Job Seekers Allowance for Professional Actors

  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    It has long been the case that actors when signing on for Jobseekers allowance have often been 'sneered at' when asked what their profession is. Many are often pushed into taking any kind of work so that they are 'off the unemployment register' as quickly as possible. Several people I know are being forced to work in a bakery rather than have the time and space to do auditions or short term acting contracts mean that they have 'left work voluntarily' so the process of claiming is then the usual 6 weeks no income or benefits before allowances.

    However it is generally the fault of the individual staff member at the DWP who does not know that an arrangement already exists that makes a special case for actors. Daft as oit seems we are lumped under the same category as 'Share Fishermen' of all things.

    Our motion to the ARC is to encourage government departments to properly train all the staff at the Benefits Agency and the sub-contractors that this arrangement exists and to treat actors with respect.

    Your comments will be well received.

    • 9th Mar 2007
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  • Leighton Haberfield

    Actor

    A few years ago I signed on.

    What a lot of hassle.

    I was denied it at first as they said I was self employed so I appealed and had to go to a hearing with 3 yrs of accounts and had to justify all the figures on my sheets that I supplied and it was agreed that I was entitled to JSA under contributions based not income based and I was awarded full Jsa backdated.

    What a pain in the arse!

    • 25th Feb 2007
    • 1
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    I used to sign on years ago and it was indeed a real hassle, with them constantly trying to get you to do any sort of work to get you off their unemployed list.

    I can't get anything now cos I'm married - apparently when you are married you don't need an income as your spouse should and can support you fully with their wages....what a ridiculous premise.

    • 25th Feb 2007
    • 2
  • David Corden

    Actor

    Move to Manchester, everybody's unemployed here so there's no hassle - I think they get commission at the Job Centres for signing you on.

    But seriously, there is a darker side to all this and that is the New Deal trap. If you get an ad that films over two days and is shown worldwide, you can earn $40k easily and pay the tax & NI on it - but signing off and on again won't get you out of the system and after a while you will get persecuted to hell by the b%^&*$s and have to sign on weekly; accept the first job that comes along or lose all benefits, etc....Why? Computer says "no". They seem to forget that a human programs the bloody thing to say "no", though.

    The only way to get out of the New Deal trap is to sign off for 13 weeks. Problem: even if you do rep, most offer contracts of under 12 weeks total.

    Now, I'm not sure about the share fisherman status, but this is the way basic rules apply to all self employed persons.

    The brighter side is when you get a Job Centre employee who suggests that the best way to get off New Deal and back on to regular JSA is to "go ill and get a medical certificate and go on sick benefit"...from the horses mouth!

    • 8th Mar 2007
    • 3
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    oh years and years ago i was put on "new deal" it was a horrid experience

    made me feel like i was at paulines restart course in League of Gentlemen

    i was made to feel so small and i had to PROVE i was activly looking for work everyday or they stopped my benefits (or cut them) it was horrid. i was shouted at like i was in school too! if i didnt have a job application typed out for the jobcentre's attention for every job/role i applied i was seriously shouted at and asked if i needed help in using a computer or if i had special needs in writing! She also kept telling me what work i shoudl do, saying things like "youve got legs, do building work." or "you live near *such a business* work for them". forcing me to apply for any jobs, even if i couldnt do them. it was horrible, i dont know how these scallies do it for a living (sign on i mean).

    • 8th Mar 2007
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  • Wendy Denham

    Actor

    I must be in the minority as the job centre that I sign on at for job seekers is fantastic, they do not hassle me to take any job, they search their systems for anything they might have in my chosen sphere and all I have to do is take in my personal diary that I keep all applications written in along, once in a while I have to take any replies I have had that correspond. If I need help travelling to an audition then they help me find out train/bus times and also costs and most times I get a voucher from them to travel, if there is not enough time for them to get the voucher I just tell them when I have to travel and then when I get back they re-imburse me. I cannot complain one bit about their treatment and the staff are always friendly. Even when I go on a course they are great and never shout or treat me like an imbecile.

    • 9th Mar 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    There seems to be a bit of discrepancy between different districts re this.

    Our motion to the Equity ARC will address this issue and attempt to make the JSA more clear to claimants and more especially to the DWP and Benefits operatives throughout the country.

    It is a lot to do with their training and our understanding of the system.

    This will be addressed forthwith!

    • 9th Mar 2007
    • 6