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  • FIRST POST
    moneymattersman
    Got myself into a pickle with the JSA... advice needed
    • #1
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:41 AM
    Got myself into a pickle with the JSA... advice needed 20th Aug 11 at 10:41 AM
    So I've been signing for a little while and I've never had a single problem before until now.

    I live about 150 miles away from my father, but he's old and lives alone and needs regular care from family members. Due to emergency my uncle asked me if I could go and stay with him next week and I really couldn't say no. However, I explained on the phone to him that I needed to be at home until yesterday because it was my signing appointment.

    When I went to my signing appointment yesterday the lady I saw refused to sign me on because she said my evidence wasn't sufficient for my job search. She asked me to go away and bring back all the applications I'd submitted over the two week period. I thought I'd be able to do it that afternoon but when I went to check my emails I realised I hadn't been keeping my 'confirmations' for all the online applications I make (I stupidly try to subscribe to that 'inbox zero' method of email) - I'd never been asked to provide any further evidence before so it never even occurred to me to archive these emails.

    To make matters worse I'd already promised to come back and look after my Dad over 150 miles away and really couldn't let him down, so I had to leave home not having signed. Since I didn't think I'd need to be signing again I'm not returning home until next weekend!

    So the situation is that for the 'evidence' of my job search I have all my covering letters and an offer of interview, but none of the emails to confirm the actual dates (the lady made a point of saying the applications needed to 'tally' with my work diary.)

    Now I'm totally stuck and literally feel sick with worry. I'm 150 miles away from home, on Monday I'll be a day late to sign, I won't be back home until next Friday at the earliest and I don't have the evidence that was requested of me by the job centre. To make matters worse nobody ever picks up the phone at the Job Centre (I literally let it ring for 30 minutes last time).

    Just to clarify, I'd gladly lose a week's signing if it means getting this sorted but what I can't afford to do is lose my housing benefit. I literally have no savings and if I lose a week's rent I'll be in major trouble with the landlord. I suppose what I'm saying is that if for whatever reason I get sanctioned for not being at home or not providing evidence, I need to make sure it doesn't affect my housing.

    I'm going to go to the Jobcentre near my Dad's house at 9AM on Monday but I really don't know what they'll say. I'm so worried I'm even considering signing off until I'm back home and just explaining that for that period I wasn't available for work then reclaiming when I get back home?

    Maybe I'm just making this worse in my head though? I just keep poring through pages and pages of information about JSA 'sanctions' and I'm terrified that it's going to happen to me!
Page 1
  • bestpud
    • #2
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:51 AM
    • #2
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:51 AM
    Housing benefit isnt dependent on JSA so you are still able to claim that.

    Short periods away from home should not be a problem for housing benefit but why not write to them and explain the situation? That should cover you if they receive notification of a sanction from JCP.

    Don't call them - write and send it recorded delivery.
  • HappyMJ
    • #3
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:53 AM
    • #3
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:53 AM
    If you cannot prove you are looking for work then you won't get JSA. It's very simple look for work, write it down in the diary, apply for work, keep a copy and write it down in the diary.

    If your JSA stops then your housing benefit will stop and you will need to make a new claim for housing benefit to continue receiving it.
  • moneymattersman
    • #4
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:54 AM
    • #4
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:54 AM
    thanks so much for your help.... just to clarify do you suggest writing to my council re: housing or write to the JCP about the problem?

    also do you think that the Job Centre near my father's house will sign me on providing I show them my evidence of job search and explain the family emergency?
    Last edited by moneymattersman; 20-08-2011 at 10:58 AM.
  • moneymattersman
    • #5
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:56 AM
    • #5
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:56 AM
    If you cannot prove you are looking for work then you won't get JSA. It's very simple look for work, write it down in the diary, apply for work, keep a copy and write it down in the diary.
    Originally posted by HappyMJ
    That's the thing... I DID submit my work diary but was told it wasn't sufficient! Now I'm not home to go back and show them all the applications I sent off that week because I'm 150 miles away looking after my old man
  • HappyMJ
    • #6
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:57 AM
    • #6
    • 20th Aug 11, 10:57 AM
    thanks so much for your help.... just to clarify do you suggest writing to my council re: housing or write to the JCP about the problem?
    Originally posted by moneymattersman
    Go to the council directly and explain it to them. They'll give you the forms straight away which you can fill out and return without delay.

    JCP you'll have to speak to them first. Make an appointment to see someone at the Jobcentre to discuss it further.

    That's the thing... I DID submit my work diary but was told it wasn't sufficient! Now I'm not home to go back and show them all the applications I sent off that week because I'm 150 miles away looking after my old man
    Originally posted by moneymattersman
    How many entries on it? What does your jobseeker agreement say you need to do? I had to do 3 things per week so had to have 6 new things on the diary every sign on time. They did not count reading the employment pages and found nothing as a step.
    Last edited by HappyMJ; 20-08-2011 at 10:59 AM.
  • dookar
    • #7
    • 20th Aug 11, 11:09 AM
    • #7
    • 20th Aug 11, 11:09 AM
    Depending on the nature of the emergency they should really be considering treats. Google 'decision makers guide' read volume 4, chapter 21 - specifically the parts about being treated as available/ase and domestic emergencies.

    If you satisfy the rules, tell them so.
  • moneymattersman
    • #8
    • 20th Aug 11, 11:44 AM
    • #8
    • 20th Aug 11, 11:44 AM
    Thanks so much for all your help guys, I think I might actually be able to eat something without feeling like vomiting now!! :S

    Just to clarify - the issue didn't seem to be lack of job search on the diary it was providing evidence that what was on the diary was accurate... very strange - it's the first time I've ever been asked for that.

    So I think the plan of action will be to get to the 'out of town' jobcentre at 9AM on Monday and plead my case - take my evidence of Job search and just see what happens.

    In the mean time I'm going to get a letter off to my local council in the next 45 minutes via recorded delivery just explaining the situation. The below is what I was going to write. Do you think that this will be sufficient?


    Dear sir/madam

    My name is...

    I am currently in receipt of housing benefit from the council as I am claiming Income Based Jobseekers Allowance. Due to a family emergency I missed my appointment at my local Jobcentre and although I hope to resolve the issue am concerned that the Jobcentre will sanction me for this. This letter is to inform you that if these steps are taken and the DWP contacts you to inform you that I am no longer claiming JSA I am still eligable for, and in need of my housing benefit as I am still unemployed and would ask that you do not shut my benefits claim down as a matter of course.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you need any further information please don't hesistate to contact me on
    .....



    once again thanks to all for your help!!!!
  • bestpud
    • #9
    • 20th Aug 11, 12:02 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Aug 11, 12:02 PM
    Thanks so much for all your help guys, I think I might actually be able to eat something without feeling like vomiting now!! :S

    Just to clarify - the issue didn't seem to be lack of job search on the diary it was providing evidence that what was on the diary was accurate... very strange - it's the first time I've ever been asked for that.

    So I think the plan of action will be to get to the 'out of town' jobcentre at 9AM on Monday and plead my case - take my evidence of Job search and just see what happens.

    In the mean time I'm going to get a letter off to my local council in the next 45 minutes via recorded delivery just explaining the situation. The below is what I was going to write. Do you think that this will be sufficient?


    Dear sir/madam

    My name is...

    I am currently in receipt of housing benefit from the council as I am claiming Income Based Jobseekers Allowance. Due to a family emergency I missed my appointment at my local Jobcentre and although I hope to resolve the issue am concerned that the Jobcentre will sanction me for this. This letter is to inform you that if these steps are taken and the DWP contacts you to inform you that I am no longer claiming JSA I am still eligable for, and in need of my housing benefit as I am still unemployed and would ask that you do not shut my benefits claim down as a matter of course.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you need any further information please don't hesistate to contact me on
    .....



    once again thanks to all for your help!!!!
    Originally posted by moneymattersman
    I'd have said that will do for now. If you do need to reclaim, they will obviously send you the forms so you can do so, but at least you've let made the first step.

    I can't see why you need to re-apply from scratch tbh - what a waste of resources if that is true!
  • HappyMJ
    I'd have said that will do for now. If you do need to reclaim, they will obviously send you the forms so you can do so, but at least you've let made the first step.

    I can't see why you need to re-apply from scratch tbh - what a waste of resources if that is true!
    Originally posted by bestpud
    The council is not informed of the reason a claimant has stopped claiming JSA they are just informed that their client is no longer claiming JSA. The client could have come into several thousand pounds or got a job, baby or anything. The council rely on the DWP's asset and income test for income based JSA so don't ask for it again at that stage unless they are on contributions based JSA. Now the OP is no longer claiming JSA the council want to know why.
  • bestpud
    The council is not informed of the reason a claimant has stopped claiming JSA they are just informed that their client is no longer claiming JSA. The client could have come into several thousand pounds or got a job, baby or anything. The council rely on the DWP's asset and income test for income based JSA so don't ask for it again at that stage unless they are on contributions based JSA. Now the OP is no longer claiming JSA the council want to know why.
    Originally posted by HappyMJ
    Thanks for explaining - that makes sense.

    I guess it depends whether he stops claiming JSA altogether, or just receives a sanction? Would he need to re-apply for HB if he only receives a short sanction?
  • Macro

    If your JSA stops then your housing benefit will stop and you will need to make a new claim for housing benefit to continue receiving it.
    Originally posted by HappyMJ

    Incorrect.

    The council is not informed of the reason a claimant has stopped claiming JSA they are just informed that their client is no longer claiming JSA. The client could have come into several thousand pounds or got a job, baby or anything. The council rely on the DWP's asset and income test for income based JSA so don't ask for it again at that stage unless they are on contributions based JSA. Now the OP is no longer claiming JSA the council want to know why.
    Also incorrect! The LA is told whythe claim has ended and can also call the call centre/BDC for more comprehensive info if they choose.

    OP, if your JSA is merely sanctioned, or suspended then sanctioned, there should be no effect on your housing benefit. Your claim will be adjusted so that the sanctioned period is shown on your claim, but this is merely administrative and will not affect you financially.

    If you JSA ends, your housing benefit will be suspended and the LA will probably write out for proof of income/capital. If you respond to the request within the time frame given, your claim will be reinstated using the info you have provided. Usually that means that the claimant drops a note into the LA stating that they missed signing on/whatever, and they have no other income and are waiting for their JSA reclaim to come through. The LA woud then just reinstate the claim assuming nil income whilst they wait for the JSA to be processed.

    The problem the LA have is when claimants don't keep them informed. I would suggest telephoning the LA/emaiing/writing/all three much as you have done with your letter above, but include that you have no capital/savings and will have no other income should your jobseekers allowance be terminated, and that you will be reclaiming JSA immediately if it is. Include your telephone number so the assessor can call you if they need to clarify anything. Call/email/telephone ASAP every time you have any further info for the LA.
    Last edited by Macro; 20-08-2011 at 12:25 PM.
  • NASA
    There are provisions for signing on at other JCP offices so if you do go to the one local to your dad then they should be able to help you out. I think the form used to be called a JSA90. They would either scan or fax it across to the other JCP responsible for your payment.
  • HappyMJ
    Incorrect.

    Also incorrect! The LA is told whythe claim has ended and can also call the call centre/BDC for more comprehensive info if they choose.

    OP, if your JSA is merely sanctioned, or suspended then sanctioned, there should be no effect on your housing benefit. Your claim will be adjusted so that the sanctioned period is shown on your claim, but this is merely administrative and will not affect you financially.

    If you JSA ends, your housing benefit will be suspended and the LA will probably write out for proof of income/capital. If you respond to the request within the time frame given, your claim will be reinstated using the info you have provided. Usually that means that the claimant drops a note into the LA stating that they missed signing on/whatever, and they have no other income and are waiting for their JSA reclaim to come through. The LA woud then just reinstate the claim assuming nil income whilst they wait for the JSA to be processed.

    The problem the LA have is when claimants don't keep them informed. I would suggest telephoning the LA/emaiing/writing/all three much as you have done with your letter above, but include that you have no capital/savings and will have no other income should your jobseekers allowance be terminated, and that you will be reclaiming JSA immediately if it is. Include your telephone number so the assessor can call you if they need to clarify anything. Call/email/telephone ASAP every time you have any further info for the LA.
    Originally posted by Macro
    Then you need to speak with my council. The 3 times I have stopped claiming JSA my HB has also stopped and I have to reapply for it. The last time it took 8 weeks for the payments to return. I didn't get my HB run-on until I asked for it and I was responding to the council promptly for any information they required. I used the word stopped maybe the word suspended would have been a better word but to me they both mean payments do not drop through the letterbox on a Saturday morning so they both mean stopped.
  • Macro
    Then you need to speak with my council. The 3 times I have stopped claiming JSA my HB has also stopped and I have to reapply for it. The last time it took 8 weeks for the payments to return. I didn't get my HB run-on until I asked for it and I was responding to the council promptly for any information they required. I used the word stopped maybe the word suspended would have been a better word but to me they both mean payments do not drop through the letterbox on a Saturday morning so they both mean stopped.
    Originally posted by HappyMJ
    You would not have had to reapply for HB in the circs you describe, although claimants often do as they misunderstand what is required of them and what is happening to their claims. And although, to you, a suspension might appear to be the same as a termination in that both result in payment stopping, there are very important differences between the two. It is somewhat worrying that you are giving out (incorrect) benefits advice on the basis of your limited anecdotal knowledge, as there could be serious implications for the people you are advising.
  • HappyMJ
    You would not have had to reapply for HB in the circs you describe, although claimants often do as they misunderstand what is required of them and what is happening to their claims. And although, to you, a suspension might appear to be the same as a termination in that both result in payment stopping, there are very important differences between the two. It is somewhat worrying that you are giving out (incorrect) benefits advice on the basis of your limited anecdotal knowledge, as there could be serious implications for the people you are advising.
    Originally posted by Macro
    That doesn't suprise me that claimants don't understand what is required of them as the council can't word a document clearly enough for anyone to understand.

    I am giving my opinion based on real world observations not the pefect world that the council thinks things should happen. All I know is that I stopped signing advising them of no income and no capital. I got a demand from council asking for the last cheque to be repaid ASAP then had to reapply for HB again.
    Last edited by HappyMJ; 20-08-2011 at 1:20 PM.
  • Arg
    When I went to my signing appointment yesterday the lady I saw refused to sign me on because she said my evidence wasn't sufficient for my job search.
    Unless things have changed recently you should still have signed.
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