Unemployed lone parents could to be forced into mandatory unpaid work placements as part of fresh changes to benefits coming into force from the 28th April 2014.
Lone parents in receipt of Income Support who have a child between the age of 3-4 will be required to undertake ‘mandatory work related activity’ “to better prepare them for the full work-related requirements they will face when their child turns 5”.
The changes will also apply to lone parents in the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ (WRAG) of the sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Local authority childcare schemes will be made available to allow the changes to come into effect and help free up lone parents to partake in the new requirements. Up to fifteen hours of free childcare will be available for those affected.
Income Support claimants with a child between the age of 1-4 will also be required to take part in work focused interviews at their nearest Jobcentre. The time and duration ‘will be tailored to the needs of the lone parent’.
Failure to comply with the changes – without good cause – could result in lone parents having their benefits cut or stopped completely (sanctioned). The level of the cut will begin at 20% but could increase to 100% for ‘further failures’. However, only one Income Support cut will be permitted in a two-week period.
It has also been announced this week that jobseeker’s who have been out of work for over three years, and who have already taken part in the government’s controversial Work Programme, will be required to undertake community work placements for up to 30 hours per week. They will also be expected to spend 10 hours per week looking for work.
The DWP has given the example of “clearing up litter and graffiti in local areas” which has previously been reserved for community volunteers and criminal offenders.
> Which is a pretty good indication of how our betters regard the unemployed – criminals who need to be punished. For their own good, you understand…
My contention is that if you have to work for benefits, then they are no longer benefits – they’re wages, and wages below the National Minimum Wage at that.
In this instance, failure to comply will result in jobseeker’s having their benefits cut for four weeks which could extend to several months for repeat offenders.
New Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants will also have to wait 7 days before they become entitled for the unemployment benefit.
We have been informed that once a lone parent with a child over the age of 3 ‘volunteers’ for participation in the government’s ‘Work Programme’, that participation then becomes ‘mandatory’.
Source – Welfare News Service, 02 April 2014
> From the letters page of the Sunderland Echo.
People I know who sign on at the Southwick Jobcentre tell me that the following is about par for the course. Although I suppose you could say that they’re just conforming to current DWP policy towards the unemployed….
Jobless deserve to be treated better
I RECENTLY attended an appointment at Southwick Jobcentre, having been unemployed since January 11 of this year.
I had tried, with the Jobcentre’s help, to enrol on an IT course and I was given the time of 9.30am to attend the course centre.
I arrived at the centre at 9.15am and by 11am I was still sitting in the waiting room. I was then told by a lady that my appointment was actually 2.30pm and that they would rearrange an appointment for me. They never contacted me again.
At my next appointment at the Jobcentre I was given a form to fill out to explain why I did not attend the course.
I was treated like it was all my fault. I wrote on the form that I believed that it was due to someone else’s incompetence and why was I being punished.
The lady from the Jobcentre phoned the course and the woman that she spoke to agreed with my story and also said the reason that I had not been contacted was because their funding had fallen through and the course was no longer available.
The lady from the Jobcentre then signed me up for a forklift truck course, even though I already have my forklift licence, and told me that it was mandatory. She reeminded me that if I did not go I would have my benefits stopped for three months. I will not be given bus fare and this will cost me a fortune.
These people haven’t a clue what they are doing. They are not helping us in any way.
Maybe these people should be the ones sent on courses and people like me given their jobs.
I would treat others like human beings and not like the scum that they think we are.
Steven, Red House, Sunderland
Source – Sunderland Echo, 13 March 2013