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Misled by Job Centre about Working Tax Credits


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I've been offered a temporary job which runs for three weeks. As it was more than 16 hours it meant I had to sign off.

 

Due to travel costs I'm only taking £40 home a week. I booked an appointment at the job centre to discuss whether or not taking the job would be worthwhile. According to them I would be able to claim working tax credits. I phone up today and discovered that I can't claim them because I have to be working for a minimum of four weeks.

 

I went to the job centre and told them that they had made a mistake about me being eligible for claiming working tax credits. I explained that by having this job I was over £30 a week worse off and that as I have next to no savings I'm unable to pay my rent for the month with this job. They told me that now that I have accepted the job I would be sanctioned if I chose to quit. They said that the decision was mine. I could either quit and be sanctioned for a longer period than I'd be working, or settle for £40 a week for the next three weeks.

 

Is there anything I'm entitled to? If I don't pay my rent at the end of the month I will have nowhere to live. The only way I can see around this is if I sell my possessions.

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Have a word with your local council, they may be able to help. Also discuss your situation with your landlord, if it is a housing association, they may have a support scheme that they could offer to you.

 

Is this temporary job guaranteed for three weeks, or is there the prospect that it might end early ?

If it is a fixed period, have a quiet word with the employer - It may be possible that they have a car share scheme to help out with transportation.

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Thank you. I will try to talk to the council tomorrow. My landlord will have to wait until the weekend due to the hours I'm working.

 

It's a temporary job guaranteed for three weeks as I'm covering for someone who returns from maternity leave, after their replacement moved to Leeds.

 

There's not much I can do about the car share scheme. I live in Salisbury and the job is in Hook. They're about 45 miles apart and the rest of the workers are all local to the area. If you're wondering why I even bothered applying for the job in the first place, I was mandated to do so by the job centre.

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If you are paying full whack on train fares, I can see where even a NMW job doesn't pay enough. Have a word with the ticket office at Salisbury station and see if they can offer a cheap deal, failing that, all I can suggest is book online and try to get an advance ticket if you know what days you are working.

 

 

Edit: By train, the journey time (according to the web sites) is 1hr 14min - If you account for travel time to/from the stations at either end, you may well find it exceeds the 90 minutes specified by the DWP. If you decide the job is not sustainable, the travel time could be used in your favour.

 

On the bright side, when you sign back on, you can renegotiate a Jobseeker's Agreement and limit the area/distance you are prepared to travel.

Edited by Mr.P

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Well the council aren't interested. Not that I could talk to anyone of any importance there.

 

I caught my landlord this morning. He doesn't really understand the situation and told me to just quit the job and to appeal if I get sanctioned. I'm already fighting an unjust sanction from two years ago, for which I have overwhelming evidence that the job centre lied in order to sanction me, so I know how long these things take to sort out. There's no way I could go without any source of income until I win in court in 2-3 years time.

 

If you are paying full whack on train fares, I can see where even a NMW job doesn't pay enough. Have a word with the ticket office at Salisbury station and see if they can offer a cheap deal, failing that, all I can suggest is book online and try to get an advance ticket if you know what days you are working.

Unfortunately a 7 day pass costs the same as 5 day returns, so there's no savings to be made there. Advance tickets for this route also seem to be the exact same price as they are if purchased on the day.

 

Edit: By train, the journey time (according to the web sites) is 1hr 14min - If you account for travel time to/from the stations at either end, you may well find it exceeds the 90 minutes specified by the DWP. If you decide the job is not sustainable, the travel time could be used in your favour.

I live right by the train station and my place of work is right by the station on the other end, so the journey is under 90 mins. I'm not sure it would make a difference even if it did exceed 90 minutes. 'I only end up with £40 a week and I can't afford my rent with this job' apparently wasn't a good enough reason to quit after all.

 

Fortunately there is free food and drink at work, so I don't need to worry about that. There's also a shower, so if I have to I can sleep rough for a night or two in Hook to help pay my rent.

 

I'm on the work programme. Will they receive a payment since I've found work (they've played absolutely no part in getting me back into work), even though I'm only working for three weeks?

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I'm on the work programme. Will they receive a payment since I've found work (they've played absolutely no part in getting me back into work), even though I'm only working for three weeks?

 

They will probably get a payment for all your hard work - Not as much as they would like and you won't get anything out of it.

 

However, you have demonstrated an ability to get a job, so the next one should be a little easier and closer to home. It was pretty much the same route I took for the job I'm currently in. Did a few weeks temping over Christmas, eight months later got offered a rolling temp contract, and am now on a permanent contract with overtime.

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Just like the Work Programme, Job centre staff are more interested in imposing sanctions than helping people find work. If sanction targets are not met, the DWP will get very angry.

 

I don't know what it was like when you worked for the DWP, but I hated imposing sanctions.

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The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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I think I've found a way out of this. If anyone can spot a hole in my plan then let me know.

 

Initially when I took the job I was told it would only be for one week. I've told both the job centre staff and working tax credits that the job only lasted for this long.

 

The only way I know I'm working three weeks now instead of one is because a colleague of mine at work, who has no authority over me, told me that I was needed for an extra two weeks after the manager sent HIM a text. Not me. I have heard nothing from either the manager herself or from the agency who have placed me in this position that I am needed for longer.

 

The text conversation flows like this:

 

Manager: Can you let Mr. X know that he is needed for an extra two weeks? Thanks

Colleague: no probs

Colleague: Is there any chance he'll be needed for more than three weeks?

Manager: No. Mrs. X will be back in Feb.

 

He asked if I'd be working longer because I was hoping I would get an extra week (or more) so that I could claim working tax credits, so I asked him if he could find out for me. By the way it's worded I think it sounds like he could be asking for himself, so he knows what to tell me.

 

My plan is to sign back on on Saturday and then not turn up to work on Monday. If I go through with this my colleague is aware of my situation and is more than happy to say that he forgot to tell me.

 

So, anything I'm overlooking? I feel there has to be as I'm not sure why I didn't think of this sooner.

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If you have something in writing that the contract was only for one week, then it does indeed sound like a plan.

 

A few years ago, I landed a job for four weeks. Rotating shifts, first week 06:00-14:00, second week 22:00-06:00, then back to 06:00 start. Hated it as it screwed up my body clock and wasn't worth it for NMW. At the end of the four weeks, got offered another month long stint. You can guess what the answer was.

The whole JSA claiming thing is a lot stricter now, but if you have written conformation of "just one week" and nothing in writing about an extension, at the end of the day, it must be your decision to continue or not.

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I don't have anything in writing myself. Since I've taken the job it's been removed from Universal Jobmatch. Is there any way for me to see the ad? There's no cache of the page on Google.

 

The only way I can think of getting written proof is if I contact the agency who have the paperwork I signed. However, if I contact them they might tell me that I'm needed for an extra two weeks.

 

I'm aware there's always the risk that DWP will sanction me for not turning up on Monday, but I think I have a strong enough case:

 

A) I wasn't told I was working an extra two weeks. The agency and manager will hopefully confirm that they didn't tell me. If they state that they told a co-worker to tell me, then I'll acquire a statement from him saying that he forgot to tell me.

 

B) The job leaves me worse off than I would be on JSA. I only took the job in the first place because JCP made a mistake about me being eligible for WTC.

 

As irrational as DWP are when it comes to sanctions, I think this should be enough for the decision to be overturned at the first stage. I also have an unpaid trial period for a local job on Monday next week in a niche industry. I think I have a strong chance of getting the job as I can't see many people in my area having a doctorate in the field and the company are already very impressed with my past work. If I go to work in Hook next week then it would mean missing out on this potential long-term job.

 

When I signed the paperwork for this job I had to waive my data protection rights so that they could pass my information on to the employer. It also means that they might end up passing my details on to other companies for other jobs. According to their website the agency only deal with cleaning jobs in the following counties:

 

Bedfordshire

(East) Berkshire

Buckinghamshire

(West) Essex

(North East) Hampshire

Hertfordshire

(West) Kent

Leicestershire

Greater London

Northamptonshire

(North) Oxfordshire

Rutland

Surrey

Warwickshire

West Midlands

 

All of these places seem too far for a cleaning job to be viable given that they're typically only for an hour or two a day. If I'm on their books then I risk being offered another job that's going to leave me unable to pay my rent. While I can turn them down since I'd be worse off, it seems an unnecessary risk in case I'm reported to DWP for turning down a job. Once I'm paid I want to leave this agency and withdraw my consent for them to hold and pass on my details. Does anyone know how I would go about this?

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Argument B should be sufficient, as would the "it was only a one week contract". If you feel the "job trial" offers a better long term prospect, go for it. What ever you decide to do, contact the agency (the sooner the better) so that they can organise a replacement. Should the "job trial" turn out to be a turkey, you may still get work from the agency (one good reason for keeping them in the loop).

 

At the end of the day, it must be your decision, but by the sounds of it, you have already made your mind up.

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Lets hope your colleague does back you up if it comes to it or you will face a sanction.

 

Surely if your income is so low you would already be on HB being on JSA in the first place, so can't understand the rent issue or is part of the story missing?

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Surely if your income is so low you would already be on HB being on JSA in the first place, so can't understand the rent issue or is part of the story missing?

 

Unfortunately, HB and the likes does not take in to account the expenses of actually working - They look at the total amount paid and ignore the cost of travel.

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Argument B should be sufficient, as would the "it was only a one week contract". If you feel the "job trial" offers a better long term prospect, go for it.

I think I have a very good chance of landing the job. The trial is to see if I can work to a high standard without any preparation. I have no idea what exactly it is I will be doing yet, but I'm sure I'm fully capable of doing it. Before I was stressing over the fact that if I quit my current job and I didn't land the job I wanted I would have no income for up to three years. It seemed too big a risk to take. Now I'm fairly confident that I've found a way around it.

 

 

What ever you decide to do, contact the agency (the sooner the better) so that they can organise a replacement. Should the "job trial" turn out to be a turkey, you may still get work from the agency (one good reason for keeping them in the loop).

Isn't it best not to for now? If I contact them and they tell me that I'm needed for the next two weeks the risk of being sanctioned is too great for me to go for a more suitable job.

 

 

Surely if your income is so low you would already be on HB being on JSA in the first place, so can't understand the rent issue or is part of the story missing?

I tried to claim it before and was told that I didn't qualify.

 

"If you’re single and under 35, you can only get Housing Benefit for bed-sit accommodation or a single room in shared accommodation." - from gov.uk/housing-benefit/eligibility

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Isn't it best not to for now? If I contact them and they tell me that I'm needed for the next two weeks the risk of being sanctioned is too great for me to go for a more suitable job.

 

If it were me, I'd ring the agency up and before they have a chance to say anything, politely inform them: "I've been offered a job closer to home and it starts Monday."The goal of the exercise is to retain good relations so that you could work for them again in the future is circumstances change.

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Judging by their map, the closest place to Salisbury that they cover is Basingstoke, which is a £16.20 return. The agency will never be able to offer me a sustainable job, so I see little point in working for them in future. They only do cleaning jobs, so the hours will always be low.

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