Government's failure to make people aware

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A few years ago the government made a point of telling people via TV & newspapers that they may be entitled to benefits and should claim them. They ven went so far as to identify a large number of people that they knew were entitled and started paying them without a claim being made.

Watched a TV programme last night were a guy who had lost his job due to having a stroke being allowed to claim JSA when he was clearly unwell and unable to work. He was sanctioned for not doing enough to look for a job. Eventually months later he was told to claim ESA. His JSA claim was closed down and that he would have to wait at least 3 weeks before he received any more payments.

Is there a policy now of not telling claimants what they should be getting at the start of their claims and telling them how to claim it? 

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    I know the Jobcentre do pick up some JSA claimants who are clearly unable to work and do tell them to claim ESA instead.   It sounds like this poor man wasn't spotted.   The Jobcentre staff aren't experts in this and  they are expected to deal with all the sick people too without any more staff,  they are under intense pressure to deliver and stick to their targets.  They can only say in their opinion he can't look for work and advise him to see his doctor.   The last I heard they only had 4 minutes to sign on each claimant.    

    I would imagine most people who are sick would think of going to their doctor first.  I don't know why he didn't.   If you change from 1 benefit to another it takes time due to staff shortages but it will be backdated.   The more people scream too many civil servants the less there will be and the waits will be longer.  It's not the Jobcentres fault as they are doing a very difficult and pressurised job.  They also get attacked and shouted at by customers which must be a nightmare. x


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    • Posted

      In my recent dealing withmy jobcentre plusi found most of them dont have a clue what their job is about. They gave one girl who wanted info on esa a jsa leaflet and told her they both the same really!,, luckily we saw a competent member of staff who gave us good advice hovever, on ringing thr relevent offices they told us her advice was wrong and we had to got to welfare rights to assure us. I wouldn't trust what job centre staff told me before checking it out with others. In my opinion!
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    • Posted

      Quite a farcical situation then.

      Personally i don't blame the jobcentre staff, it's not them that used to offer that particular advice - if I rember rightly it came directly from DWP HQ via the media.

      They used to have a slogan I think - "It's your money so pick it up!"

      Then they worked with HMRC to identify 1000's who they knew were entitled and started to pay them out even though no claim had been made. That payment went on for 6 months in the hope that the recipients would them make an official claim to have the money continue.

      It seems now that the DWP do the opposite - if the claimants don't know - then they deserve to lose it!

      I'm too old now to care to be honest - I've come to the conclusion that the DWP/Benefit system is worse than going to the dentist and you should avoid going until there is no other alternative but to seek help - much as was as with the National Assistance Board back in the 60's.

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    • Posted

      I worked in a jobcentre for 3 months and my sister did as middle managent for a number of years.   I also worked at the contact centre for years taking benefit claims.   The problem is lack of staff and the use of temps to fill the gap.  I inadvertently gave the wrong information out on several occasions.... The job continually changes and it seems half your life is spent in re training.  It is impossible for the vast majority of staff to keep exactly up to date as the system is so complex and rules are changing all the time.  We used to say there were too many chiefs and not enough indians.  The staff who are working on the front line are under enormous pressures to meet targets and if they don't they get discplined and could lose their jobs.  

      They have to go in when sick as if you take more than 8 days a year off on a rolling period you start getting official written warnings and breaking these results in dismissal.  It is horrible.   If people are under such strain and ill as well it is inevitable,  as well as what else is going on,  that mistakes are made.   It doesn't make it right but the more pressure staff are under the more mistakes are made.  x

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