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Simplify the Benefit Process

Comment 24th July 2010

A relative was told his firm has gone into liquidation and was made redundant immediately.  He is married, his wife works part time and they have a young son.  We have been trying to assist in sorting out which benefits he is entitled to whilst looking for another job.  This system is unbelievable.  It assumes a knowledge of the different benefits before you claim. So far, we have looked at the Statutory redundancy forms which he may (or may not) be entitled to from the NI Fund – this is run by the Insolvency Service.  He may also be entitled to Job Seekers Allowance, run by DWP which he can apply for on line.  Alternatively he maybe entitled to Income based Job Seekers Allowance, which he cannot apply for on line.  He may be entitled to help with his mortgage payments (we haven't worked out how to do that one yet).  He maybe entitled to Council Tax Benefit, which is dealt with locally.  He maybe entitled to change in his Child Tax Credit status but we have been trying to get through on the helpline for 3 hours since 8.15 this morning and all we are getting is 'I'm sorry all our lines are busy, please try again later'. No answer machine, no call back service. 

The Job Centre only deals with JSA, cannot deal with any other benefit and all the benefits have different areas in the Gov website and different helplines.

This is insanity.  There should be a centralised helpline, a streamlining of the process and the Job Centres role should be opened out to encorporate all areas of the benefit system.  No department appears to talk to each other and all are run under individual budgets.  Surely an amalgamation of the helplines and benefits system would save money and make things easier for the people who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs due to the credit crunch and are wanting to go back to work with immediate effect.

Why does this matter?

It will make it easier for everyone, Less complication within the Government departments, more streamlining, better trained staff, speeding up of the process and most importantly for us tax payers, it should be cheaper.

For the people who are unfortunately put into this situation of having to claim benefit through no fault of their own it is so much simpler and ensures that they get the benefits they are entitled to.

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