Remove restrictions on the unemployed doing voluntary work and claiming benefit.

When I was looking for work and found some unpaid voluntary work I was told that I couldn't also claim unemployment benefit because if I was doing voluntary work then I wasn't in a position to accept a job if it came up. In actual fact gaining skills through volunteering is a great way of getting the necessary experience required for a job. It benefits the community and means that an individual is not sitting at home wondering what to do. I doubt that by sitting at home passively I would have got any kind of job. My suggestion is that the law be changed to encourage people to get involved in voluntary work while they are waiting for paid work to come along.

Why is this idea important?

When I was looking for work and found some unpaid voluntary work I was told that I couldn't also claim unemployment benefit because if I was doing voluntary work then I wasn't in a position to accept a job if it came up. In actual fact gaining skills through volunteering is a great way of getting the necessary experience required for a job. It benefits the community and means that an individual is not sitting at home wondering what to do. I doubt that by sitting at home passively I would have got any kind of job. My suggestion is that the law be changed to encourage people to get involved in voluntary work while they are waiting for paid work to come along.

Benefits Proposal

1. The maximum amount of benefit should never exceed 55% percent the average National salary which is currently approx 26K (pre tax) apart from incapacity benefit which would be a top up (means tested ) and child benefit but this would be capped.

2. Child benefit should not all be cash but should include vouchers for School clothes and School dinners.

3. People should be able work for up to 20 hours per week to top up their benefit without fear of losing it completely , which would not only add money and tax into the economy but would also help in training people and getting them off benefit completely.

4. People should be offered subisded public transport to assist them when working or looking for work.

5. Benefits should be dreased over a period of time at intervals so the incentive is to contine working.

6. Housing benefit should also only be for a period of time and then it's incorpated in to the main benefits so people don't just assume their given right for free housing for the rest of their lives.

7. People moving from 20 hours per week to full time employment would get a lump sum …to help with the transition of coming off benefits. They would still recieve subsided public transport for a given time.

8. People on benefits not actively looking for jobs, going for interivews and not taking jobs without a good reason would have benefits penalised for a period of time.

9. Child Benefit should only cover the first 3 children up to the age of 13. Any more kids thereafter should be the parents responsibilty.

10. Immigrants should only be entitled to the basic benefit and not as much as fully fledged citizens but ideally I would like us to follow our European neighbours whereby you can't claim them for 6 months. In Return ,they should be given temporary NI Cards and allowed to work until their application is processed.

Why is this idea important?

1. The maximum amount of benefit should never exceed 55% percent the average National salary which is currently approx 26K (pre tax) apart from incapacity benefit which would be a top up (means tested ) and child benefit but this would be capped.

2. Child benefit should not all be cash but should include vouchers for School clothes and School dinners.

3. People should be able work for up to 20 hours per week to top up their benefit without fear of losing it completely , which would not only add money and tax into the economy but would also help in training people and getting them off benefit completely.

4. People should be offered subisded public transport to assist them when working or looking for work.

5. Benefits should be dreased over a period of time at intervals so the incentive is to contine working.

6. Housing benefit should also only be for a period of time and then it's incorpated in to the main benefits so people don't just assume their given right for free housing for the rest of their lives.

7. People moving from 20 hours per week to full time employment would get a lump sum …to help with the transition of coming off benefits. They would still recieve subsided public transport for a given time.

8. People on benefits not actively looking for jobs, going for interivews and not taking jobs without a good reason would have benefits penalised for a period of time.

9. Child Benefit should only cover the first 3 children up to the age of 13. Any more kids thereafter should be the parents responsibilty.

10. Immigrants should only be entitled to the basic benefit and not as much as fully fledged citizens but ideally I would like us to follow our European neighbours whereby you can't claim them for 6 months. In Return ,they should be given temporary NI Cards and allowed to work until their application is processed.

Requirements for acceptance in Disability Allowance

I am very upset regarding the new ideas you have on deciding, who should be eligible for this allowance!

Having been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, some 8/9 years ago, I was told this illness is regarded as a Disability, which to be honest is an understatement, as anyone with the condition will verify!

Secondly, I was in need of surgery on the cervical spine, discs 6/7 were removed and 2 steel plates inserted, a major operation which has taken me 2 years to recuperate from, plus another on levels 3/4, in 2008!

Whilst I fully appreciate the fact that this disability may be in need of closer inspections, I have had my income reduced greatly, my health has suffered greatly, by the stress I have been put under, because of a vast drop in our income, and I want to know, how am I expected to survive, when i am too ill to work!

Who decides the criteria and I think it needs more experienced people with the actual disabilities to know the pitfalls we face, and what can and cannot be achieved, not just some person on a desk job, playing God!

Why is this idea important?

I am very upset regarding the new ideas you have on deciding, who should be eligible for this allowance!

Having been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, some 8/9 years ago, I was told this illness is regarded as a Disability, which to be honest is an understatement, as anyone with the condition will verify!

Secondly, I was in need of surgery on the cervical spine, discs 6/7 were removed and 2 steel plates inserted, a major operation which has taken me 2 years to recuperate from, plus another on levels 3/4, in 2008!

Whilst I fully appreciate the fact that this disability may be in need of closer inspections, I have had my income reduced greatly, my health has suffered greatly, by the stress I have been put under, because of a vast drop in our income, and I want to know, how am I expected to survive, when i am too ill to work!

Who decides the criteria and I think it needs more experienced people with the actual disabilities to know the pitfalls we face, and what can and cannot be achieved, not just some person on a desk job, playing God!

Reform of the unfair method used to calculate assumed income applied to savings

For claimants on means tested benefits there is a threshold beyond which savings effect allowance.  This begins at £6,000.  The maximum allowed is £16,000.  Regardless of how much money is actually received, the assumed income from savings is calculated at £1 a week for every £250 (or part thereof) of capital above the £6,000 lower threshold or £2 for anyone on pension credit.  This gives a notional interest rate of 20.8% for anyone not entitled to pension credit.  When has any bank ever paid an interest rate of 20%?  On the upper limit of savings this would give net annual income from interest of £3328 or £64 a week on the full £16,000 or £2080 (£40/week) on the £10,000.

OK there comes a point where savings are of such a level that interest payments go way beyond the benefit entitlement.  And the goverment is not in the business of providing a legacy but it doesn't take very long to get through £10,000 at today's prices and they are, in effect, willing to pay in retrospect for the spendthrift's foreign holidays and sky TV channels.  Why then punish those who have made the effort?

I know that it isn't that long since the figures were revised but that revision didn't go far enough.  There needs to be better correlation between actual and assumed income.  The problem of basing the calculation on actual income would come, of course, from the various and variable interest rates available.  However, using the basic (or even the highest) rate paid by the National Savings Bank – or even the highest paid by the high street banks (currently 6% for the top ISA) as of the beginning of the financial year, would at least allow those responsible citizens gleen some benefit from their husbandry.

Why is this idea important?

For claimants on means tested benefits there is a threshold beyond which savings effect allowance.  This begins at £6,000.  The maximum allowed is £16,000.  Regardless of how much money is actually received, the assumed income from savings is calculated at £1 a week for every £250 (or part thereof) of capital above the £6,000 lower threshold or £2 for anyone on pension credit.  This gives a notional interest rate of 20.8% for anyone not entitled to pension credit.  When has any bank ever paid an interest rate of 20%?  On the upper limit of savings this would give net annual income from interest of £3328 or £64 a week on the full £16,000 or £2080 (£40/week) on the £10,000.

OK there comes a point where savings are of such a level that interest payments go way beyond the benefit entitlement.  And the goverment is not in the business of providing a legacy but it doesn't take very long to get through £10,000 at today's prices and they are, in effect, willing to pay in retrospect for the spendthrift's foreign holidays and sky TV channels.  Why then punish those who have made the effort?

I know that it isn't that long since the figures were revised but that revision didn't go far enough.  There needs to be better correlation between actual and assumed income.  The problem of basing the calculation on actual income would come, of course, from the various and variable interest rates available.  However, using the basic (or even the highest) rate paid by the National Savings Bank – or even the highest paid by the high street banks (currently 6% for the top ISA) as of the beginning of the financial year, would at least allow those responsible citizens gleen some benefit from their husbandry.

Increase back to work benefit incentives to 8 weeks rather than the current 4.

Currently the DWP offer a back to work incentrive of 4 weeks full benefit payable to benefit claimants returning to work after 26 weeks on a means tested benefit i.e Job Seekers Allowance/ Income Support.

By raising the incentive to 8 weeks extra full benefit there would be more of an incentive for people to try returning to work and offering a financial buffer until the other benefit adjustments and emergency tax in their pay packet can be finalised.

Why is this idea important?

Currently the DWP offer a back to work incentrive of 4 weeks full benefit payable to benefit claimants returning to work after 26 weeks on a means tested benefit i.e Job Seekers Allowance/ Income Support.

By raising the incentive to 8 weeks extra full benefit there would be more of an incentive for people to try returning to work and offering a financial buffer until the other benefit adjustments and emergency tax in their pay packet can be finalised.

Disability Living Allowance – a very real scenario

I get DLA, as i am GENUINELY DISABLED, spina bifida, wheelchair user. I get higher rate mobility componant and the middle rate care componant of DLA.

I am currently unemployed but want to work, But, if i get a job or have to have the DLA medical (which by the way i agree with IF IT IS FAIR) then the following scenario occurring is a very real possibility

If i get a job, the only way i can INDEPENDENTLY (very important) get there is by the use of a motability car, dont give me all that public transport rubbish, it is barely accessible for a wheelchairer, my own car is the only real way. and that car is only available to higher rate mobility claiments like me,lower rate doesnt qualify you.

but, if i get a job and then i have the medical, or a review of my DLA because i got a job and i lose DLA (a very possible outcome with these medicals) or it is lowered to, as i say, lower rate mobility, i would then have to give up the motability car, which means i couldnt get to work, which means i lose my job, which means im back on benefits, paid for by the tax payer and pushing up the national debt again..

and please dont say 'buy a car like the rest of us then' i could never afford to, with the higher cost of living i already have as a disabled person,(wheelchairs and other disability/mobility equipment) a motability car really helps. thats another reason genuine claiments must not lose their DLA, the care componant helps with the cost of equipment and care needs.

I genuinely really want to work, got things i want to do, and a bad decision WILL cause the kind of situation ive used as an example to happen, IT CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

I understand the need for medicals, we do need to weed out the scroungers with the aching backs and sore toes and lazyitis, but if these medicals are done wrong the situation ive outlined above could happen to many thousands of genuine claiments.

You have to make sure it doesnt happen. 

Why is this idea important?

I get DLA, as i am GENUINELY DISABLED, spina bifida, wheelchair user. I get higher rate mobility componant and the middle rate care componant of DLA.

I am currently unemployed but want to work, But, if i get a job or have to have the DLA medical (which by the way i agree with IF IT IS FAIR) then the following scenario occurring is a very real possibility

If i get a job, the only way i can INDEPENDENTLY (very important) get there is by the use of a motability car, dont give me all that public transport rubbish, it is barely accessible for a wheelchairer, my own car is the only real way. and that car is only available to higher rate mobility claiments like me,lower rate doesnt qualify you.

but, if i get a job and then i have the medical, or a review of my DLA because i got a job and i lose DLA (a very possible outcome with these medicals) or it is lowered to, as i say, lower rate mobility, i would then have to give up the motability car, which means i couldnt get to work, which means i lose my job, which means im back on benefits, paid for by the tax payer and pushing up the national debt again..

and please dont say 'buy a car like the rest of us then' i could never afford to, with the higher cost of living i already have as a disabled person,(wheelchairs and other disability/mobility equipment) a motability car really helps. thats another reason genuine claiments must not lose their DLA, the care componant helps with the cost of equipment and care needs.

I genuinely really want to work, got things i want to do, and a bad decision WILL cause the kind of situation ive used as an example to happen, IT CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

I understand the need for medicals, we do need to weed out the scroungers with the aching backs and sore toes and lazyitis, but if these medicals are done wrong the situation ive outlined above could happen to many thousands of genuine claiments.

You have to make sure it doesnt happen. 

Issue a Card for Benefits (no Cash)

The government could do a deal with a major credit card company to supply all benefit claiments with a card. This card could be set to not allow purchases of alcohol or tobacco (or any other goods deemed unsuitable). The acceptance of the cards could be limited to specific companies that have tendered for the supply of benefit goods.

  The right to accept benefit cards could be put out to tender ( as all other Government supply contracts are) and a selection of National and local stores become approved suppliers in a framework agreement. The contracts would be huge and a real discount could be negotiated from the retail prices in the stores.

Why is this idea important?

The government could do a deal with a major credit card company to supply all benefit claiments with a card. This card could be set to not allow purchases of alcohol or tobacco (or any other goods deemed unsuitable). The acceptance of the cards could be limited to specific companies that have tendered for the supply of benefit goods.

  The right to accept benefit cards could be put out to tender ( as all other Government supply contracts are) and a selection of National and local stores become approved suppliers in a framework agreement. The contracts would be huge and a real discount could be negotiated from the retail prices in the stores.

Child benefit

Child benefit should only be given for the first 2 or 3 children. Any more and the parents need to support their children without any state benefit for the ones that follow. The money thus saved should be used to provide free school meals for all children, irrespective of their financial background or family's resident status in the UK.

Why is this idea important?

Child benefit should only be given for the first 2 or 3 children. Any more and the parents need to support their children without any state benefit for the ones that follow. The money thus saved should be used to provide free school meals for all children, irrespective of their financial background or family's resident status in the UK.

Quid pro quo for those willing to work

At present due to the benefit system -some passporting benefits if one is contemplating returning to work/should return to work are taken away to the disadvantage of the benefit claimant. Take single mothers for example, the cost of child care and loss of income support is greater than their new income –  Usually part-time wage and working tax credit so there is no reason to go back to work. This should be changed. A system where those on benefits will financially be the same should they start work should be introduced. This does not necessarily mean freezing benefits such as Child Tax Credit! It should be looked at from the other angle – i.e bolster the wages to initially meet current levels of benefits for a certain period. After this, in order to make the savings to the public purse, an incremental reduction to this top up should be considered as the new worker settles into work. Or alternative take away some mandatory/ generic expenses which people returning to work might incur. For example, pay something towards their travel expenses or child care for a certain period.

Why is this idea important?

At present due to the benefit system -some passporting benefits if one is contemplating returning to work/should return to work are taken away to the disadvantage of the benefit claimant. Take single mothers for example, the cost of child care and loss of income support is greater than their new income –  Usually part-time wage and working tax credit so there is no reason to go back to work. This should be changed. A system where those on benefits will financially be the same should they start work should be introduced. This does not necessarily mean freezing benefits such as Child Tax Credit! It should be looked at from the other angle – i.e bolster the wages to initially meet current levels of benefits for a certain period. After this, in order to make the savings to the public purse, an incremental reduction to this top up should be considered as the new worker settles into work. Or alternative take away some mandatory/ generic expenses which people returning to work might incur. For example, pay something towards their travel expenses or child care for a certain period.

Children Benefit being sent home by foreigners

I don't think it's fair that Child Benefit can be claimed by EU nationals and sent home to their country for children that don't even live here. What makes it worse, is that they need little proof if any of how many children they have and the amount of money claimed is more than the child benefit they would recieve in their own country.

Why is this idea important?

I don't think it's fair that Child Benefit can be claimed by EU nationals and sent home to their country for children that don't even live here. What makes it worse, is that they need little proof if any of how many children they have and the amount of money claimed is more than the child benefit they would recieve in their own country.

Child Tax Credit Repeal/Reform

The Child Tax Credit was initiated following WWII as an incentive for families to have more children and repopulate the nation.  This is no longer a relevant issue, and the cost of providing this benefit is significant for taxpayers.  It needs to be phased out. 

If we are not willing to get rid of the "tax credit", it needs to be reformed into a true welfare benefit: Currently, eligibility for the Child Tax Credit requires that applicants disclose income from paid employment, but specifically excludes disclosure of maintenance payments and other benefits (housing, automobile, etc) that are provided by a former spouse.  As maintenance is a form of income, it needs to be considered in determining eligibility for the Child Tax Credit.

Further, if this is meant to be a "tax credit", it needs to be linked to the actual tax payer rather than the primary caregiver of children.  Maintenance payments and other benefits are typically provided on a post-tax basis, such that payments under the Child Tax Credit system are not "tax credits" but benefits.  These benefits are not need based, as previously mentioned.

Why is this idea important?

The Child Tax Credit was initiated following WWII as an incentive for families to have more children and repopulate the nation.  This is no longer a relevant issue, and the cost of providing this benefit is significant for taxpayers.  It needs to be phased out. 

If we are not willing to get rid of the "tax credit", it needs to be reformed into a true welfare benefit: Currently, eligibility for the Child Tax Credit requires that applicants disclose income from paid employment, but specifically excludes disclosure of maintenance payments and other benefits (housing, automobile, etc) that are provided by a former spouse.  As maintenance is a form of income, it needs to be considered in determining eligibility for the Child Tax Credit.

Further, if this is meant to be a "tax credit", it needs to be linked to the actual tax payer rather than the primary caregiver of children.  Maintenance payments and other benefits are typically provided on a post-tax basis, such that payments under the Child Tax Credit system are not "tax credits" but benefits.  These benefits are not need based, as previously mentioned.

Benefits shouldn’t be a LifeStyle Choice

There are currently about 50 different types of benefits people can claim. The current system is so flawed and open to abuse that the people who really need it , don't get enough and the people who don't , play the system and get more.

In alot of cases, The average family living on benefits has more disposable per month than the average working person. They also get housing, no council tax and all the other goodies thrown in.

My proposal :

1 – There should be a cap on the maximum amount any person can claim.

2 – Anyone claiming benefit must do x number of hours per week community work to get the entitlement. Alternatively , they can attend apprentership classes in order to claim it. No turn up…no money.

3 – When going for interviews , use Feedback from potential employers to see whether the applicant was genuine in trying to get a job or being rude so they don't get the job and stay on benefits. This can help determine whether their benefit should be cut.

4 – Having more kids shouldn't be a god given right for a bigger house and more money. If you can't afford kids, then don't have them. Why should the tax payer always pick up your bill !.

5 –  Child Benefit should either be for the first 2 kids only or only up until the age of 13.

6 – We should create zones because Job Seekers allowance would be more needed in areas where there is genuinely no work and more help should be given to the people here to find jobs. People in bad zones whereby there is no jobs, should get the help more than those in areas where the jobs are there, but people just wont do them.

7, In good zones – Job seekers allowance should be cut after a period of time extending to nothing at all if the applicant is blatantly not looking for work. 

8 – I was pleased to see the tax threashold go up but I think it needs to be more like 12K tax free or people just won't come off benefits.

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

There are currently about 50 different types of benefits people can claim. The current system is so flawed and open to abuse that the people who really need it , don't get enough and the people who don't , play the system and get more.

In alot of cases, The average family living on benefits has more disposable per month than the average working person. They also get housing, no council tax and all the other goodies thrown in.

My proposal :

1 – There should be a cap on the maximum amount any person can claim.

2 – Anyone claiming benefit must do x number of hours per week community work to get the entitlement. Alternatively , they can attend apprentership classes in order to claim it. No turn up…no money.

3 – When going for interviews , use Feedback from potential employers to see whether the applicant was genuine in trying to get a job or being rude so they don't get the job and stay on benefits. This can help determine whether their benefit should be cut.

4 – Having more kids shouldn't be a god given right for a bigger house and more money. If you can't afford kids, then don't have them. Why should the tax payer always pick up your bill !.

5 –  Child Benefit should either be for the first 2 kids only or only up until the age of 13.

6 – We should create zones because Job Seekers allowance would be more needed in areas where there is genuinely no work and more help should be given to the people here to find jobs. People in bad zones whereby there is no jobs, should get the help more than those in areas where the jobs are there, but people just wont do them.

7, In good zones – Job seekers allowance should be cut after a period of time extending to nothing at all if the applicant is blatantly not looking for work. 

8 – I was pleased to see the tax threashold go up but I think it needs to be more like 12K tax free or people just won't come off benefits.

 

 

 

Cost duplication re Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits

It seems to me that there is a duplication in cost, regulations and administration for the Child Benefit payments and the other Child Tax Credit element.  Could not the Child Benefit be dealt with just as effectively alongside the Child Tax Credit element? 

To have a high level of income should exclude Child Benefit payments making more available for those most in need.  It could then be dealt with as an addition to the Child Tax Credit element.  All the income figures are available at this source………… Have one department instead of one……………?

For those who do not qualify for the Working Families Tax Credit System surely this could be incorporated into other benefits received.

To simplify the system by reducing red tape and duplication would save costs and make it easier for those who need to jump through the various hoops to claim. 

 

Why is this idea important?

It seems to me that there is a duplication in cost, regulations and administration for the Child Benefit payments and the other Child Tax Credit element.  Could not the Child Benefit be dealt with just as effectively alongside the Child Tax Credit element? 

To have a high level of income should exclude Child Benefit payments making more available for those most in need.  It could then be dealt with as an addition to the Child Tax Credit element.  All the income figures are available at this source………… Have one department instead of one……………?

For those who do not qualify for the Working Families Tax Credit System surely this could be incorporated into other benefits received.

To simplify the system by reducing red tape and duplication would save costs and make it easier for those who need to jump through the various hoops to claim. 

 

Workfare

Unemployment can be very depressing especially when there is a large decline in job vacancies. It must be time that unemployment benefit should only be given to those who work for their communites otherwise you don't receive anything.

Why is this idea important?

Unemployment can be very depressing especially when there is a large decline in job vacancies. It must be time that unemployment benefit should only be given to those who work for their communites otherwise you don't receive anything.

Welfare reform: Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit

Certain regulations within the current framework are completely non-sensical (if one's primary goal is to save money from the welfare budget).

 

Take for example the case of a 'non-dependent' adult residing with immediate family.

Should said family be in receipt of benefits themselves they are penalised by a sum of, if I recall correctly, not less than £10 per week, per person for a 'non-dependent' on nil income to the minimum guaranteed by JSA, and raising thereafter in line with the non-dependent's earnings (if working) (link)

Similarly, even if they would be otherwise eligble, said 'non-dependent' is treated as 'dependent' (i.e. living as part of the family) for the purposes of housing benefit, and is inelligible to receive assistance with their lodgings.

This is both blatantly unfair and, given the alternative (i.e. paying benefit to the host family and paying benefit to the 'non-dependent' in his/her own accomodation) financially unsound.

Rather than penalise parents, for example, who's adult children can't afford anything on the private market and would be inelligible for council housing (leave the parental home, you've made yourself 'deliberately homeless') I would call for the host family to be rewarded for saving the council hundreds of pounds in benefits payements every week!

For working non-dependents who would otherwise be eligible for housing benefit: remove the penalty from the host family.

For unemployed non-dependents, remove the penalty and reward them with a portion (10%?) of the applicable single room rate (or a flat amount).

Why is this idea important?

Certain regulations within the current framework are completely non-sensical (if one's primary goal is to save money from the welfare budget).

 

Take for example the case of a 'non-dependent' adult residing with immediate family.

Should said family be in receipt of benefits themselves they are penalised by a sum of, if I recall correctly, not less than £10 per week, per person for a 'non-dependent' on nil income to the minimum guaranteed by JSA, and raising thereafter in line with the non-dependent's earnings (if working) (link)

Similarly, even if they would be otherwise eligble, said 'non-dependent' is treated as 'dependent' (i.e. living as part of the family) for the purposes of housing benefit, and is inelligible to receive assistance with their lodgings.

This is both blatantly unfair and, given the alternative (i.e. paying benefit to the host family and paying benefit to the 'non-dependent' in his/her own accomodation) financially unsound.

Rather than penalise parents, for example, who's adult children can't afford anything on the private market and would be inelligible for council housing (leave the parental home, you've made yourself 'deliberately homeless') I would call for the host family to be rewarded for saving the council hundreds of pounds in benefits payements every week!

For working non-dependents who would otherwise be eligible for housing benefit: remove the penalty from the host family.

For unemployed non-dependents, remove the penalty and reward them with a portion (10%?) of the applicable single room rate (or a flat amount).

Stop paying benefits and just reduce tax

Stop paying lots of individual benefits (such as tax credits, etc.) and just reduce tax accordingly. 

This would save administration costs in having to calculate and administer benefits and rebates.

Why is this idea important?

Stop paying lots of individual benefits (such as tax credits, etc.) and just reduce tax accordingly. 

This would save administration costs in having to calculate and administer benefits and rebates.