In a city of zero-hour and temporary contracts, redundancies and a generally cut-throat economic environment,
I guess I’m blessed to have survived for so long without having to resort to claiming government benefits.
I say ‘resort’ because it is stigmatised, despite the fact that we all pay into the system and are therefore entitled to benefit from it if we genuinely find ourselves in need of it.
Having come out of a particularly stressful fixed-term contract, my sights set on establishing my own business,
I came to a place where I needed to ask for some help for a while.
I can say that the experience was nothing short of traumatic and belittling. First of all, I got off to a bad start with my ‘supervisor/work coach/advisor’.
I was affronted by the military approach and the communication document that was given to me – it was littered with the word ‘sanctions’.
In those few moments, I understood perfectly what my business advisor meant,
when she said I needed to get the business going as quickly as possible, and not apply for any benefits because they were a trap.
Universal credits Of course, getting a business off to a booming start immediately is often easier said than done.
Now, here I was, being told that in order to receive any assistance I had to prove,
Universal credits going forward, that I had spent 35 hours each week looking for work – any work, and not a dream job.
Luckily for me, I have no illusions of the existence of anything of the sort.
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