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New Universal Credit claim - what's changed since JSA? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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After a long absence from benefits I'll be starting a new claim for Universal Credit in the next few days.

 

Just a brief history: I was on the old Work Programme with Ingeus for the full 2 years - towards the end I was placed on the ESA assessment phase having been on JSA only and didn't have to attend the office anymore... Shortly after I ended the claim to pursue a new opportunity and that's where I've been for over a year and a bit.

 

Now having to go back to relying on benefits is a difficult thought and I have no idea what's changed. I have no clue if my local office is still open, I know most claims are now dealt with by phone only... I think that's right? :| I've heard DWP offices are closing down all over the country so what does this mean for a claimant and how do they check your doing all you can to find work?

 

Can anyone fill me in on what's changed and what'll happen when I sign up... very nervous about it as I never actually thought I'd go back into the system... :-(

 

I was on antidepressants before and looking for job didn't help much with my mental health. Having not worried about work strictly speaking for over a year I am quite anxious regarding all these changes and what it could mean for my family.

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After a long absence from benefits I'll be starting a new claim for Universal Credit in the next few days.

 

Just a brief history: I was on the old Work Programme with Ingeus for the full 2 years - towards the end I was placed on the ESA assessment phase having been on JSA only and didn't have to attend the office anymore... Shortly after I ended the claim to pursue a new opportunity and that's where I've been for over a year and a bit.

 

Now having to go back to relying on benefits is a difficult thought and I have no idea what's changed. I have no clue if my local office is still open, I know most claims are now dealt with by phone only... I think that's right? :| I've heard DWP offices are closing down all over the country so what does this mean for a claimant and how do they check your doing all you can to find work?

 

Can anyone fill me in on what's changed and what'll happen when I sign up... very nervous about it as I never actually thought I'd go back into the system... :-(

 

I was on antidepressants before and looking for job didn't help much with my mental health. Having not worried about work strictly speaking for over a year I am quite anxious regarding all these changes and what it could mean for my family.

 

I came off ESA as my WCA said I was fit for work (yeah let's not go there)

 

Ironically had my first UC appt today, it was horrid, made to feel like a nobody. Not going to lie, the whole process makes you feel like sh*t. After all this I am around £120pm worse off than on ESA

 

The main thing they get you on is 35 hours pw job search. No real biggy, one click applications say you amended CV, letters etc and you can do it all in a few hours. No one can sit for 35 hours a week job searching as there won't be enough suitable jobs to apply 35 hours per WEEK. I will do about 10 hours on 3-4 jobs and one click apply the rest to make up the hours - simply it is not feasible to do 35 hours when the jobs are not there WEEKLY!

 

For the first 13 weeks of the claim you go in weekly. I said I cannot afford that as it is £5 bus return so £20 a month off the £120 I lose so I made my work coach (also known as a know it all that knows NOTHING) agree to pay my fares and got it in writing off of a senior manager especially as I get nothing for 5 weeks.

 

Unless you need it DO NOT take the advance, it is only 50% of the projected award and serves NO PURPOSE at all plus you have to pay it back over 6 months so less pittance for 6 months than the pittance you get anyway and puts you in MORE trouble. If you can take it from credit card like I am as less likely to get in trouble from bank than DWP!

 

Basically, I have had an hour of it and am fed up of it already - it is a total farce and they know it. Happy to chat on PM if you need to, you are not the only one that this inhumane benefit is affecting!

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I came off ESA as my WCA said I was fit for work (yeah let's not go there)

 

Ironically had my first UC appt today, it was horrid, made to feel like a nobody. Not going to lie, the whole process makes you feel like sh*t. After all this I am around £120pm worse off than on ESA

 

The main thing they get you on is 35 hours pw job search. No real biggy, one click applications say you amended CV, letters etc and you can do it all in a few hours. No one can sit for 35 hours a week job searching as there won't be enough suitable jobs to apply 35 hours per WEEK. I will do about 10 hours on 3-4 jobs and one click apply the rest to make up the hours - simply it is not feasible to do 35 hours when the jobs are not there WEEKLY!

 

 

 

Hmmm...are they making you go ito the JC to do your jobsearch? I use a couple of sites specific to my profession and can search and apply for half a dozen in about 5 mins, probably less. The site job application history doesn't timestamp the actual time, only the date, so JC just know I've applied for a few jobs a day, they don't need to know the exact times and even if the site DID specify those I'd edit out that info. Old enough to remember a decade back when ones jobsearch was your own affair, and even now it's still none of their f***ing business as far as I'm concerned, so they can do one with this 35 hours a week malarkey!

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Hmmm...are they making you go ito the JC to do your jobsearch? I use a couple of sites specific to my profession and can search and apply for half a dozen in about 5 mins, probably less. The site job application history doesn't timestamp the actual time, only the date, so JC just know I've applied for a few jobs a day, they don't need to know the exact times and even if the site DID specify those I'd edit out that info. Old enough to remember a decade back when ones jobsearch was your own affair, and even now it's still none of their f***ing business as far as I'm concerned, so they can do one with this 35 hours a week malarkey!

 

Luckily I can 'jobsearch' at home but this whole 35 hour rule is ridiculous. It is impossible as jobs stay on a site for around 4 weeks and also same jobs on most agency sites. So what are you supposed to do after a few weeks jobsearch?

 

I just do one click apply on CV Library even if the job isn't relevant to simply fill the search and then do maybe a few job applications I actually wouldn't mind properly.

 

All very well actually doing a job 35 hours a week but 35 hours job searching and applying? NOT REALISTIC OR FEASIBLE!

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Luckily I can 'jobsearch' at home but this whole 35 hour rule is ridiculous. It is impossible as jobs stay on a site for around 4 weeks and also same jobs on most agency sites. So what are you supposed to do after a few weeks jobsearch?

 

I just do one click apply on CV Library even if the job isn't relevant to simply fill the search and then do maybe a few job applications I actually wouldn't mind properly.

 

All very well actually doing a job 35 hours a week but 35 hours job searching and applying? NOT REALISTIC OR FEASIBLE!

 

 

 

Nor advantageous. There are very few jobs that are pulled within the same day, most HR/Agents/Direct employers will allow the ad to run 2-3 days at least, so you might as well run your search at the fag end of the day, batch-fire your applications, and leave your phone on to answer calls/emails when employers reply. I was on my 3rd pint in the sunshine, about 50 steps from the JC when I accepted my last job ;)

 

 

Also, the "35 hour" thing smacks dangerously closely of a breach of human rights.

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I came off ESA as my WCA said I was fit for work (yeah let's not go there)

 

Ironically had my first UC appt today, it was horrid, made to feel like a nobody. Not going to lie, the whole process makes you feel like sh*t. After all this I am around £120pm worse off than on ESA

 

The main thing they get you on is 35 hours pw job search. No real biggy, one click applications say you amended CV, letters etc and you can do it all in a few hours. No one can sit for 35 hours a week job searching as there won't be enough suitable jobs to apply 35 hours per WEEK. I will do about 10 hours on 3-4 jobs and one click apply the rest to make up the hours - simply it is not feasible to do 35 hours when the jobs are not there WEEKLY!

 

For the first 13 weeks of the claim you go in weekly. I said I cannot afford that as it is £5 bus return so £20 a month off the £120 I lose so I made my work coach (also known as a know it all that knows NOTHING) agree to pay my fares and got it in writing off of a senior manager especially as I get nothing for 5 weeks.

 

Unless you need it DO NOT take the advance, it is only 50% of the projected award and serves NO PURPOSE at all plus you have to pay it back over 6 months so less pittance for 6 months than the pittance you get anyway and puts you in MORE trouble. If you can take it from credit card like I am as less likely to get in trouble from bank than DWP!

 

Basically, I have had an hour of it and am fed up of it already - it is a total farce and they know it. Happy to chat on PM if you need to, you are not the only one that this inhumane benefit is affecting!

 

Hi, thanks very much for the reply essexmat!

 

Back when I was on JSA I already did a 35hour job search... not even joking! I mean I literally sat there for 5 hours per day 7 days a week for over 3 months (last on my JSA claim) and it was pointless - the same jobs, the same employers who never get back you... Won't be doing it again! The woman didn't even look on the Universal Job Match account... it was a total waste of my time! I used to print off my job search with all my email applications and highlight all the ones I'd applied for, being almost all of them that way it's in black and white and no-one could ever sanction me. I'd colour them differently for reply/ no hear back etc. as looking at a list of applications without seemed to send the poor JCP workers head spinning... I did get one section from the WP provider as I missed one appointment, was my bday that day... Never missed another one after that i'll tell you! I was close to another sanction but the guy forgot to write 'you need to attend a mandatory appointment' blurb on the letter so I was awarded my money, just before Xmas that year too, so was lucky!

 

So it's still a case of seeing someone in the JCP office and showing them the work you've done to find work? Well that's different to what i've been hearing... Is it different in different regions or a case od 'one rule for all'?

 

Sorry you didn't get on so well with it essexmat, I am dreading it even more now... :-(

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Hi, thanks very much for the reply essexmat!

 

Back when I was on JSA I already did a 35hour job search... not even joking! I mean I literally sat there for 5 hours per day 7 days a week for over 3 months (last on my JSA claim) and it was pointless - the same jobs, the same employers who never get back you... Won't be doing it again! The woman didn't even look on the Universal Job Match account... it was a total waste of my time! I used to print off my job search with all my email applications and highlight all the ones I'd applied for, being almost all of them that way it's in black and white and no-one could ever sanction me. I'd colour them differently for reply/ no hear back etc. as looking at a list of applications without seemed to send the poor JCP workers head spinning... I did get one section from the WP provider as I missed one appointment, was my bday that day... Never missed another one after that i'll tell you! I was close to another sanction but the guy forgot to write 'you need to attend a mandatory appointment' blurb on the letter so I was awarded my money, just before Xmas that year too, so was lucky!

 

So it's still a case of seeing someone in the JCP office and showing them the work you've done to find work? Well that's different to what i've been hearing... Is it different in different regions or a case od 'one rule for all'?

 

Sorry you didn't get on so well with it essexmat, I am dreading it even more now... :-(

 

I honestly think it is about two parties playing 'the game' The work coaches (who know NOTHING) have orders to follow as do claimants. I have done 3 proper applications today and they took me 6.5 hours in total. That would mean I still had 28.5 hours to fill and that is only if the vacancies are there! Remember, a lot of jobs are the same jobs on various sites so you could also risk duplication.

 

The way I see it os if you are doing an application properly for a reasonable full time job it should take 3-4 hours the time you read the job description, person spec, on line application, tailor CV and letter etc. My last full time job the application process took me nigh on 6 hours - honestly!

 

What I refuse to do is job search at weekends so my time will be spent Monday to Friday so essentially that would be 7 hours a day - I am sorry, that may be the time spent ina full time job but job searching? Nigh on impossible nor advantageous or helpful.

 

If I was to do say 2 proper applications per day at say 6 hours in total I MAY be able to reach 25-30 hours but not 35. My argument to my work coach when I see her next week will be that I am spending time looking for the right job and applying properly. If needs must I will simply put written stuff in like "went to library" and "got paper and searched job pages" to 'fill' time this wasting MY time and THEIR time.

 

I live in a rural seaside town, my nearest main town is 25 miles away, that is the only place REAL jobs may exist and even then people I know that are working there are beingmade redundant left right and centre. The true FACT is there are not enough jobs available to apply for at 35 hours per week. After a few weeks you would have exhausted all avenues and then what? Follow up? OK, I will follow up even though that is a waste of time as it clearly states "unless you hear from us in xx days you have been unsuccesful" or you get an email saying you have been unseuccesful.

 

The way I see it is if both parties, claimant and DWP, agree you are looking for work properly the 35 hour rule is nonsense even though I and others had to sign the claimant commitment otherwise no pittance paid - so what do you do?

 

I am going to show a spreadsheet on what I have done, does that mean if I only done 25 hours sanction? Really? If this is the case I will simply lie about what I have done to fill the hours up - unethical yes, a neccesary part of the 'game' you bet!

 

In addition to this, I have professionaly written CVs, have been an interviewer as well as interviewee, have vast experience in business administration, presentations etc - want to send me on a pointless course? Fine, DWP can pay for it and less hours for me to waste filling in the 35 hours.

 

There needs to be a two way common sense approach between claimant and work coach - if not and you end up with a dictator it won't work.

 

Basaically, UC in principle should work, in reality it doesn't and is an unfit, inhumane regime that ultimately makes people ill and worse off!

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Update 21.11.17 for Apple19 and anyone else interested.

 

It seems it is the luck of the draw who you get. I went to my first real UC appt this morning, had a 'pussycat' who knew absoloutely NOTHING about UC and even admitted she had moved from JSA claims so her knowledge was poor (as I mentioned, these so called work coaches are usually less well educated with a less diverse work history than a lot of claimants)

 

Anyway, we conversed (when I could hear her) - she said my CV was excellent and my job search spreadsheet and 35 hour (LOL!) job search was also well set out - this is the same 35 hour job search that took me all of a few hours max and with jobs that I got an automatic rejection from 10 minutes after application because the job 'owner' or site 'owner' is too lazy to update the position or delete it if it has gone - or has forgetten that they left a fake job on there!

 

Anyway, I said, "so you are happy for me to send my job searches in a day before we meet each week like this" she replies "yes that is fine" She then says "you have not granted permission to your UJM account" I thought "here we go, we are off, I had this when on JSA do I really have to go through this AGAIN?" so I say "that's right, I do not use it and will not use it as it is unfit for purpose - as you can see I record my searches on my own spreadsheet so no need for UJM" she replies "That is fine but we still need access" WALLOP! I hit her with all the regs etc and gradually watched her as she went redder and redder and gave in!

 

I think she has the message now, leave me alone each week and I will stop being a pain with you. I want in and out and you want me in and out. I will job search at MY leisure and apply for the REAL jobs that I WANT and just fill the rest of the speradsheet up with total one click apply crap for jobs that probably don't even exist.

 

The unfortunate part was hearing a 'work coach' literally bullying some poor 18-20 year old lad with regulations and the 35 hour spiel. I have my own battles to fight though, but rest assured, these so called work coaches are asked to bully and manipulate the weaker and less well educated claimant as that is where they get their sacntions from. Unfortunately for them it won't wash with and educated, diverse background, up with the rules and regulations, willing to stick up for themselves 43 year old MAN.

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Re UC and Today's Budget:

 

- Advance claims can now be for full award (not 50%) paid back over 12 months instead of 6 months

- If you received housing benefit you can claim 2 weeks HB from your council while claiming UC helping with rent costs rather than have it totally stopped

 

OK, so as I have just moved from ESA and HB to UC does this mean I can contact my LA and ask for 2 weeks HB as I am now in some arrears or as I have now claimed and the budget is today have I missed out?

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I think you might need to wait a day or two for people to digest the budget.

 

Hopefully organisations like the CAB will put out something, but I imagine they want to see the Finance Bill [?] with the full information rather than the budget speech headlines. They also might have to wait for published guidance from the DWP.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I think you might need to wait a day or two for people to digest the budget.

 

Hopefully organisations like the CAB will put out something, but I imagine they want to see the Finance Bill [?] with the full information rather than the budget speech headlines. They also might have to wait for published guidance from the DWP.

 

HB

 

I guess that is a fair assumption.

 

I have emailed my LA anyway to set the 'ball rolling' as it could be a case of people not claiming what could be rightfully theirs as an entitlement. This way I have asked the question and they need to answer based on what information they are given. I suggest others in a similar position do so as well.

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Thanks for the reply essexmat, very lucky to get one who wasn't in the know... What are the regs in relation to using UJM? as I said previously I did this and gave them access, sat at the PC for approx 35 hours and it was a total waste of my time as the lady didn't even look at the screen... I had time stamps and screenshots and everything...grrr! Is there anything I can print off to show them as I don't know if I can stand up for myself in such a heated situation.

 

I used to print off all my job search with highlighted replays/ follow-ups etc. I intend to do the same again as I actually spent hours and hours... not to mention endless printer paper and ink on the sheets. I still have a huge bundle and was thinking of taking them along to show the prospected 'work coach' incase any arguments start regarding my job searching technique. The amount highlighted replays was an eye opener for the amount of employers who actually get back to applicants... Maybe 1 out of every 10 jobs...

 

I'm thinking I may just wait till the New Year due to personal circumstances, things are up in the air right now...

 

The budget news is a breakthrough though, five weeks is better.

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