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Sanctioned for telling the truth!


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Hi All

 

I'm a new poster here and I need a bit of advice. I am a Foster Carer and my business recently went under so I have had to claim JSA. I went in to sign on last week and happened to mention to the EO that as part of my fostering duties I sometimes have to do training days so it was not always possible for me to apply for vacancies where there was no flexibility on hours/leave etc. She told me that on that basis she could not suign me as I was placing restrictions on my availability for work. I subsequently got a letter stating that my payments had been stopped. I have got an appeal form and an interview but I was wondering if anyone out there had any thoughts on this - seems a bit unreasonable to me!

 

Thanks for any advice that may be forthcoming

 

F.

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Welcome to the site.I will flag this up.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Foster Carers, Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance

This advice sheet considers some issues about income support and jobseeker's allowance that are particular to foster carers. Income support (IS) and income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) are means-tested benefits for people who are not in full-time paid work. There are special rules which can help foster carers to qualify.

Income support and Jobseeker's allowance

Full-time paid work

Income rules

What about child tax credit and working tax credit?

Income support and Jobseeker's allowance

Among other rules, to qualify for IS, someone must fit into one of specified groups of people who can claim. These groups include single claimants and lone parents who are fostering children under 16 placed with them by a local authority or voluntary organisation.[note 1]

Some couples are required to make a ‘joint claim for income-based JSA (i.e. both partners have to claim). This does not apply if they are responsible for a child or young person. For these purposes, foster carers count as responsible for a child or young person.[note 2]

Full-time paid work

To qualify for IS and JSA, neither the claimant nor her/his partner can be in full-time paid work – called remunerative work by the Department for Work and Pensions.[note 3] For IS and JSA purposes, a claimant counts as working full time if s/he works 16 hours or more per week. Her/his partner counts as working full-time if s/he works 24 hours or more per week.[note 4] Someone counts as in remunerative work if working for payment or in expectation of payment. On the face of it, this could mean that people working as foster carers would not qualify for IS or JSA. However, foster carers receiving fostering allowances for looking after a child placed with them by a local authority, voluntary organisation or care authority (in Scotland) are treated as not in remunerative work in so far as they are foster caring, even where this is for more than the relevant hours. This means that they are not prevented from qualifying for IS or JSA under the remunerative work rules (but a JSA claimant must still be available for and actively seeking work to qualify).[note 5]

 

Income rules

The general rule is that all income is taken into account in calculating IS and income-based JSA unless it can be disregarded. Fostering allowances paid by the local authority are disregarded.[note 6] Foster carers can, therefore, get IS or JSA in addition to fostering allowances.

What about child tax credit and working tax credit?

The rules about remunerative work are different for working tax credit (WTC) A foster carer generally counts as self-employed for WTC purposes – see the advice sheet Foster carers and tax credits. In some cases a foster carer might be able to claim either WTC or IS/JSA or both WTC and IS/JSA. Whether s/he can be paid both depends on her/his income. WTC (but not child tax credit) counts in full as income for IS and income-based JSA. If s/he is getting WTC, s/he might be able to claim IS/JSA to top this up. However, if s/he is getting IS/JSA, s/he may be no better off claiming WTC and could be worse off if s/he is lifted off IS/JSA and loses passported benefits.

In considering how a foster carer would be better off financially if is important to note that people claiming IS or income-based JSA can get help with mortgage costs and are passported to full housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) as well as free school meals. People claiming WTC can qualify for HB and CTB if their income is low enough, but cannot get free school meals. Other factors to consider are what help with health benefits is available and access to payments from the social fund.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Hi Martin

 

Thanks for the welcome and the advice sheet. I see that it says that in any event "a JSA claimant must still be available for and actively seeking work to qualify" which is fine - it's just the question of whether I am putting unreasonable restrictions on my job choices by pointing out that I will need to work for an employer who is sympathetic to my role as a Foster Carer. I don't think that I am, but the EO seemed to be of a different opinion. As a matter of fact she seemed very belligerent and quite confrontational in her approach, and I am in two minds about whether to lodge a complaint about her.

 

Maybe it's better not to make waves at this point in time?

 

F

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How long have you been claiming JSA, and what does it say in your JSAg (Jobseekers agreement) about restricting your employment?

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hi Erika

 

I have been claiming JSA since for about 12 weeks. There is no mention of restricting my employment in my Job Seekers Agreement because being unsure of what to do when I first made the claim I didn't mention this issue at the time (my bad I think!) On reflection I have begun to realise that this is going to be something that I will need to consider before applying for jobs and I think that because I mentioned this almost off the cuff when I was signing on, and it wasn't on my JSAg, the EO 'picked it up and ran with it'!

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Ah - with JSA a jobsearch can be restricted for a period of time - usually 13 weeks, after which, if employment has not been found, the jobseeker must expand their search by removing the restrictions.

 

If there isn't anything which specifies restrictions on your jobsearch on the JSAg, they can sanction your benefit if you begin to place restrictions on your jobsearch that haven't been agreed to. At 13 weeks, you should be due a JSA review - ask about reviewing the JSAg whilst there. There has to be an element of reasonability on restriction (and indeed on sanctions). If someone reasonably restricts the jobsearch - fine. If someone unreasonably restricts a jobsearch - sanction.

 

Can I ask, when you refer to flexibility, is it the case that you won't apply for any job unless it is specified in the vacancy that they will be flexible to the successful candidate,

 

or

 

that you will apply for jobs which don't specifically advertise flexibility but you won't apply where the advert makes it absolutely clear that there is no room for flexibility?

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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I think I am putting a reasonable restriction on my job choices by pointing out that I will need to work for an employer who is sympathetic to my role as a Foster Carer and who is willing to agree to flexible working hours and leave arrangements and for an Decision Maker to expect me to seek or apply for work with an employer who cannot accommodate my situation as a care provider would be unreasonable to the point of being ridiculous - that's going to be the gist of my appeal anyway!

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Hate to sound harsh but the Job Centre does not give a flying F*** after 13 weeks if you turn down a job if you have restrictions or not. I am not in a good mood with the whole crap. Preparing for an Interview and be smacked down for doing so and now sanction is affecting my way of thinking for this up coming interview Wednesday.

 

Has this effort I put ahead of finding job make difference to what they say. No!!. This is how people get trapped on this system. I paid my way for the last 10 years first time signing up to JSA and this is the way they treat me and the rest who are in a similar situation or have worked longer.

 

What I can say is thanks to these forms and advice because it's a dam lot more than any of those people in JSC have provided. You folks will be getting a donation from me if I ever get another job lol

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Latest developments! I was given an appointment two days ago and went in to the JC to submit an appeal. When I got there I was told that the decision hadn't been made yet! Then they looked again and said that the availability issue had been dropped but they were still looking into my job search! Now I get a letter from HB saying that my claim had been suspended as my JSA had been stopped and I have to go through the whole rigmarole of setting up another claim, even though I called them and explained that the JSA claim had been suspended and not stopped (i.e. it is still live) and I was appealing the sanction anyway. I called the JC and they said the appeal had just gone off today so I have to wait another 10 working days before I hear the outcome. What a load of extra work for everyone to no good purpose. This is all because of some stroppy EO who was probably having a bad day!

 

I really do have a good mind to complain about this woman who obviously had a bit of a problem...anyway I'll keep you all posted!

 

F

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Guilty until proved innocent it would seem. I believe they did not investigate this interview I had and just struck me off regardless.

 

I filled out of my re-consideration letter about the sanction I received about the job enquiry which conflicted with my interview. They are real cheeky people down at the JC as they pulled up in front of me another sanction for a job vacancy which seemed to be for a self-employed job which is not on my agreement without me knowing about it.

 

Advertised on the web site of this company it states that these jobs were for self-employed in my haste and to work on other applications and after more investigation after the deadline passed it seems that the vacancy was to work under a self-employed a person. Miss leading information is the only thing I can submit for that sanction. In any case they wanted me to fill out that re-consideration letter without receiving the letter about the sanction and without any evidence what so ever.

 

A complaint is all they going to get from me. Only one adviser there provided help and advice. That person will get a personal thank you the rest can shove it and a complaint form will be filled out.

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I think they are being a bit optimistic with their 10 working days for an appeal outcome - an appeal can take months, particularly if they uphold the decision and it goes to the tribunal service. I'd take the timescale with a pinch of salt.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hi Fostering and any other jobseeker on this site.

 

I urge you all to read your jobseeker agreement (JSAg) as all too often you are made to sign this without having time to read it. When an Advisor asks you what hours you are willing to work, DON'T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF SAYING THAT YOU ARE AVAILABLE ANYTIME. By saying this you are leaving yourself wide open for JCP to take Refusing Employment action (RE). Ensure that you state the days and number of hours e.g. Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm. For example, lets just say that the FJR Officer, advises you that there is a job with a company that suits your experience etc but the job is 9-5 Tues to Sat, you are within your right to refuse this as you have made clear your 40hrs availability on your JSAg. When you say you are available at anytime, you could be made to apply for a job working nights. If you refuse, then you could be sanctioned.

 

With regards to fostering, I would have a word with Social Services who I don't think will be too happy about this, particularly in view of the campaign to get more people to consider fostering. When you do start fostering (when a child is placed with you), you will be able to restrict the number of hours you are willing to work on account of caring responsibilities.

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Hi All

 

Thanks for all the responses to this thread. Just to update you again, I went in today to sign on and got the same person who refused to sign me last time. We basically had a re-run of the conversation from the fortnight before and she has just refused to sign me again for exactly the same reasons. She says that she is not trained to decide whether I am able to sign on as available for work when I have caring duties that may conflict with certain work obligations. I said that it didn't seem fair that I was being penalised because she wasn't knowledgeable enough to do her job, so she replied by saying 'oh well perhaps you're right I had better send it for another decision'. Very clever, but all the time my benefits are suspended and I am made to feel like a liar. I am going to appeal but from my investigations into this on various websites I am beginning to realise that this is far from unusual, and sometimes you can get these sanctions because a certain EO wants to give you a hard time (which frankly is what I feel is happening here). She was asking all sorts of questions about other benefits I have coming in as if she had a right to decide what I should have to live on, and generally being very hostile and bellingerent. I still haven't had a written decision and although I am being told that I can appeal it is difficult to know what exactly I am appealing against! The information I have been given verbally is very vague and sometimes downright contradictory (one advisor told me that the 'availability' issue had been rejected but the 'jobsearch' criterion was still being investigated, however the person I saw today said that no decision had been made about any of it).

 

I think I'm going to have to get some help with this so it's off to the CAB as soon as I get a chance! Will keep you all posted :-)

 

F

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