self employed so your in charge of your hours, its amazing how much time administration and 'research' take up. And then when your offered a bit of work for a week or 2 you don't have to sign off then sign back on again you just add the hour to the tax credit assessment form at the end of the year. And unless you earn over about 5k for the year from the agency you'll still receive all your tax credits. Rules may have changed slightly since I last did this but it is definitely worth considering. Even if you can only do it for 6 months it gives you more chance of being able to find a job before they send you on work placements or courses or give you sanctions.

    Good luck with everything anyway. :)

    ps. Probably worth reading some of the legal advice avaliable online about dealing with the jobcentre for future reference if nothing else, they can be right bastards sometimes, esp lately so it's always good to know your rights to hopefully avoid sanctions and general being treated like a dickheadness off them. Hope all goes well for you.
  12. Frances Lengel

    Frances Lengel Atrophied Member Banned

    The 14 things can be anything really, updating your CV for example. Or if, say, you look on the NHS vacancy site, the Royal Mail Vacancy site, and look in your local paper - Even without applying for any jobs, that right there is three things you've done to look for work. So, if you look on universal jobmatch and another job website five days a week, then you've done ten things, look in the paper, that makes 11, then apply for some jobs (whether you think you've got a chance of getting them or not), and that's your 14 things boxed off.

    Universal jobmatch is a drag, but in a way it's ok, coz if you apply for work though UJ, the evidence is there for your adviser to see. What I do is tick the box to grant the DWP permission to view on the morning I have to attend the JCP, then untick it as soon as I get home. You can also tweak the cv builder thing to make yourself look credible for jobs you can actually see yourself doing and make yourself look a dick for those jobs you're having to apply for but in no way want.

    It's all a massive and pointless ballache though - All the best anyway :)
    BigTom and Greebo like this.
  13. geminisnake

    geminisnake a complex mass of conflicting ideas

    Even if it is not within your capabilities apply anyway. My sister got sanctioned for not applying for a job that needed IT skills which she doesn't have :(
  14. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Bloody hell!
  15. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    With universal job match it's not mandatory until you get mandated via a jobseeker direction. You will never have to give them access to view your account and you should not give them this access. It is highly likely that ujm will be used to find ways to sanction people for not trying hard enough, and this lets them do it.
    Under the data protection act, you have to give permission to them, and the data protection act states that you cannot be coerced or pressured into signing away data protection rights and you cannot be punished for not doing so. This will never change, unless the data protection act changes.

    If you get mandated to use and register UJM via a jobseekers direction, you can insist on using the jobcentres computers (called Internet Access Devices or IADs). afaik they cannot at the moment force you to register with UJM on any other computer due to EU cookie regulations (and there's a doubt about whether they can on IADs).

    With the jobsearch stuff, like others have said, 14 things but that's anything. If you don't do it then just make stuff up. Never go in with less than 14 things. If they say you have to apply for 3 jobs each week, that means each week - don't think that you can apply for 4 one week and 2 the next.

    edit: as with Geminisnakes post above, if you get told to apply for a job then even if there is no possibility of you getting it you must apply for it and at least make it look like a genuine application.
    I know someone who had a counterbalance forklift licence and their adviser saw a fork lift job and directed him to apply for it not realising it required a reach and lift licence which he no longer had. After explaining this, the jobcentre agreed to pay for him to go on a course to get this licence and he didn't apply for the job. Then at his next appointment he had to see a different adviser who sanctioned him for not applying for the job! It was a total fuck up, and he got his money back on appeal but that takes time.

    Jobsearch requirements are going to change soon too (I think this is with universal credit) so you have to do 35 hours / week (which can include up to 16 hours of volunteering or other work experience/workfare stuff).

    Good luck :) If you're in Birmingham/West Mids feel free to pm me if you have any problems. If they try to send you on a workfare placement I think you should be able to use the fact that you have a zero-hour contract to prevent that from happening. Unfortunately the situation you are in with work is becoming increasingly common and the trade unions are completely failing to do anything leaving pretty much no organisations fighting to end precarious working :(

    You have to be over 25 to claim tax credits (unless you have kids I think).
    cesare, Frances Lengel and Greebo like this.
  16. punchdrunkme

    punchdrunkme the fuck I do?

    That's true you do have to be over 25 unless you have kids or a disability (being signed off sick for 2 weeks or more in the previous 6 months qualifies you though.)
    cesare, BigTom and Greebo like this.
  17. Trauzor

    Trauzor New Member

    Now the weekend is over with I am able to reply, as I've been away from the computer for a day or so.

    I have been looking through the posts and feel I've learnt quite a bit from the information that was given that I never received from the Job Centre. Which is a complete joke.

    I signed up to the Universal Job Match but not applied for anything yet through their system. I have kept my account private despite what I was told from the Job Centre.

    What I still don't get though which was never answered I don't think is why mine has increased from 3 to 14 yet the long term unemployed friends I have only need to do 3-4 even still. If it's about having some sort of work, it's not something that will get me from employment to employment. As everything still requires experience, and the work I have done is something anybody could do. So I just don't understand why it was increased so much. It just puts that added pressure on me to apply or look more frequently. I'm still not guaranteed anything as I've been applying for months during employment, so it shouldn't be that I will find work really easily.

    It will make life easier being able to write Reed Daily, Universal Job Match Daily, Newspaper daily every week though I suppose. As I only ever used to write like 8-9 jobs per 2 weeks which I could actually apply for without experience in that job sector.
    Greebo and BigTom like this.
  18. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    IMHO a lot of this pressure on people signing on has come from the government wanting to be seen doing more about unemployment. Create more jobs or persuade employers to consider doing the right thing? Don't be silly - it's far cheaper and easier to demonise people who are already trying to find work. :mad:

    Going by what you've said, you're already doing a lot to improve your chances of finding work. On top of that, remember you're not alone, stay aware of your rights, keep within the rules as far as you can, and don't let the bastards grind you down. :)
  19. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    TBH last time I signed on (summer) I would tun up with two pages of my 'homework diary' filled in and wave the titles of some job application response emails called up on my smartphone, funnily enough they never actually read any of it. Nor did they eve try to claim I wasn't trying hard enough. Literally you can list 'looked on x job site, nothing suitable' for all the job sites and their own thing.

    Do that twice a week, plus the daily paper and you've got about nine things. Hopefully you will have seen something suitable, so apply for say five jobs that you've seen even if you know you won't get them. Now you're up to about 14-15 items. Now throw in some interview prep: 'shopped for interview clothes in Age Concern, got a haircut, practiced interview techniques with a friend, revised CV, etc', you should be up to about 18 items now, but if you're short sign up to some agency sites on the internet - there are some more easy items, that you can 'follow up with a phone call' - agencies are so busy there is no way the JC can check, and there are so very many of them....

    The thing to remember is never say you've done something that they can check up on easily unless you've done it.

    There is no way they will want to read through all that, and they will remember you as over-eager if anything. Some of mine got quite silly by the end. :D
    cesare and Greebo like this.
  20. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    Words fail me :facepalm:
    Greebo likes this.
  21. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    And welcome Trauzor I hope you find lots of other useful stuff on urban :)
    stuff_it and Greebo like this.
  22. Frances Lengel

    Frances Lengel Atrophied Member Banned

    That's quite a useful bit of info - If enough people insist on using the jobcentre computers, that has the potential to render UJM unworkable - And throw a spanner in the works of the DWP's plans to do away with jobcentres altogether.
    Greebo, Libertad, stuff_it and 3 others like this.
  23. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    It's all very well for the government to say 'Oh yes, let's do away with job centres because we'll just make everyone apply online so there's no need for them' but they don't actually think what that means in practice, in this case a growing number of people seeking to access the same limited resource.

    It would serve them right :)
    Greebo, Frances Lengel and stuff_it like this.
  24. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    They'll tell you to use your local library instead as its free to the public.
  25. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    EU cookie regulations mean that they can't mandate you to use anything other than one of their computers (and it's not clear that their interpretation of the law is correct and whether they can actually do that at all)
    This is because ujm doesn't work without cookies iirc (I don't understand this bit properly tbh)
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  26. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    I'm no expert either, but as best I can tell cookies store information so I'm guessing that it might be some form of tracker cookie which tracks and remembers job preferences and sends the info back to the DWP somehow.
    BigTom likes this.
  27. Frances Lengel

    Frances Lengel Atrophied Member Banned

    It's not about the library computers being free to use, it's about the cookie thing - BigTom 's explained it in post #25
  28. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    Yep, they definitely need cookies to do the tracking but you can still deny them access to your account even if they mandate you to register and use ujm. I'm wondering if the cookies are need to stay logged in as you look at and apply for jobs
  29. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    If you want to stay logged in to your account I think they would be.
    BigTom likes this.
  30. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    They'll still tell you. They told me.

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