62-year-old Jimmy Stirling finally gets his Jobseeker’s Allowance payment back on track as he continues to search for work
I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 62-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.
I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.
I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government’s Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I see as slave labour.
This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.
I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government’s statistics to make them look good.
Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.
9 March 2016
I attended my Jobcentre to do what turned out to be a 30 minute job search on their computers. The computers were running on Windows 7 and at times their internet explorer would not show the pages properly where the style sheet did not seem to kick in. This made it quite awkward to navigate through pages.
However, I did my 30 minutes before heading off to do some of my voluntary work. I asked about my non-payment of my Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) but no one could help me. I was given a number to call.
When I got home I called the 0345 number and after waiting a while I got through to someone. I asked about my payment and was told it would go into my bank account overnight on the Wednesday and I would be able to see it in my account on Thursday. To my astonishment, it was there and I was happy to see it.
11 March 2016
I received two manila envelopes with letters from the DWP on Friday. One was to tell me how much I would be getting per week in Jobseeker’s Allowance, the princely sum of PS50.68.
It will not all be spent in the one shop.
The other letter asked me about my voluntary work and whether or not I get paid. It is voluntary, I want to do it, if I got paid, it would not be voluntary!
With new measures being pushed through regarding the sick and disabled I hope people will not just accept the changes and will seek information, advice and help prior to any change to their income.
I hope I can get on with my life now, for all it is worth, without any more little aggravations from the DWP and the Westminster government. Some peace of mind, no matter how little, is a healthy mind.
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Picture courtesy of Jimmy Stirling