Saturday, 17 July 2010

TV - and being ill

With odd timing, A4e has published accounts of TV programmes "Benefit Busters" and "Famous, Rich and Jobless" on their MyA4e site. These are clearly dated July 2010 but read as if they are recent or haven't yet happened. Perhaps they are meant as a reminder that "The Fairy Jobmother" is just a spin-off. After all, the Doncaster Free Press managed to review that programme, calling Ms Taylor a "job expert", with but a single mention of "training company A4e". However, for all the hype, Jobmother only managed to get 8.9% of the viewers on Tuesday (according to MediaWeek), compared with 20.7% for BBC1's mini-series "The Silence" and 11.2% for ITV's "The Bill". It will be interesting to see how the second episode fares.

Reminding us that A4e has many irons in the fire, their Pathways site tells us that "A4e pathways are at the forefront with support for employers and GPs with the introduction of the fit note. A4e Pontypool pathways have contacted every GP surgery in Torfaen and Monmouthshire offering their expertise in reducing long term sickness related absence from work. The response from GP surgeries has been good and a number of meetings to discuss how the A4e pathways team could have a key role in supporting people where the doctor recommends an early return to work is work in progress." There is information about these new "fit notes", which were introduced in April, on the NHS website. So you could find yourself being referred to A4e just for being ill.


  1. I'm being forced onto an a4e work placement shortly and will have to travel 32 miles a day via bus and 4 miles walking daily. I will have to get up at 6am in order to catch the relevant bus and will only get back at 9.30pm due to the lack of regular public transport.

    They will not subsidise my travelling costs either which amounts to £6.20 a day!

    Clearly I have no intention of doing this, to do so would be detrimental to my sanity! But I would like to know how to go about obtaining any grants available in order to support myself for the 13 week period I can not claim benefit.

    I need to raise in the region of £600-£700 to keep myself right for that period. Any ideas?!

  2. Have you spoken to your JCP advisor? At the very least you should only have to pay the first £4 of your travel costs. Many would argue that if you were in an actual job, this amount of travelling would not be unreasonable. Of course, if you're not being paid, it does seem so. You need to speak to the Jobcentre.

  3. They wont pay the £4 up front or on a daily basis which means it will cost me £31(half of my weekly benefit) before I can claim back!

    I live in a rural area with no buses and have to walk 2 miles in all weathers to access a sporadic service of 4 buses a day.

    I've spoke to the jobcentre and they say they can not do anything about it.

    There is absolutely no way I will be attending the course as its logistically impossible for me to do for 13 weeks. The jobcentre don't want to know, they just want me off their books!

    What options do I have?

  4. Time to start writing letters (and keep copies). First to your JCP advisor asking for options. Second to your A4e advisor requesting that they purchase the weekly bus ticket (if such is available) in advance. This can be done. Send copies of all correspondence to your MP. If the worst comes to the worst, don't just go missing. Turn up at A4e every day to show that you're still on the programme.

  5. Talk to citizens advice, your mp, newspapers, im sure what there doing is illegal.

  6. The anonymous comment says it's illegal. It's not, just unreasonable. The CAB might be able to advise, but I would make sure you get everything in writing and have reached an impasse before you go to the press.

  7. why is this person not being offered minimum wage? after all this is work. and why dont they just refuse anyway, after all the law says jobseekers allowance is the minimum a person needs to live on, so they the jobcenter cannot stop any of there jobseekers allowance, that is illegal if the law says its the minimum amount to live on?

  8. If you don't turn up you are deemed to be not available for work and so benefit can be stopped.

  9. I've been told if I don't do the full 13 weeks I would have to do it again from scratch!

    Doing this course is not an option for me for the simple reason I lose at least £20 out of £60 in travel expenses and over 13 hours of my day, theres no way I'd be able to sustain it for 13 weeks!

    I'm going to put in for a crisis loan, and anything else I can get my hands on. I've heard you can claim up to £100 for clothing allowance, do you know anything about it?!

  10. Remember that you are getting £15 per week above your benefit, and lose £4 of that for travel, so you still come out £11 per week ahead. I don't think you would be eligible for a crisis loan while on New Deal, and it would just put you in debt. Clothing that you need for a work placement should be supplied by A4e, and for an interview by the Jobcentre, but that's it. Insist on the bus ticket being bought in advance and try it for a few days. If it really is impossible, you then have grounds for declining the placement and just turning up at A4e. You sound as if you're panicking, but you have good grounds for not giving in to this.

  11. historian answer my question. if the LAW says jobseekers allowance is the minimum a person should live on, then how can jobseekers allowance be stopped? that is surley illegal or a contridiction?

  12. Nearest CAB is 9 miles away and you can not get an appointment with them for weeks.

    Local MP - Like all MP's an absolute waste of space! Wrote to him before and never got a reply.

    I asked why I was not entitled to NMW and they told me it wasn't classed as work it was 'training' when asked what I was supposed to be 'training' for they just looked bemused and came out with the rather vague answer 'work skills'.

    Is there any grants available for self-employed people, as thats essentially what I'm going to have to become for 13 weeks!

  13. The £15 doesn't really cut it, every evening I'll have to wait nearly 2 hours for a connecting bus, what am I supposed to do for 2 hours?!?!

    I am panicking, because all this will make me penniless and seriously affect my mental well-being in the very near future!

  14. Jobseeker's Allowance is paid to people seeking work. If you are deemed not to be seeking work i.e. not complying with JCP's instructions, your benefit is stopped. Yes, it's a contradiction, but that's the way it is.
    Anon, you will not get a grant for self-employment if your JSA has been stopped, so don't go down that road.

  15. "Remember that you are getting £15 per week above your benefit, and lose £4 of that for travel, so you still come out £11 per week ahead."

    How do you work that one out?

    £4 X 5 days = £20

    I'm only getting the £1.20 a day reimbursed.

    So in fact I'm £5 down

  16. You pay the first £4 PER WEEK not per day.

  17. I'm still on JSA, I have a viable business plan, I was told about new deal last week, thats when I started my research and came across this site.

    So can I get a SE grant and how do I go about it, the JCP site is not very helpful!

  18. Sorry, I was led to believe it was £4 a day...

  19. The Teflon Don18 July 2010 at 11:23

    Historian ia right, you are only expected to contribute GBP 4 per week to the cost of travel.

    I would have thought you are not obliged to take the first placement they offer. Perhaps I'm wrong? It would not be unreasonable for you to ask for one more convenient.

  20. Just a thought. Have you calculated the actual TIME it takes to get to your A4e branch rather than just DISTANCE? DWP guidlines suggest that jobseekers should be prepared to look for employment up to 1.5 hrs travelling time from home, each way, not combined! Or this was the case last time I heard.

    Of course, travelling from A - B is not always in a straight line, esp by bus. It sound like a 32 mile journey will take more than 1.5 hrs nand that's before you take into account the 4 mile walking distance.

    As a case in point, I had an interview a couple of years ago in Bradford. Taking a bus from Leeds city centre, it took me around an hour to get to the address, despite Leeds and Bradford being only 10 miles or so apart. In contrast, one can drive to Manchester, over 40 miles from Leeds and get there within an hour. Okay, the address was well outside Bradford city centre, but it proves that distance is not the only factor especially where busses are concerned.(I could have gotten the quicker train, but the bus stopped almost outside the address).

    Whilst some would say it's acceptable to travel 36 miles to a job, bear in mind some employers may see this as too far and may be worried that you may not be particularly punctual or that you'd arrive at work shattered before you even start a days work, esp after a couple of hours on a bus AND a four mile hike!

  21. 11 pounds for a weeks work historian?!

  22. Do you have to seek work? the law says jobseekers allowance is the minimum a person needs to live on a week, anyone on jobseekers allowance challange this.

  23. It's getting confusing with all these Anonymouses. can you please make up a user name!
    "11 pounds for a weeks work historian?!" - don't blame me! I suppose it's your benefit plus £11 per week.
    The old idea of the minimum amount that someone needed to live on, the personal allowance, fell by the wayside some time ago, when emergency grants were replaced by emergency loans, and then when asylum seekers were paid less than that sum. When I was unemployed in the early 90s I chose income support over JSA because it was very slightly more, but it made no difference to the obligation to be available for, and to seek, work.

  24. I know people who have recieved letters from the job center recently saying... this is the minimum amount the law says you need live on. ie job seekers allowance. CHALLENGE IT.

  25. I think you would need a business plan first to be considered for a grant for self employment!

  26. this is what its says in the welfare to work hand book, published by the center for economic and social inclusion.
    good cause for not attending a compulsory programme ie new deal work placement, you will have good cause for not attending a compulsory programme, if you have to travel more than an hour each way to attend the programme.
    or have to travel a long distance from home to attend, or travel makes it difficult for you to attend.

  27. I'm getting a lot of different feedback from numerous sites on this issue.

    I genuinely need some form of advice, yet I will only get an appointment with the CAB after the 13 weeks course, which by then will be far too late!

    What is becoming clear is that any "official" line on this matter seems determined to hoodwink me into attending an unattendable placement.

    PeterB - The original poster

  28. Pete: I can understand you getting bewildered by all the advice.

    My suggestion is to contact the jobcentre, and insist on seeing in writing the legislation about travel so you know where you stand. In short, get it from the horse's mouth!

  29. Someone is bombarding me with comments claiming a connection between A4e and BAE, and because I don't publish them he now reckons that this blog is run by A4e! Please stop it.

  30. What Mr Benn says makes sense. Also, whatever info you get from the Job Centre Pete, make sure you get it in writing, and get the names of those handing out the info.

    Different web sites all mean well, but will offer differnt advice due to differing experiences.

  31. you can refuse to follow a training-related direction, if:
    you have finished another traning course fewer than four weeks ago, and
    your traning course lasted for at least two months, and the direction is intended to find you a different type of employment!!!!than your previous traning.
    you will have good cause for refusing to comply with directions for the following reasons:
    health reasons
    conflict with sincerely held religious belief, or a conscientious objection
    conflict with caring responsibilities
    unreasonably high expenses!! in carrying out the jobseekers direction

  32. I would say either get them to fork out for a taxi or be damned. It's absolutely absurd to expect people to go through such hassle to get to a placement with a4e (or anyone). If they aren't prepared to meet the cost of a taxi then don't go. Sorry, but that's what I'd do.

    I know what it's like living in a rural area, The CAB are no help for people like that. The government offers no support at all and simply expects people to spend hours (and £££) on buses. I cannot believe they can legitimately stop your money if it's going to cost that much to get there. Out of the question.

    (Wouldn't be surprised though, knowing these scumbags).

  33. Please see page 10 of which I believe highpark1 was referring to.


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