Pukka gen required: TA and Jobseekers' Allowance

#1
There is currently a belief that the shortfall in TA numbers will be made up, and any exodus of employed STABs due to the introduction of mandatory training will be replaced, by the massed ranks of those not in education or employment.

According to the Department of Education, there were 976,000 of them aged 18 to 24 in 2011, so it's really just a matter of chucking a load of cash at PR people and Capita, and happy days.

I am, however, wondering whether the starting assumption is realistic. My understanding is that many of these NEETs do not join the Reserves because doing so would cause them to lose their Jobseekers' Allowance of £58.40 per week plus the benefits which are contingent on receipt of JSA, such as housing and council tax benefits.

JSA is only available to those who work less than 16 hours per week. A TA weekend is (in practice) about 46 hours and weekday training evenings are 2.5 hours. Someone who attends weekday evening training every second week and one TA weekend per month is doing an average of 12.75 hours per week even if their hours worked on Annual Camp are excluded. It would take just part of a day per month in addition to the above for them to go over the threshold.

So a STAB private attending for two weekday evenings per week, one weekend and an additional half a day that month will be paid £152.39 for that month but would lose at least £253.07 in JSA plus housing benefit of at least a couple of hundred quid for that month, plus council tax benefit.

Last year, the JSA regulations were changed so that any JSA claim will remain open during the 15 days annual continuous training period and JSA payments will automatically resume when the trg ends. But I do not understand how those in the regional TA doing what I would regard to be the bare minimum are able to claim JSA at all.(*)

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


(*) without lying or omitting to inform the Benefits Agency of their having exceeded the 16-hour limit
 
#2
IS the mandatory training fo' real shnizzle or still just a rumour?
 
#3
It's my understanding (and I'm no longer in a position to confirm by experience) that the loss of JSA is determined weekly. So, in your example, there'd be one week when there'd be no JSA paid (Army pay being the weekend and a drill night) and another week when the drill night pay would be deducted. The remaining weeks would be unaffected. Other benefits are calculated on the basis of how much you have in the bank provided you don't exceed a set annual income.

I don't know how it works now, but back in the 70s, Sunday pay wasn't taken into account. This led to a bit of creative accounting for those doing two weekends a month by the Pay Sgt booking you in for four Sundays instead.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
its allways been that way - you work it, you declare it and if it goes over the threshold you get no benefit for that week. if they ran a sunday to saturday week it would be easier and at one point they allowed you 4 days a month before it affected your benefits.

it might be viable to register as part time and claim working tax credits which often can be higher and allow you to work what you want TA wise. as a kid I used to leave drill nights off the sheet but my psi would put the odd day through for me to make it up.

the issue has allways been the fact that you don't get your army pay for another month yet you lose benefit immediately so inorder to do TA you need a certain amount of dedication to not spend your pay until the next lot has gone in.

I had a friend who got an extra 100 quid a week due to some odd equation despite the fact he lived in a council flat and worked full time.
 
#5
msr: Ref mandatory training - wait.

Puttees: Thanks. JSA is a "gateway" benefit for housing and council tax benefits. If you get JSA then you are automatically entitled to HB and CTB. That's why losing JSA is so significant. It might well be possible for it to flick on and off depending on the number of hours worked in a given week, although I have seen stuff which speaks of the average number of hours per week not being allowed to exceed 16.

If it's not based on an average, does anyone know if, in reality, JSA + HB + CTB can flick on and off every second week?

Also, I note that the official DWP pamphlet on JSA is wrong. It says:

Auxiliary coastguards or members of the Reserve Forces
Q: I’m part of the auxiliary coastguard or a member of the Reserve Forces. Can I get Jobseeker’s Allowance?
A: Yes, if you’re available for work and actively seeking work. The time you spend on your duties doesn’t count as paid work.
The bit about time spent on duties not counting as paid work applies only to the coastguards, not reservists.
 
#6
If you get JSA then you are automatically entitled to HB and CTB. That's why losing JSA is so significant.
Not strictly true. You've got to have less than £16k in the bank to even have a look-in for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Add to which they're provided by local authorities, not the DWP.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
housing benefit and council tax benefit are payable to anyone who asks and is elligable so jsa only makes the claiming easier and once you're on it you are reasonable safe. both are via the local council but will be logged under this new 26k ruling they are putting through.

your jsa claim should be active unless you go off full time on a course or cadre the issue I found recently when going on and off it for agency work is the bsatards don't pay the first three days of a new or renewed claim.

they have a policy now of your claim allways goes back to the same advisor so if they agree to fiddle with the dates for you then its a lot easier to average out the training days.
 
#8
I can't see any incentive for anyone on knobsuckers allowance to join the TA. I was so fortunate that with my old unit, I often had the 256 days a year and was able to pay my own rent and council tax. It's a pain to go see your advisor and tell them you have worked a weekend. You get the questions, what is your hourly rate ? they do not understand daily rate and to tell them you did 24 hours for X amount and the following day you did 4 hours and still got x amount fries their walnut brain.

I have heard of cases where people have declared they worked a weekend, had their claim closed and told to open a new one. Rates of pay are also taken into account, as if you work 16 hours or more, it's classed as full time employment. However if you earn less than knob suckers allowance, you may be entitled to some cash.
 
#9
I was on JSA when I first joined the TA, in theory you should never be financially worse off from being in the TA. Reserve forces personal, as well as a few other profession, are allowed to exceed the 16 hour rule and still claim JSA. At first they will probably tell you that you're talking out your hoop, I had a print out that I found on the DWP website stating TA could work more than 16 hours to take with me when I signed on, I've looked but cant find the link now.

What happens is you still get JSA but they deduct money by how much your TA wage is per month, in the end my JSA benefit was zero as my TA earnings went above the threshold.
 
#10
the whole 'days' thing will TA pay will fry the DWPs brains - also applying the NMW rules to 'days' pay for ptes means much more than 8 -10 hours / day is less than the NMW.

given a 'day' is given of 8 hours or more tell the DWP it's 8 hours .... sadly still means a 2.5 'day' weekend means no JSA that week as it's 20 'hours' of work ... and over the 16 hours for that week...
 
#11
Without wishing to upset anyone. I'd suggest that anyone on JOB SEEKERS allowance, should spend their time finding a job rather than playing with the part time soldiers. That isn't a dig at the TA, but it's not a career and isn't a job, it's a part time hobby which may be useful for you and the Armed Forces. If you wish to earn your money from the Armed Forces, then go and join the regulars.

That said, I suppose if you are in dead end employment, with no prospects the TA may be more appealing, as you may get driving licences and other stuff. Just don't bank on doing it in the short term.
 
#12
Your explanations are all very helpful but are beginning to fry my pea-sized brain.

From information put by the DWP before Parliament when they brought in the 2012 change which allowed people to attend annual camp without losing their JSA, it seems that regardless of what the DWP guidelines say, the relevant law actually says that reservists may not work in excess of 16 hours per week without losing their JSA.

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1656/pdfs/uksiem_20121656_en.pdf

If they work fewer than 16 hours, they should still report it so that their JSA payment can be reduced to reflect those earnings. Nice.

So it seems that JSA claimants who are in the reserves should be reporting their working hours and their earnings on a weekly basis to the Benefits Agency. That is not really possible, as TA pay is paid monthly in arrears (sometimes substantially in arrears).

If JSA is lost for a period due to exceeding the 16 hours limit then that means that a "gateway" to housing benefit and council tax benefit closes. The claimant should report that loss to the local authority and be reassessed for HB and CTB.

Questions:

1. Do claimants really update the BA and council on a week-by-week basis, or even month-to-month?

2. What happens if they do update them in that way? Are benefits "overpaid" then recovered or deducted?

3. Does HB and CTB really switch on and off on a weekly basis like this?

4. Would it, could it, possibly make more sense to treat Reservists in the same way as volunteer costguard and fire brigade?
 
#13
Without wishing to upset anyone. I'd suggest that anyone on JOB SEEKERS allowance, should spend their time finding a job rather than playing with the part time soldiers. That isn't a dig at the TA, but it's not a career and isn't a job, it's a part time hobby which may be useful for you and the Armed Forces. If you wish to earn your money from the Armed Forces, then go and join the regulars.

That said, I suppose if you are in dead end employment, with no prospects the TA may be more appealing, as you may get driving licences and other stuff. Just don't bank on doing it in the short term.
Thanks, Sammy M.

The people who are keen for much of the TA's shortfall in numbers to be made up from the ranks of the unemployed consist of some very senior people in the regular Army.(1) I am certainly not advocating it as a solution of any kind.

I am trying to find out if that hope is realistic because I don't think it is. Those on the dole tend to shy away from joining the Reserves. I would like to think that it's because they would be hammered financially for doing so rather than because of a lack of moral fibre. But who knows?

Whether or not it is a good thing to populate the Reserves with people who are in it purely for the money and the qualifications, scooped out of the ranks of the NEETs, is an entirely different question too. Might make the Reserves better. Might make them worse. Who knows?


(1) The remainder of the gap will, they believe, be closed by recruiting into the Reserves those whom the MOD has just made redundant and by the surge(2) of recruits being generated by Capita and the new RPP recruiting system.

(2) There is no surge.
 

Pob02

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#14
Without wishing to upset anyone. I'd suggest that anyone on JOB SEEKERS allowance, should spend their time finding a job rather than playing with the part time soldiers. Deleted ignorant rant.
There is plenty time to do both. I manage to hold down full time employment, and be in the TA, I could just as easily look for a job and be in the TA.

In fact in the past I have done just that (in my case without having to fall back on benefits), and I think you will find I am not the only one.

Sorry, not wishing to offend you, but your argument has more holes in it than swiss cheese.
 

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I was told specifically (many, many moons ago) that I was not allowed to claim JSA as the T.A. employment of two days per week - even though classed as 'voluntary' - exceeded the maximum permissible hours of employment allowed to still accrue the beer/fags tokens. When I replied 'but I only do it a few times a year, I'm national", they (helpfully) said "well, you can sign on after every time you go then".

Sounds like more effluent being pumped from the central government slurry pit.
 
#16
As I said it was not an attack on the TA, I've done both it and regulars. However, I wouldn't dream of taking on any sort of hobby if I was looking for work. The last time I was unemployed I was spending 18 hours a day writing covering letters, tweaking my CV and searching for a job. I wouldn't want to be thinking about getting ready for a weekend, if I was doing that.

I'd also say, that my experience of the TA is that it's great if you LOSE your job. As they will often throw many hours at you, allowing you to come in and clean and do other menial work to earn some extra money. If you are a regular leaving I'd say that it is slightly different as you will not have to go through the training and will be able to pick and chose weekends until you get yourself on your feet.

I'd also like to point out the obvious. Being in the TA is not a good thing when looking for 99 percent of jobs. Having someone who is not likely to be flexible with hours and weekends, is not going to be great for an employer. The fact that you can be pulled out of work for a year at shortish notice if something goes bang is another worry.

EDIT - for Pob02, you should work a hell of a lot harder looking for work, than you should doing it. If you have any spare time, you should be putting it into finding work. Just my opinion.
 
#17
Without wishing to upset anyone. I'd suggest that anyone on JOB SEEKERS allowance, should spend their time finding a job rather than playing with the part time soldiers. That isn't a dig at the TA, but it's not a career and isn't a job, it's a part time hobby which may be useful for you and the Armed Forces. If you wish to earn your money from the Armed Forces, then go and join the regulars.

That said, I suppose if you are in dead end employment, with no prospects the TA may be more appealing, as you may get driving licences and other stuff. Just don't bank on doing it in the short term.
Thread drift, but...

People on JSA should be looking for a job - it's one of the conditions - but that's not relevant to being in the TA. Theoretically, they aren't mutually exclusive activities but there are other threads that discuss the employability of TA soldiers with some employers.

Maybe your post should be directed at those who make a living out of being in the TA (and, if they're being honest, shouldn't be receiving JSA - though may still be entitled to other income-related benefits).
 
#18
This direct from a contact in Policy at Department of Work and Pensions...Reserve Forces personnel and entitlement to benefit when undertaking annual training requirements 1. Treatment under Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) Non-continuous training under JSA · Reservists engaged in their duties are not excluded from JSA because of being in work, even if those duties exceed 16 hours per week.· However, reservists are required to fulfil the JSA conditions to be available for, and actively seeking, work when undertaking non-continuous training. · As non-continuous training usually takes place at weekends, the vast majority of reservists can agree a pattern of availability of at least 40 hours per week although they will have to declare their earnings and the amount of JSA received will be reduced accordingly. · Where a reservist is undertaking duties or training during the working week, that time may be exempted subject to local agreement between the individual and the Jobcentre advisor, providing that the individual demonstrates that they are still actively seeking work. · The amount of JSA paid is adjusted to take into account the earnings they receive from their reserve service. Reservists are allowed earnings of £20 before the amount of their benefit is affected. If the reservists' earnings (minus the £20 earnings disregard) exceed their JSA entitlement then they will no longer be entitled to JSA (except under the continuous training rule – see below). Continuous training under JSA· Regulations were changed in July 2012 to allow a JSA claim to remain open whilst a reservist is undertaking a period of continuous training of up to 15 days. If a reservist exceeds 15 days continuous training in a calendar year they will not be able to remain on JSA as they cannot be treated as fulfilling the conditions for receipt of JSA in that period. · As with non-continuous training, JSA is adjusted to take account of the earnings the reservists receive from the annual training but a special disregard has been introduced to ensure that they retain entitlement of a minimum of 10p per week. This means that there is no disruption to passported benefits such as Housing Benefit (HB).Treatment under Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Income Support· A similar special disregard for annual training earnings was introduced in Income Support and for partners of ESA claimants in November 2012. As with JSA, this means that a minimum of 10p remains in payment, to avoid disruption to benefit awards.Re-claiming JSA· If a person is claiming JSA within 26 weeks of a previous claim, they may be able to claim under the Rapid Re-claim process, which allows claimants to reinstate their claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance quickly and efficiently. · Inevitably it takes a bit of time to decide on benefit claims. Quite often DWP has to wait for the claimant themselves to provide information to support their claim.· When benefit has been decided, it is normally paid in arrears. Two weeks in arrears for jobseekers for example. Making payments in arrears is not new and has been the way benefits are normally paid for several decades now. · Where claimants say they need money urgently then DWP tries to make a decision and payments as soon as is practicably possible. · Currently, if the claimant’s payday has passed and DWP cannot yet pay benefit an Interim Payment can be considered where appropriate. (An interim payment of benefit is based on the assumption that there will be entitlement to benefit once a claim is processed. Interim payments are paid back in full from the first benefit payment. They are not budget capped.)· Where the claimant has not yet reached their payday a Crisis Loan alignment payment can currently be considered. (These are not limited to 3 payments in a 12 month period like Crisis Loans for living expenses.)· From April 2013 Interim Payments and Crisis Loan alignment payments will be replaced by an improved system of Short Term Benefit and Universal Credit Advances. These advances of benefit will not be budget capped like the current Social Fund. 2. Treatment under Universal Credit · The Universal Credit system replaces and consolidates a number of existing benefits (including income-based JSA and Housing Benefit) and is a flexible scheme tied to earned income rather than hours worked. · It is intended to radically reform and simplify the benefit system and it will remove the distinction between in-work and out-of-work support.· It will offer a more generous level of work allowance than under the current benefit system and a single taper will be applied to withdraw support as earnings rise (the amount of the work allowance will depend on family make-up and personal circumstances).· Once a person is earning more than the work allowance level a taper applies. For every pound the claimant earns, a deduction will be made from their award. A taper rate of 65 per cent will apply to income that exceeds the work allowance. In simple terms, this means that 35 pence in every pound earned would be kept: claimants will be £35 better off for every extra £100 of net earnings. · Universal Credit will allow reservists to keep more of their income when they undertake their training and duties, and introduce a smoother and more transparent reduction of benefits when they increase their earnings. · Some reservists may be better off under Universal Credit than under JSA, and reservists (or those on low incomes) will be less likely to lose their entitlement to Universal Credit as a result of fluctuating earnings. · When a reservist undertakes a prolonged period of duty and the amount of their earnings increase - ending their entitlement to Universal Credit, they may be eligible for a re-award if their earnings are reduced during the six month period following the date their entitlement ended. If their earnings reduce to the extent that an amount of Universal Credit would become payable again, a re-award can be made without the reservist having to make a new claim.· Universal Credit will also reduce the number of benefits and the number of agencies that people have to interact with and therefore smooth the transition into work.Monthly payments · Universal Credit will be paid monthly. Claimants will be responsible for managing all household costs, including rent payments. · We understand that for some people the move to monthly direct payments may prove difficult at first and budgeting support will be made available. · For a minority of claimants, alternative payment arrangements may be required in addition to budgeting support. This may include making more frequent than monthly payments, paying housing costs directly to landlords or splitting payment of an award between partners. · Wherever possible, these exceptional arrangements will be time-limited and delivered in conjunction with appropriate support to help claimants successfully make the transition to monthly budgeting. · The detailed circumstances of when payment exceptions will be appropriate will be set out in guidance, enabling cases to be assessed on their individual merits. There will be no blanket exceptions.
 
#20
Without wishing to upset anyone. I'd suggest that anyone on JOB SEEKERS allowance, should spend their time finding a job rather than playing with the part time soldiers. That isn't a dig at the TA, but it's not a career and isn't a job, it's a part time hobby which may be useful for you and the Armed Forces. If you wish to earn your money from the Armed Forces, then go and join the regulars.
Maybe the TA should only do stuff on weekends and evenings, so as not to clash with the working week when they could be looking for jobs?










prick
 

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