It has been Ann’s first week as part of the unemployed ranks – and boy, does the State like its red-tape or what!

It started on Monday when Ann thought she’d ring the Employment Office to check her eligibility for Job Seeker’s Allowance – she wasn’t expecting to get anything, but it was worth a try!

Stage 1 (Monday) started with the long drawn-out telephone interview from the Job Centre lasting almost thirty-minutes. They wanted to know everything about Ann AND about me too. Interestingly, they also wanted MY national insurance number.

Stage 2 (Wednesday) consisted of a ‘WFI’ – a Work Focused Interview face-to-face at the Job Centre in Kettering. Actually it was a complete waste of time as they clearly weren’t geared-up to someone with Ann’s experience. Ann learned that she was eligible for some financial aid – the Job-Seekers’ Allowance and the rules associated with it were carefully explained. She even had time to explain to the person who interviewed her how to look-up jobs on the Guardian (newspaper) web-site! (because they’;d never heard of it) 

The mystery of their request for my National Insurance number was revealed – it was all part of the computation of Ann’s eligibility. Shame then that they wrote my number down incorrectly when they confirmed that Ann was living with a 80+ year old geriatric, with a completely different name. Go figure!

Stage 3 (Friday) involved the first visit by Ann to the Job Centre to officially ‘sign-on’. Even though it is technically means-tested the 12 year-old who interviewed her confirmed that she will get £64.30 per week, paid by BACs every two weeks. Ann will be paid on Fridays and will be regularly interrogated, interviewed, to ensure she is actually seeking work. She has been reminded that if she can’t prove she has been looking, they’ll take the Allowance away.

Any comments?