Jimmy Stirling’s DWP diary: Living with the fear of what they’ll do next


In his third diary instalment, 61-year-old Jimmy Stirling has escaped the sanctions axe – for now


5 October 2015

My Jobseeker’s Allowance was paid into my bank account, so I have not been sanctioned – yet.

This has been a quiet week with less stress and worry, which allowed me to get on with day-to-day tasks and catching up on things I have let fall because I was under pressure.

Luckily, I have a very small garden and going out and doing a bit of work in it gives me a break. I can escape and nurture with what I call my ‘sanity trowel’!

There is a constant nagging at the back of my mind as to what may happen next and making sure I am prepared for anything that may be thrown at me from ‘the broo’.

It is a bit like mental tennis but at the moment it is equivalent to rain on the court or bad light stops play.

10 October 2015

Contrary to some beliefs, unemployed people are allowed to have a holiday. I informed the DWP that I would be going on holiday as I did at the same time last year.

My family are taking me away for a week on a caravan holiday from Saturday. It means I will miss my regular signing-on day which also means I have to sign on the first day after I return, which in my case will be Monday 19 October 2015.
I still have to look for work during this time via any way possible, so in my case it will be the local press and via any internet connection that may be made available to me.

I also have to be ready to return to my local DWP office if a job comes in that is offered to me. The chances of that actually happening is very scarce.

I will try to enjoy my week away, but there will always be that little grey cloud hovering in your head which makes you wonder what the DWP will come up with while you are away.

Thanks to Peter Cooke for his comment offering help on my previous blogs. I contacted Peter and he has sent me some valuable information regarding his experiences in the past which are pertinent to my case.

I will pass this on to Westgap and Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, it will help them in the future.

Meanwhile, thanks to all who have read and shared my story, so far. I will be back in a week and I will bring you all back a virtual stick of rock!

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer