It is all change here again.
The husband has found a job. I still haven't. It isn't a full-time job but it is just enough hours to get a little bit in terms of Working Tax Credits (although given how much they overpaid us last year I am not sure how much).
We have only been getting full benefits for a couple of months, we waited until I had been out of a job myself for a month because, you know, no one really wants to have to ask for help to support their family. At least most people want to support themselves despite what the Daily Mail *spits* would have you believe. We waited until we were down to pennies in the bank and my aunt gave me a stern talking to, including an apology that she couldn't help, not that we were asking for her to!
So now he has a job. We are chuffed by this.
So today we spent hours on the telephone calling the various agencies; HMRC, the Job Centre, the Council.
The husband needs some money in order to be able to travel to work, whether by bus or by getting his bicycle repaired so he can cycle, it is too far to walk, especially when you consider at least once, maybe twice a week he will be on a split shift, such is the hospitality industry.
So imagine our surprise when he was told that his final JSA payment could take up to a week to be awarded. Granted, we got one last week so the next one is not due for a week anyway but we are crap with money so we shop for food and all other necessities on a fortnightly basis. Basically, if we have money in the bank account, we are likely to spend it. So our bills, food, nappies (for H obviously, not us) are bought and paid for once the JSA comes in. Not that all the bills are covered by it but that is another post entirely. A couple of calls and hours of pleading later and they have agreed to fast track it. *relief*
Another surprise came when I called the council to inform them of our change in circumstances. I understand they have to suspend our housing benefit claim until we can show proof of the husband's earnings. I understand that will slow things down, what with him being paid four-weekly in arrears and the housing benefit being paid fortnightly in arrears. What I don't understand is this new revelation. Apparently, if we had been claiming for over six months they would continue paying our housing benefit for a further six weeks?! I don't really understand that, it kind of feels like we are being punished for the husband getting a job?
Our only hope for the next 4 weeks until he gets paid is that somehow the tax credits, along with the housing benefit arrears we are owed will be enough to cover the rent and all the other things we need to live on but somehow I doubt it!
We hated being on benefits, it really is not a pleasant feeling for us, nor for the vast majority but you know, actually, I am beginning to understand what is referred to as the "Benefit Trap" and that is without having to come up with the ridiculous childcare fees in advance (which we will have to try to find if I ever manage to find a job myself).
*Disclaimer* I would like to assure you dear reader I am eternally grateful for the welfare system we have and wouldn't be so naive to think that there can ever be a perfect system but my goodness it is slightly screwed at the moment!