So yesterday, after 20 job applications and two failed job interviews, I finally applied for Universal Credit. I’d been putting it off because I kept hoping things would change and that I’d be employed again shortly. As I’m not, an extra £268.92 a month would come in very handy right now, and I want my claim to go through before Brexit.
I had to fill in lots of small sections, but they were all quite straightforward. Do I have more than £16,000 in savings? I wish, mate! I wouldn’t be applying if I did. How many hours do I work a week? All the hours the universe sends, when I’m not asleep, eating or shitting.
The most amusing bit was being asked if the eight-year-old was ‘in prison or custody pending trial/sentence?’ I was like: ‘She’s naughty, but no, unless something VERY bad has happened in the three hours since I last saw her!’ (I think this question was designed for 16-17-year-old dependents, but they hadn’t tailored it to age.)
After filling in all the questions, I had to verify my identity on another site using my passport, driving licence and credit card. I’ve never passed my driving test, but even if you have no intention of getting behind the wheel, I would genuinely recommend getting a provisional driving licence as an extra form of ID. It’s come in incredibly handy.
(Interesting fact from my next book How to Live to 100: you’re 10,000 times more likely to die in a car than a plane. Yet most people are way more scared of planes, probably because it seems so unnatural for them to be suspended 33,000 feet in the air.)
Anyhow, at the end of the Universal Credit process, I was told to phone a number to book an interview and commit to finding work. I’m a bit worried they’re going to expect me to do night shifts stacking shelves at 3am. Apart from anything else, a height of 5’2″ is not ideal for this role. I bet I’m going to die falling off a stepladder and being buried by a pyramid of baked beans.
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