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Everything posted by impecunious

  1. Who's side are you on?? I believe in positive thinking but if all I needed was a web hosting page and a contract, I would have been up and running 10 months ago when I became unemployed. Try telling that to the two and half million people currently without a job. Unemployment situation solved! I expected more from CAG! Imp
  2. My JSAg has just been amended to include the "expectation" that I will now spend 35 hours/week actively job searching. I asked my Knob Centre adviser how this would be policed .... apparently, completion of my 10 proscribed job search activities each week will evidence this. Hmmmmmm, if he says so! Plus, as I'm already self-employed for 16 hours/week, that means my official "working" week will now be 51 hours/week! I've e-mailed my adviser to review this. I'm still working with Blue Orchid to start up a new small business and hope to sign off from JSA asap. The 8 week period of grace that DWP give you to start up a new business from scratch, with no capital and no real support, isn't always long enough - not if you want to do it properly and give yourself the very best start. You have to be proficient in business start-up, networking, book-keeping, cashflow forecasting, marketing, retail management, social media networking, HMRC guidelines, H&S and probably loads more. In addition to all that, I'm also having to source and finance materials, design and make all my products. Can't wait to sign off -- really fed up having to jump through hoops and being treated like a child - I have now lost the will to live when sign-on days come around with regular monotony. I empathise with everyone who can't find a decent job and who haven't got whatever it takes to start up in business for themselves. Rant over!! Imp
  3. If your nephew's claim for JSA has been declined - there may be another option ... Your nephew could, theoretically, put in a new claim for JSA (or change of circumstances to his current claim) on the basis that he is now self-employed as a window cleaner (bear with me) for less than 16 hours a week AND, unfortunately, NOT earning anything (customers are fairly few and far between whilst he is setting up). Theoretically, there would then be NO barrier to him claiming JSA. He can still be "self-employed" and have zero earnings and receive JSA as long as he is actively searching for work etc. And if he really did want to become a window cleaner - he could start up his own small business with help from the Government and a New Enterprise Allowance for 26 weeks. Worth thinking about. Imp
  4. Can I please scream out loud within the very safe and comforting arms of CAG??? I'll take that as a YES as long as I don't shatter the chandeliers. Simple question! If the council admit to being totally overwhelmed by the increase in the volume of those claiming HB and CT reduction, why don't they just take on more staff to deal with the backlog and process claims in a timely manner instead of inflicting even more stress, anxiety and frustration on claimants when simple reclaims for continued HB and CT reduction take two months and more to process???? My last claim for HB in Dec 12 took three months to process. When you're on JSA and DWP are messing with your benefits as well - it's almost impossible to get anyone to listen. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! With all the number crunching and statistics that are being undertaken by every dept in the council for auditing purposes, you would assume that they would be more than capable of forecasting significant increases in volume of those claiming benefits and develop an appropriate strategy to deal with it!!!! Rant over! I'm calm now ---- cup of tea and a home-made muffin works every time Imp
  5. I'm not sure that many JCPs have the skills/experience to deal with any experienced graduates with 30 plus years' regular work history - in my case - white, female graduate with over 43 years of work experience. You are not alone. Imp
  6. Just a general question ........... there is a notice on the doors of my council offices which categorically states that they won't accept any payments for council tax, etc. Doesn't this totally contradict the fact that they cannot refuse to accept such payments? Imp
  7. I was in a similar situation. I just completed "self-employment" form they sent me -- with NO INCOME, NOT TRADING - in the process of preparing stock, business plan, sales forecasting and cashflow projection. (All these figures are usually just plucked out of thin air anyway. Unless you have firm contracts in place, how can you realistically predict the future?) You can't give them what you don't have. I just asked them to calculate my HB and CT reduction on NIL INCOME basis. Don't end up running round like a headless chicken trying to squeeze the impossible into an incredibly short deadline. Even if you provided them with your dormant status document, they probably even wouldn't know what to do with it. Pop into the council office and talk to them face to face. They might have a better idea then. Good luck!! Imp
  8. It was my personal advisor at the Knob Centre ... he said,, sorry but my manager has asked me do this. When I first declined to give them my account details, he physically logged onto UJM and searched for my name - I just nodded and smiled. He said there was a couple of names like mine but he couldn't identify which one was mine. Neither could I!!! I wasn't silly enough to use my real name when setting up the account name. Just wondering now whether they can actually mandate me to log in and show them my account. Imp Imp
  9. My advisor informed me today that because I am only one of a tiny minority of his "clients" who have NOT signed the waiver re: giving them access to my UJM account, if I don't sign off JSA onto NEA within the next weeks, my JSAg will revert back to the usual and I will be mandated to go into the their office and physically log onto my UJM account to evidence that I have one! Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, "such power" ......... I've opened an account - but have lost the password - have never used it, etc. etc. Let's hope my business plan gets signed off and I won't have to worry about JSA anymore!! Imp P.S. Did make me smile though
  10. I would suggest that if your income (from working 70 hour/wk) has only been £0 for 12 months, then perhaps you ought to revisit your business plan. Is your business viable/sustainable? Do your cashflow/sales projections indicate a dramatic future improvement? Working for yourself is very commendable but it has to be profitable too. When I registered as being self-employed in December 2012 (as an independent online design/make retailer), I knew that it would take a long time to become sustainable, so claimed JSA whilst still being self-employed for less than 16 hours/week (obviously, I could develop my business for as many hours per week as I wanted provided I fulfilled the requirements of my JSAg). I'm now working with Blue Orchid and, once my business plan is approved, I'll move from JSA to New Enterprise Allowance and will be eligible to apply for a new start up grant. I have access to business mentoring, free business workshops and support. Perhaps Business Link or similar might be able to offer you advice/support. If you're going to be struggling to find £80+ for school meals from September, perhaps you'd be better off claiming JSA, reducing your self-employment hours to under 16 hrs/week, and going back to basics so that you can re-build a healthy future for your business and your family. I was also self-employed in London for 11 years and as a lone parent , supporting four young children (ages 2 - 9) and a live-in Nanny (I couldn't physically take 4 children to 2 different schools and different child minders, plus get myself to work for 8.30 am), I know how challenging it can be. I certainly couldn't afford to just break even, I had to earn enough money to cover my mortgage, my nanny's wages and expenses, all my household bills, my travel, work expenses and taxes. I made up packed lunches for my children every morning ... to save money and to make sure my children had good nutritious food ... I wouldn't pay that much for school dinners. It's not easy but get the business plan right, build on solid foundations and you won't need to rely on free school meals or living on less than you would get on benefits. Good luck! Imp
  11. If you're going self-employed, try contacting Blue Orchid -- business mentoring - new start-ups. Talk to them - they're government backed. They offer free workshops on business planning, etc. If they approve your business plan, you will receive New Enterprise Allowance (13 weeks at £65 pw, 13 weeks at £33 pw) - plus eligible to apply for £1,000 start up grant. I'm in the process. Definitely worth checking out. Imp
  12. NEA - £65.00 per week for 12 weeks, followed by £33.00 for further 12 weeks. Once your business plan is approved, you're then eligible to apply for a start up grant - £1,000. Plus you get lots of support, mentoring and access to free business workshops. These workshops are really informative and not like the "pretend" courses doled out by the WP. They are empowering and packed with essential information. You also have a period of eight weeks from date of assessment (with Blue Orchid in my case) to starting self-employment where you will only have to record self-employment related activities instead of usual job search. You will not be expected to look for work at the same time. According to circumstances, HB and CT reduction will still be available, plus working tax credits if you're on a low income. I'm in the process of doing this .... and after 7 months of being on JSA and not being able to find a PAYE job, this is a good alternative. My Job Centre works in tandem with Blue Orchid ... they get paid on results, so it really is in their best interest to ensure that you succeed in your self-employment. If you haven't spoken to your adviser yet, I advise you to - it could be really helpful. Best of luck Imp
  13. It really looks as all JSA claimants are treated differently because we're seen a whole raft of experiences here. For the past 6-7 months, all I've ever recorded on my Job Search Activity Record is: identified x amount of potential employers, researched x amount of potentially interesting vacancies, telephoned x amount of local companies, undertook x hours of market research, kept up to the date with industry standards, etc. I've seen at least 8 different "advisers" and not a dickie-bird from any of them. (Perhaps they couldn't decipher my deliberately appalling writing.) I've never been asked which companies, which vacancies and never shown any written evidence or given access to my UJM Account. (I opened one but never search that particular website.) I'm not really sure how I would have reacted if they'd asked for proof. I must have a honest face guv! Imp
  14. Sorry LongHairedLily, don't know your story but if you're looking to go self-employed, have you hooked up with Blue Orchid yet? Once approved, you're eligible for New Enterprise Allowance and application for £1,000 start up grant. If you know all of this already - my apologies. Imp
  15. Why aren't we surprised?? I've just had written confirmation that my JSA was suspended at the end of last month because I was "working over 16 hours a week" --- DOH!!! NO!!! I was doing self-employed related activities prior to being signed off and moving onto NEA as per my amended JSAg. I wonder how long it will take to sort out their mess this time? I really wonder if any of it is worth the hassle .... Perhaps I should just claim ESA and blame the KnobCentre for inducing stress, anxiety and poverty due to deprivation of benefits. Imp
  16. There are definite advantages to being over 60 then I can't wait! Enjoy your free time. Imp
  17. I had my HB/CT claim and JSA all stopped because I failed to attend my sign off my JSA and sign onto NEA appt because I was ill (severe chest infection/flu - couldn't leave the house) and couldn't contact the Job Centre by phone (no landline, no mobile atm) and DWP hadn't provided an email address for my advisor. I had emailed my son-in-law hours before my appointment but he hadn't opened his emails, JobCentre didn't receive my request to rearrange. I only discovered that the claim had been stopped when I attended my regular sign on this morning. I was advised to complete a rapid reclaim form and date of next appointment to be advised. The staff were pretty good about it but I'd received NOTHING from DWP to advise that my claim had ended. So, will receive no JSA payment next Tuesday and it will probably take weeks for HB/CT claim to restart. Let's hope my landlord doesn't go ballistic again -- last claim took 3 months to process! Thank God, I'm too poorly to have much of an appetite ... can't shop with no money. I believe a decision maker will consider my "excuse" for non-attendance - I suppose if I fail to convince them - it's a sanction! I'm almost 60 and the very first time I've ever been sanctioned for anything .. Rebel!! Oh well, no point shouting and dancing about it! Let's see what happens and the sooner I'm well enough to complete my business plan and have it approved the better! Imp P.S. I was planning to put money aside from my JSA next week to pay for my Public Liability Insurance too!!
  18. Just when you're beginning to feel as if you're getting somewhere! Received a letter today from my council advising that my HB/CT Reduction claim has been suspended because my period of JSA (Contribution Based) ended today and JSA (Income Based) kicks in as from tomorrow. I have not yet been given any indication from DWP how much that will be ..... but it will be reduced due to small private pension payment. This means that I will be unable to pay my rent/CT at the end of the month, causing severe financial hardship and even more stress ............. No, I'm not going to tear my hair out or go ballistic ............ but just makes you think if there is any joined up writing going on. JSA (Income Based) will be a lot less than I currently receive, therefore my HB/CT reduction claim will increase NOT decrease and I will need more help until I secure future employment (in whatever form). My initial claim for HB/CT took 3 whole months!!! I wonder how long this new claim will take?? Do we (the unemployed) really need this additional stress on top of everything else? That is rhetorical obviously! So much for peace of mind! Impecunious!
  19. Well done!! I should have been signed off yesterday but too poorly to complete my business plan. Should be finished by the weekend, then can re-arrange meetings and, if approved, sign off too!!! Good feeling! Now I can go from all working 40-50 hours a week on my business (oops, I mean under 16 hours/week) to working non-stop From the sublime to the ridiculous. Roll on freedom! Imp
  20. Applying for the "loan" is not mandatory. BUT, it does make good business sense. How will self-employment (your business) succeed if you don't have any working capital, money for Public Liability Insurance, PR and marketing, etc? Especially when moving from JSA to self-employment. Even if you don't use it initially, you can squirrel it away as a cushion .... just in case you are ill and can't work -so no earnings - or have unexpected expenses? Put it aside to pay your first year's tax, NI (Class 4) and Class 2 if appropriate. The interest payment is only £9/pcm so well worth it, especially when banks are so relunctant to lend to people who are unemployed. If your ready to sign off, your business plan will have been approved and signed off, so you'll know exactly how much you need to invest in your new business and what your cashflow projections are. If you can manage without the start-up grant, if might have been prudent to have just gone straight into self-employment when you had the chance and avoided having to jump through DWP hoops. I've been ill since mid-last week and haven't been able to complete my business plan, so probably won't sign off now for another week or so but have already had my JSAg changed so that I can concentrate on activity related to my new business. This will be active for up to 8 weeks until the business is ready to start properly. I don't quite understand why your JSAg hasn't been changed to reflect this. According to Blue Orchid, 85% of their start-up businesses succeed compared to 25% of those who go it alone. (They get paid for good results.) Despite being familiar with accounts, etc and having been self-employed before, I'm going to take full advantage of all their free workshops on accounts and tax, social media networking, and make sure my new business has the best possible start. This is definitely the most positive service that the DWP has offered to date. 17 people attended the course last week, from across the board. Great networking opportunity, great advice and motivation, and this is just the start. If anyone has the passion, a good business idea and the ability, it really is a great way to be independent and be self-employed. Everyone at the course wanted to do something different: setting up a gluten-free cake business, an equine therapy business, market trader, taxi driver, retailer, DIYer, consultant, furniture renovator, ATOS appeals adviser, painter and decorator, multi-lingual tour guide. There was scope for all sorts of levels of ability/skills/age. Good luck with your self-employment. Imp
  21. Sorry, I knew the organisation was changing its name (they've just dropped the "Women" bit) to update its image and reflect the fact that so many men volunteer now volunteer their time and skills. The hub system was just being introduced when I worked there last autumn and I know they look after "older" people but it was mainly dependent upon circumstances and you're only just below the age they consider -- I was told "50" upwards. "Hubs" - dreadful name! (BTW, they are still advertising themselves as WRVS on Third Sector job vacancies.) Although they haven't been able to help as yet, let's hope they email you with good news or perhaps alternative sources of help. Many local community groups also offer a similar service, like "Good Neighbour" services. Good luck! Imp
  22. Attended Business Planning workshop with Blue Orchid today -- it was really good. Well attended, positive, covered SOOO much - all really useful stuff. All kinds of potential business start-ups, including a GP who wants to set up a service for those on ESA who have been failed their assessment. She will support them with great advice/help to appeal the decision. I'm sure she will get plenty of interest. All in all, a really good day. Roll on NEA, start-up grant and a new business. Imp
  23. If you require help with transport to and from hospital, perhaps you could consider contacting your local WRVS office. They have a fleet of community volunteers who undertake driving duties. They usually charge per mile but the cost would be considerably less than a taxi and they deal with this type of community service day-in/day-out, so are very reliable and trust-worthy. (I know this from experience as I worked with WRVS last year.) In many cases, the WRVS offer volunteer support in hospital wards too - in case you weren't always able to visit. Hope you find the help you need. Imp
  24. Can I just play devil's advocate here? I asked the same question at the Knob Centre when I first signed on for JSA and I was told that any "income" over £5 pw had to be declared .... (they didn't specifically say "earnings") ........ the income had to be declared and then it was then up to the Decision Maker to decide whether it could be disregarded or not. Would be interesting to know ... Imp
  25. I'm self-employed (for 15 hours 59, minutes and 59 seconds per week) and am claiming JSA. BUT, if I do have any earnings, only the first £5 is disregarded. Any earnings over £5 pw will affect JSA, HB and CT benefits. I think this figure rises to £20 pw if you're on ESA, etc but someone in the know will no doubt confirm this. Imp
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