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  • Writer's pictureJamie McCarthy

Stories From the U.K. 'Benefits' System: 4.

20th October 2016.

'Good news. This is the last time I'll be in. I'm signing off. I start work on Monday.'

'Congratulations. That's great news. Just sign here. Have you got your evidence of your work-search?'

'Yes - here it is.'

'Oh this is nowhere near enough. This doesn't show you've done 35 hours a week of job-searching.'

'Well I start work on Monday - surely this isn't really relevant now.'

'You need to give me evidence of 35 hours a week of job-seeking. If not I may have to sanction you.'

'Sanction me? But you're not even paying me any benefit at the moment - it was refused and I'm currently arguing my case. I'm only signing-on for my national insurance record.'

'Yes, but without proper evidence of an appropriate job search, I may have to sanction you and it will be a bad mark on your record ... it may affect any future claims.'

'But I start work in four days time. I've known this for two weeks, so I wouldn't have been able to take any work I might have applied for anyway - it would have been a waste of mine and the employer's time.'

'I'm sorry - if you don't give me an adequate record of 35 hours a week of job seeking you may be sanctioned.'

'Who makes the decision as to whether this job-search record is adequate or not?'

'I do. I can sign it off or not.'

'So you can decide to let it pass or put me forward for a sanction?'

'This really isn't an adequate job-search record.' (Goes to type something in the computer).

(Growls) ... 'Don't even bloody well think about it!'

(Looks disconcerted - signs and hands back my job-search record). 'Good luck with your new job.'

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