It has been one week since I was told I would have to go through Universal Credit (UC) to claim Statutory Sick Pay for my fractured ankle. This is due to being a ‘low earner’ from my part-time job I have whilst funding my post-graduate studies. I have never had any dealings with the welfare system but with my interest in politics, particularly working practices, I decided to blog my experience to expose the unfair and inhumane process of UC.

I was completely unaware of what I was walking into with this process. I would also reinforce the rhetoric heard in the left-leaning media about the lengthy and potentially problematic online application. The first surprise is that UC is not an individual claim; it is based on household income. This in itself has Tory ideology written all over it. Even if you live with a partner or family this system assumes people living with you would be able to help you out financially. In some people’s situations that goes without saying, where support and temporary financial help will be given, but I’d argue that it is not consistent across all walks of life. I had to discuss this with my partner and we had to agree to go on this journey together; both never been ‘through the system’ before.

I am taking responsibility for the completion of both applications but I have been pulling out what is left of my hair doing it. The first thing I have noticed is the set up and language used on the UC application and website. It is obsessed with referring to ‘finding work’ or ‘finding more work’ and ‘making work pay’. Now, as a student who studies, at great length, employment practices and the contemporary labour market I’d recommend The Conservatives make ‘work pay’ by legislating against precarious work practices and reinstate collective bargaining with useful relations with trade unions; but then again what do I know? The language used on the website is really patronising and belittling to grown adults by referring to meetings with ‘work coaches’ and of course sanctioning people who cannot make appointments. You have a to do list which is streams of tabs you have to click on and insert very personal data and other information requested.

Read the rest: Universal Credit journey so far…. – #LeftyInABusinessSchool

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