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I’m 60 and on JSA. I live in fear of sanctions

Location: UK » South West » GL
I’m 60 and on JSA. I live in fear of sanctions

Susan Roberts, Stroud. On JSA. Interview and recording made at lunch at the Marah drop-in centre in Stroud:

“I’m 60. My job is – I used to do cleaning work, so [the jobecentre wants me looking for] cleaning work, or shop work or kitchen work. That’s the jobs that I’m supposed to be getting – but when you tell them your age, that’s it. They say that you’re too old.

“I think I’ll be nearly 63 when I retire, because my retirement age is March the 6th and I’ll be nearly 63. They’ve stopped me (my benefits) three times [through sanctions]. It’s all because I’m not good enough looking for work at my age. They say I haven’t filled in the sheets and that I could have it stopped again. A month ago, they threatened me again and it’s still going on, but every time I go in [to sign on], once a fortnight. I get worried. I only get about £65 a week and I got to pay all my bills. By the time I get my shopping, I got about £20 left- for the TV licence, water rates, electric. [And people have to pay] gas if you got it, but I’m on electric. Some people have got both, haven’t they. When my budget loan finishes, [Susan is paying off a loan], that’ll go back up again.

“They stopped mine [JSA] for a month. They left me alone for a while, but I’m dreading [my jobcentre meeting on Friday]. If my paperwork is not good enough, they will try and stop my money. You have to take a sheet in stating your name, your national insurance number and then stating what kind of work you’re doing and what kind of work you’re looking for. If there’s no work to look for, they still put it down that you’re not looking for work. It’s ridiculous. All these school- leavers can’t even get a job. There’s people like us trying to look for work and then all these youngsters coming out of school. To me, I’m getting depressed, because they’re on your back all the time. They haven’t left me alone since I’ve been back on it for a year.

“In the job centre now, you can’t look for work, because they got these machines. You can’t look for work, because they’ve got these machines to do it and I don’t like that. The last time I went in there, they didn’t have no newspapers, so where do you look? It’s a bit ridiculous isn’t it?”

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