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Double edged sword - work and benefits

A

aero89

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Dec 18, 2020
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I have seen similar thread but thought I'd start new one.

Any advice for longer term transition from benefits to employment? I'm very worried in the current climate.

I have been out of work on health grounds for over 6 months. Last permanent job I burnt my bridges at the end and was still in probationary period. I will only get a factual reference from them.

I got new part time job as permitted work but was fired again after 2 months.

I am doing some volunteering but only a little.

I want to get back into work but worried about not coping, the increasing gap in employment, the potential for starting work and being forced off benefits before I'm ready and able to manage to work enough to support myself.

It's balance between work making me more sick and unemployment making me feel worse.

I'm in my 30s and I want to break the cycle.
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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There's no doubt being in work is better for your self-esteem, however what does your gut instinct tell you? :)
 
A

aero89

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my gut says is I'm not ready as it will be same result. I'm terrified that I don't move past this. So much shame right now for not working or helping others. Especially during pandemic. I do 2 hours a week volunteering at food bank that's it. I know it's better than nothing.

I feel incredibly selfish as I'm just focused on my own difficulties. I see myself as having a negative impact on others so I shut myself away.
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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Thing is you are focused on your own difficulties because they aren't resolved. Have you mentioned any of this to your Doctor etc? Sometimes sharing, helps to get things off your chest, and it may yield peoples' opinions which will shed new insights into ways forward that so far have eluded you... Hope this helps :)
 
A

aero89

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Thank you for your replies.

I'm seeing a therapist for 9 months so far after 1.5 years seeing a previous one. I do think this time it is different but I'm moving so slowly I know this is me though. I don't yet believe i can change.
 
A

aero89

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The job market feels much more worrying right now with increasing redundancies, precarious nature of those on 'furlough' (UK government support scheme temporarily keeping people's jobs open whilst their employers are closed due to pandemic) and in uk with brexit employment rights are likely to worsen further.

The result is I think the job market is getting more competitive. More highly skilled people unemployed and less jobs. I believe an employer will always choose a person with good employment record (no gaps and an obvious history of maintaining jobs long term). Plus someone without disabilities (even if in theory there is protection in employment law) is always going to be preferable.
 
J

jointhedots

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You might already know this already but be very careful with going from benefits to employment. The new benefit system is pretty black and white. If you earn what the government considers is enough to live on, you will likely miss out on some if not ALL elements of your benefit.

If you veer over the allowance for hours, money earned etc they can often reduce what you receive pretty substantially. It could be so tiny and trivial but the consequences are severe. So many people have found this to be like a 'benefit trap' of sorts because they get into work and then find that it's work and get no help, or do not work and get all the help. You can't have it both ways.

I was working a job that was minimum wage, full time. I received my last wage before leaving and it was about £500. The government told me I had enough to live on for 2 months. They stopped ALL my benefits, including housing benefit. They wouldn't pay anything. I had rent to pay as well as get food, other living expenses, gym membership, bus pass etc. I tried to appeal and was refused. £500 is not two months worth of money to live on when my rent was actually £360 per month and I had to pay that in those two months (obviously) as well as then live. I obviously didn't have any money left over if I had to pay my rent. Anyway, my landlord got suspicious and thought I was trying to keep the rent (despite never getting it because I had nothing in the first place!), got into rent arrears, she took me to court and I had to leave. The court will always look at the rent arrears before anything else, by the time she had taken me to court it had already passed the threshold necessary for an effective immediate decision being made. All because of the government and their benefit system which made me worse off.

Be very careful.
If you're a single person living alone with no kids, no savings, nothing to fall back onto, I would REALLY assess the situation and make sure that you're well aware of what is going on. Because of that situation I went through I have had a full year of instability trying to find somewhere else decent to live and all because of the government and their loving nature towards people who are simply trying to do what they are told is what life is about and pay their way. I've dealt with mental health issues all my life and during that period I was the most stable I have ever been in all my adult life, and that's what I got for it. Homelessness.
 
A

aero89

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I'm lost for words about your story @jointhedots. It makes me so so angry that you were treated in this way when you were clearly trying to do the best you could and you were moving forwards. Instead of having of being supported in this you were punished and treated like poo (I'm trying not to swear and get banned). I can't imagine how this was for you and how you managed. I really appreciate the time you have taken and your honesty in sharing. You sound like an incredibly strong and determined person. I'm wondering where you are with everything right now.

I lost my job in June and went off on long term sick leave. I was receiving ESA which almost covered my rent. I rent privately with a friend and I was open about my situation. I was lucky he was so understanding. I also applied for pip and was waiting for response. I expected to be rejected. After 4 months I began doing permitted work and I informed dwp. I ensured that I worked less than 16 hours a week. I then got awarded pip but also lost my new job as couldnt cope. I managed 2 months and built up from one day a week to 1.5 days a week. To my suprise I then found out that I was awarded pip.I then found out I was placed in support group for esa. My pip and esa just about cover my rent and living costs. With benefits I've been very lucky so far to be honest. Especially when I hear your story. I guess I'm just worried that I won't transition back into work.

I agree that I need to be careful that I don't run before I can walk by rushing back into work before I'm ready then losing benefits. I am in control of my situation and its important it stays that way.

I still feel useless for not working and managing only 2 hours a week or volunteering.
 
J

jointhedots

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My current situation is terrible, to be honest. Living with my narcissistic adoptive family cause when everything fell through I was foolish enough to accept them back into my life and thought it easier being with them than presenting myself homeless. Guess my pride was in the way and it seemed more credible not going down the route of being a homeless person (I have a lot of history going through this exact system and know how horrible it can be when my family disowned me as soon as I got to the age I was able to challenge them it was simply too much for them to allow such a threat to their fragile dysfunctional lives). Yeah, they disowned me and pretty much exploited the whole adoption thing throughout my childhood making me feel like I owed them for the whole process, and then spat me out when I got to about 16. And here I'am, still with them. At the time I became homeless I had not spoken to them for a year or so and it was the best year of my life to date (I've 31 this year). A year later and it's been hell and much of it I can put down to them seeing as they push me into places that are really dark. It's horrible.

I'm in the trap of being desperate to move away which means I'm taking unnecessary risks moving to places that I know are not suitable for me. I just recently lived with a man with Aspergers who had never sought help and never accepted he needed it in the first place and so he was a ticking time bomb for anyone remotely seeking a stable healthy environment to live. It turned out I was more of a social worker he never had than an actual house mate. Naturally things went sour there and so I had to return. I've lived with people with serious mental health issues that were not being dealt with and were simply being used as weapons against other people, namely the victims in their own lives. Me being in a vulnerable position myself find myself tangled up in their drama despite not even wanting to be there. But of course, anywhere is better than where I'am now, right? So I had no choice but to be there. It was that or the life destroying environment of my severely deranged, dysfunctional and violent family. As you can probably guess, I've taken MANY risks and none of them have got me anywhere and so I keep finding myself back at the start.

Because I'm unemployed I have less money. Because I can't work enough hours and get support with my rent I have to remain on benefits, or simply work and be left with nothing at the end of every month, like most people. Only, if the job I'm working goes haywire, who supports me? Where do I find myself again? You guessed it - back here with the narcissistic psychopathic/sociopathic adoptive family. I haven't got anyone else to fall back on because much of my childhood and early adult life my friendships were superficial cause I was still reeling from the abuse and so never fully developed myself or my relationships. I've got to the point now where I was just about able to function properly after assuming responsibility for my issues and not letting them define my present and/or future. So I dare not get a full time job in case it does go haywire and I'm now not only prevented from receiving any help whatsoever, I also have to live on whatever remains for way longer than what is considered viable. Which means; no money, no support, homelessness.

At the end of the day, it's a broken system. It doesn't actually work for most people, not just extremely nuanced circumstances like mine. It's just that when things hit me, a single man on his own seperate to his family because of a lifetime of not very nice history whose reliant on benefits while he gets better, they hit me big. If you research this you'll hear of people committing suicide because their benefits got stopped and they had nothing. Some were trying their best to work, others had mental health issues and were dependent on support from the government during this time. People are being turfed out on the street on a weekly basis because the government would much rather say "Evict them!" as apposed to defend them. One week things could be great and the next you know the next couple of months are going to be hell because they chose to drop you completely and now you're without anything. It's really honestly that bad. I thought upon moving into my last 'serious' place (last year now) the government would defend me and ensure I wasn't out on the streets. They did no such thing. Upon ringing them they effectively give me the professional quip that says "No" and the phone call ended. And I was in a really good place then. Everything was looking up for me. It can snatched from you just like that if you are not in a mindset that seeks to challenge the benefit system at every hurdle, regardless of whether things seem good now or not. You really have to give it to them otherwise they will give it to you, and that often means you're meeting the darker side to how benefits can go. Lots of people will tell you awful stories about their experiences with benefits and these people were not guilty of anything, the system simply looks at things as you pass or you fail, black or white, in or out. And if you're on the outside, it's brutal.

When they brought in this new Universal Credit system it was soon proven to be worse in most respects than before and in fact made MORE people worse off. All of these people got cut off, the system severed their ties with them and simply left them to die. There was uproar for a while and that's why it was reformed. Imagine a new system coming in and immediately in not being fit for public use. Well, that was Universal Credit. They've made quite a lot of changes but the whole foundations of it is essentially discrimination and further loopholes to punish those who do not fit into this inflexible broken system.

Please be careful. Make sure you are aware of ALL the necessary stuff. It's more important than ever now because the system is tightening on flexibility in terms of a lot of what we have talked about. It has been for several years now and the result is more people ARE suffering and LESS support is available. It's not just benefits but also the mental health system too just to fit that into this conversation. Make sure you record EVERY hour worked, have proof of this, have the available evidence available, make sure you keep every wage slip, bank statement. Make sure you're reguarly in contact with them, make sure you record your communications with them, make sure you confirm things before you do them ie increase hours, get another job, do something that raises the potential for them to target you with sanctions etc. The more interaction you have with them, the more evidence will be there for you to challenge them. The last thing you need or want is radio silence and barely any records of you interacting with them.
 
A

aero89

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Dec 18, 2020
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england
Thank you. I don't know what else to say. Things sound so difficult
 
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