Having had no news yet about our claim I thought I’d muse about the benefit trap I’m finding so hard to get out of.
I have been gearing myself up to be employable for a few years now by doing various courses to better qualify me for work. However whilst I’m doing this the Governments keep moving the goalposts, making it more difficult each time they do. I would ideally want to combine working with what I consider the important role of being a mum. Yes my younger children are both growing up now but they do still need my input, and as it is me who has to deal with their problems (due to my partner’s illness he just isn’t very good at coping with this). Since the government has changed the rules around working tax credit I feel I will struggle with this as possibly I will have to find 2 jobs in order to get the required hours. I know many mums do work full-time and that’s their choice but I do believe that many of societies problems today are due to the downgrading of the importance of bringing up children. If you had to pay someone to do this job it would cost a lot of money. Many mums are forced to work to keep families afloat, and children are given material possessions to appease the guilt that is felt about not having enough time to spend with them. My children have never had this material affluence but they have had someone there for them when they’ve needed them. In turn they’ve grown into valuable members of society and all those of working age have jobs. I don’t regret not having worked full-time, although I would perhaps have worked part-time from when they were school age if I had been able to find work to fit in with school hours again not an easy task. I was however never given any advise on the fact that if I was to work we could claim WTC and believed that I needed to work full-time and this wasn’t possible due to my partner’s illness. Even when my partner was working the pay was so poor we were forced to claim benefits to be able to pay our bills because of the poor pay. The only way we would have avoided this was for us both to work full-time. So again back to mum being undervalued.
The same is still true now because of the employment situation and the fact I haven’t worked for a long time, haven’t got the relevant certificates needed these days and until my children are a little older want to work part-time, (I would still not be comfortable leaving children alone with partner for long periods of time) I will still need to claim some sort of benefit. As I am not the claimant at the moment there is no help for me, I have asked on a number of occasions but unless I turn to drink or drugs no one wants to know. So everything I have done has been done alone. Any help I have had to complete any courses has been sought out by me. Not everyone has the motivation to do this – more help should be available. You shouldn’t have to fight for all the information at a time when you are vulnerable -it should be out there. It’s a sorry state when even the DWP aren’t clued about how to help their claimants or their partners to get out of their dire situation.
Instead of the past Labour government cozying up to business making it easy for them to pay a poor wage which could then be topped up in benefits they should have been promoting a fair wage for work so that no one in full-time work needed to be propped up by the state. But then we wouldn’t have been grateful to them for their handouts would we? Unfortunately it is a fact of life that in some cases a poorly paid job when you take into account travel costs, loss of free school meals etc works out to be less than JSA for some people. Although the work ethic is to be applauded it doesn’t put food on the table and after all for those in low paid work this is why they work isn’t it?