Should I claim benefits?

I’ve just been made redundant and received quite a decent settlement, which means I don’t need to work again straight away. Should I sign on?

There are two important points here. One is that, whether or not you need or want the benefits, you should sign on because the Department for Work and Pensions will then credit your national insurance account with NI contributions as though you were working. This will prevent any sizeable gap developing in your NI record, which could affect your pension or your rights to benefits later on. You can choose not to claim for benefit – ie, you can claim for NI credit only – but the rules on this have been tightened up in recent months, so you will have to continue to present a job search every two weeks, even if you are only claiming NI credit.

The other point is not to under-estimate how long it can take to get another job. When economic conditions are normal, a manager or professional can expect their job search to take between three and six months. In the current economic environment, it might take a lot longer, especially if you are in a badly-hit economic sector. So, don’t leave it too long to start looking.

Consider doing something definite with your time away from work, so that you have something positive and constructive to show for it when you next interview. It’s all too easy for time off to develop into a gap that can be hard to explain away for several years afterwards.

October 20th, 2009 | Category: NI, benefits, new job, redundancy | No Comments »

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