The Benefits Mess- A Personal View

July 10, 2012 8:30 pm

It is easy to criticise people on benefits for not wanting to work but there is another side which nobody talks about, a side I have first-hand experience with.

What actually happens when you’re the unlucky one out of a job, unable to pay your rent and now at the back of the line to claim unemployment and housing benefits? Not only are you filled with guilt and fear, as well as the hope that nobody you know sees you; you’re also faced with a system that is so complicated you start wondering is it really worth it? There’s a misconception that your advisor will help you find a job and better your skills with courses available. I’m yet to hear of or see this happening.

It’s easy to see why the job centre is seen as a cash machine when that is exactly how it operates.

Things are not made easier with a housing benefit system which seemingly disadvantages British people while those from a non-British or EU background find the doors opening more quickly. In what world is it acceptable that anyone has to prove they are unable to look after themselves on the street? When did the UK become a third world country to its own people? A criminal may have broken the law but can go straight on the priority list for housing benefits above all the law abiding citizens. What a message to send to society.

Once you begin receiving job seekers and housing benefit you are normally in some form of temporary housing, awaiting permanent housing. If you’re lucky enough to find a job, obviously you want to take it no matter if it’s full or part time, minimum wage or more–you’re just excited someone’s given you a job again.

The excitement soon wears off upon discovering  the £70 weekly wage you now earn means you’ve lost out on any help from the job centre and you are no longer eligible for a grant to furnish your permanent house when -and if- you get it.  In addition, if you earn anything more than £70 per week, housing benefit take any extra by increasing the rent so leaving only the £70; exactly amount you were receiving on job seekers benefits.

So there is absolutely no reason to go out to work and pay transport costs to get to there, when by doing so you’re making yourself no better off financially than staying in and doing nothing all day.

Yes, you will have a purpose and you will feel you’re achieving something with your life. Some may say it’s better to work than not, especially in this economic climate.  Some would argue paying rent is simply a part of life.

But how many of you reading this can honestly say you would get up every day, go to work, become physically and mentally tired and stressed when you knew it wasn’t improving your financial situation?

It doesn’t encourage people on benefits to get back into work, it does the opposite.

The people who actually want to put in some effort and get out of their benefits situation aren’t helped and are disadvantaged, yet our Government complain about spending too much on the benefits system and propose the need to make cuts.  When these cuts come in, they will affect those who are trying to get up and work their way out of a life dependant on benefits.The current Government needs to have a close look at the system as a whole before it makes cuts. If they want a country where people are in employment, they must create a system which encourages it. Currently it just is not working.

(N.B -Views expressed in content published are those of the individual writer and may not represent the opinions of  MoonProject or any member of the MoonProject team. – Ed.)

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