Benefits – Why shouldn’t we talk about them?
I am applying for benefits. I recently lost my job and decided to try to earn a living from writing/blogging. In the meantime I intend to try to find part time work to fit in around my kids school hours, while studying a course in journalism. But for the moment I don’t have an income and have decided to apply for whatever benefits I am entitled to.
I was recently told by a family member that I should keep the benefits part hush hush as “Benefits are considered for people who have nowhere else to turn”. The message implied behind those words is that my situation is only dire because I have made the decision not to work full time and instead to be there for my children. Yes, I could probably quite easily get another full-time admin job if I wanted to but after being made redundant or losing jobs more times than I can count, I decided it is time to get my priorities straight. Of course I will try to work if I can and I am happy to accept jobs at a lot less money than I was on. But being the one to take my kids to school and pick them up is something I have never been able to do as I have always worked fulltime. When I was with my ex, it was never up for discussion that I would go part time (apart from when I first went back to work after they were born). Now I don’t have to answer to anyone. I can make my own decisions and that is one that I have made and intend to stand by.
I don’t know if this is a universally held belief – that people should only claim benefits if they absolutely have to. I have never claimed before in my life (apart from child benefit which I only ever used to buy things/pay for activities for the kids). Whenever I lost a job, I always knew I would find another one – and I always did. But I’m in a different position now. Part time work is hard to find, as I know from speaking to recruitment agencies that ring me daily offering me full time work. I need a little help to get me through. I have been completely honest in the form obviously, detailing savings I have, the redundancy money that I received. I’m 39 and it’s time to take control of my life, and if I need a bit of help from the government in order to do this, I’m not ashamed!