An extra instalment for your perusal. Incandescent does not even begin to do justice to my state of agitation and disbelief.

I have just been to sign-on. I explained, with some pleasure, that I had succeeded at last in getting a job to start in the New Year. I was told, as I had indeed expected, that if I wanted to continue to receive my NI credits I would need to continue signing-on until the new job actually started. A minor inconvenience, but rules is rules. Then the bombshell. An interview has been arranged for me with a careers advisor next week. This, I was told, is in order for me to receive advice on how to go about getting a job. I feel the need for a verbatim record of the exchange.

“Oh, well that’s kind. But obviously it would be a silly waste of everyone’s time in the circumstances, wouldn’t it?”

“Well, you still have to come.”

“But why? What use will it be for me, or for you?”

“I’m sorry, but you have to come to see the advisor, and if you refuse you will have your benefit stopped.”

“But you don’t pay me any benefit! We’ve been here before.” (See an earlier post for details.)

“We give you NI credits, so you have to come.”

“How much is it costing for me to have to come – not even at my normal signing-on time – to see an advisor for advice I palpably don’t need.”

“That’s not the point.”

“But it is the point. That’s why unemployment costs us all so much. Why can’t you use your common sense, and realise that in these circumstances what you are asking me to do is silly, and a waste of time and money.”

“There’s no need to be aggressive.”

“You think that’s aggressive? It’s aggressive for me to ask you to use your intelligence?”

“I’ll ask my manager if an exception can be made.”

“Thank you.”

A slight pause.

“No, you have to come because the regulations say you must.”

“Could you please raise my concern and incredulity formally in some way. It’s not acceptable for you to hide behind rules that defy simple common sense!”

“You’ve made your point several times, sir, and I must now ask you to leave.”

“Will you convey my frustration and dismay?”

“Please leave now, or I will have to call the security guard.”

I think my blood pressure has returned to normal now, but my sense of frustration remains as potent as ever. What a load of fatuous bollocks.


5 thoughts on “Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!

  1. I had a similar experience at the opticians. They had a deal where you get half price glasses if you order contact lenses as well- I have no interest in wearing contacts, but took advantage as it lowered the price of my glasses.

    I ended up having to leave work early one day to go in and have a “contact lens teach” with an optician, who was no doubt paid a substantial amount- this after I had received my first set of contact lenses (delivered to the opticians as they couldn’t let me have them without the teach) and CANCELLED MY DIRECT DEBIT TO RECEIVE ANY MORE. And repeatedly talked about how I had no intention of ever wearing contacts throughout said teach. Still, saved me a few hundred pounds, but what a ludicrous set of hoops to jump through.

  2. Bugger. I’ve arrived on this blog six months too late. There is a solution to this, which is to pay your own sodding NI. You can make voluntary class 3 contributions to top up your NiC level, any time you like. It does require some faffing, form-filling and calling your tax office, but it’s far preferable to the hassle of the dreaded JCP. It’s how women who’ve had a few years off work for children “make up” their contributions to state pension level.

    I went to sign on back in March, and after about eight weeks faffing around they told me I wasn’t eligible for income-based or contributions-based benefit (I’d been self-employed and self-employed contributions don’t count – hollow laughter), but that I should still sign on to get my NICs paid. I told them where they could stuff them (as it happens, I pay self-employed NICs by direct debit anyway, but if I didn’t, the Class 3 option would have been fine).

    I knew all this because I was once a tax advisor, but for some unaccountable reason JCP keeps it quiet. You’d almost think they liked feeding innocent people into their giant system and stomping around on their self-respect, wouldn’t you…

    • Many thanks for your detailed advice even if, as you say, it’s 6 months too late for me. But I’m sure that there will be other visitors here who’ll find your observations helpful.

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