Unemployment can be extremely distressing for an individual who has responsibilities or a person who is trying to kick-start a career. However, while an individual is trying to extricate himself from the quicksand that is unemployment, not being able to draw upon unemployment benefit can be equated to being pushed deeper into the bog.
This is why it is important for you to ensure that your Jobseeker’s Allowance or JSA is not interrupted. Effectively, if you have some JSA complaints then you should look to have them resolved as soon as possible.
What Is The Job Seeker Allowance?
As you can surmise, JSA is a form of unemployment benefit that is given to those citizens of the United Kingdom who are currently in-between jobs and looking for a new one. It is another aspect of the United Kingdom social security benefits system and is designed to help with the upkeep of unemployed individuals actively searching for their new job. JSA is handled by the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland and by the Department for Work and Pensions in other regions of the United Kingdom. Every unemployed individual between the age of 18 and the State Pension age looking for a job is entitled to receive JSA. The minimum sum a person can claim through JSA is 53.80 pounds while the maximum is 71.70 pounds depending on his age and marital and parental status.
What Is The Difference Between Appealing And Complaining?
There are various prerequisites that have to be met for an individual to get JSA. A person looking for JSA will have to go to their closest Job Centre for an interview where a Jobseeker Agreement is struck defining what the individual can do to find work and how he can improve his chances of getting a job. Sometimes, due to the complexity of a situation a person’s application may be rejected or his JSA may get discontinued. In such a situation, the individual can appeal the decision to Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.
Many people mistake appeals with JSA complaints but the two are distinctly different. Appeal is part of the process where the individual is actually only asking for a previous decision to be reviewed while complaints would include mistakes and problems made by people handling JSA or even their conduct. Therefore, the processes for appeals and complaints are distinctly different.
What Reasons Are Valid For Your JSA To Be Discontinued Or Rejected?
Most people who feel they have JSA complaints tend to think that because they are not fully cognisant of the rules and regulations that govern the JSA procedure. There are various valid reasons that may lead to your JSA application being rejected or your JSA being discontinued if you were already receiving it. Knowing these valid reasons will help you figure out whether your complaints are relevant or not. Your JSA application will be rejected or your JSA discontinued if you:
- Miss appointments with the Jobcentre Plus office as requested initially,
- Refuse to take up a job offer that has been made to you,
- Stop looking for or applying to job vacancies,
- Refuse to attend training or skill improvement programs specified for you, and
- Leave your job or training without a valid reason or be thrown out or fired due to poor conduct.
How to Forward Your JSA Complaints?
Your complaints should first be forwarded to the Jobcentre Plus office that you have been dealing with so that their internal complaints procedure can try to resolve the issue in-house. Which department you can complain to, what numbers you can use, and which officers you can contact will usually be available on the top of any correspondence from a Jobcentre Plus office. The standard tips for making complaints also apply when it comes to JSA complaints i.e. you should give proper background, have a professional but polite tone, and describe your expectations. As per standards, every Jobcentre Plus office has 15 days to resolve your complaints or at least respond to them.
What Options Do You Have To Escalate Your JSA Complaints?
There are, essentially, two ways through which you can escalate your JSA complaints. The first is internal i.e. within the Jobcentre Plus office you are dealing with, while the second is external i.e. you will take your complaint to a higher authority. After the Jobcentre Plus office responds to each complaint, it will ask the complainant whether they would like to escalate their complaint to the Department of Work and Pensions’ Director General of Operations. If the complainant answers positively then the complaint is forwarded and the office of the Director General of Operations will respond within 15 days.
If even this response is not to your liking you can escalate the issue further by approaching the Independent Case Examiner. Once your request goes through, the Independent Case Examiner will study your complaint in an objective and neutral manner. This service is free. You can escalate your complaint even further if the Independent Case Examiner’s response is also dissatisfactory. You can approach your MP and request him to take the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman where your complaint will be assessed anew along with the inclusion of the investigative results of all the previous levels.
What Should You Expect From Your JSA Complaints?
Typically, these types of complaints are resolved well before they can be escalated. In fact, very few JSA complaints ever reach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Depending upon the merit of your complaint, the resolutions will vary. While in some cases, the mistakes will be fixed, in others, the complaint is rejected. If the complaint is about a very serious matter which has resulted in you financial suffering or a situation where misconduct is the centre issue then you may be entitled to recompense. If your JSA complaints are, indeed, grave, then you should seriously consider approaching the Citizens Advice for support and knowledge about what your options are or what you should do to facilitate the complaints procedure and a positive resolution.
Please be advised that a standard rate of 7p per minute plus your operator’s access charge may apply if you will call the JSA Complaints Number on 0843 515 8458.