Unemployment - why it’s ok to sign on and get benefits.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Spending the whole day at home with nothing to do, is the dream for some people. Lounging about the house with no real plans and nowhere to be, it sounds great doesn’t it?

But spending all day at home because you have no job to go to is not luxurious and can be monotonous.

Recently I found myself without work, unemployed for the first time in my life. Never before had I realised how many hours there are in the day and how quick I tire of binge watching shows on Netflix.

Throughout my life, I have always jumped from job to job with ease with only a couple of weeks without out work, usually spent job hunting. However after a career change, I am no longer looking for jobs in sales which come a dime a dozen, instead focusing on getting a job I am passionate about. Hunting for my perfect job has caused a much longer period of unemployment than I am used to or comfortable with. The over-achiever in me will have to get used to this new reality.

Although the employment rate is at its lowest level since the 1970s, there are currently 1.36 million people in the UK without a job - just like me!

In the media unemployment is constantly portrayed as a joke. Characters who are unemployed in Films and TV shows are typically the family failure and seen as lazy. To add to this newspapers hate on benefit claimants, reporting they are thieves always claiming more than they are entitled to. Very few positive portrayals of unemployment in the media lead to large stigmas in society. People are scared to admit they are unemployed and fear the shame of claiming benefits.

Stigmas against the unemployed lead to hiring bias, drastically reducing the chances of being employed after a period of unemployment. Studies show that regardless of reasons for leaving a job, voluntarily or uncontrollable (i.e. laid off/ redundancy) the stigma remains the same.

Despite how most of society and the media feels about being unemployed and signing on, benefits aren’t in fact a waste of governments money but actually help members of the public. Without the government system many people would struggle to live and would lose their home or starve or in the extreme cause, lose their life.

There are many different types of benefits available to the unemployed covering a variety of needs. Benefit calculators help gain an idea of what benefits can be expected before signing on.

Job Seekers Allowance helps support people who are are actively seeking work. As soon as you have lost your job, you are able to apply for Job Seekers Allowance and begin claiming benefits whilst you seek future employment. It is very easy to sign on and begin receiving benefits. Simply check your eligibility on the government's website, make a claim and go to an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Introduced by the government to simplify working-age benefits, Universal Credit is replacing 6 other benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, with a single payment once a month. It is being introduced in stages across the country to help with living costs.

Did you know you don’t have to be unemployed to receive benefits? Child care benefits are available to all parents, not just those without work. There are also benefits available to those with low-incomes. So even if you are in full-time employment, if you’re struggling - there is help available.

Millions of pounds of benefits are missed out on every year, because people aren’t aware that they are entitled to them, or are too ashamed to claim. There is no shame in receiving the help that is there for you!

By Hannah Alex Moody

Hannah is a Travel blogger born in London and now based in Norwich. Previously working solely for one of the leading volunteer abroad companies, she has recently decided to go freelance, working on sharing her love for all things travel with real-life experiences. You can find her online on her blog: Twenty Six O Two and also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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