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03-10-2012, 13:39   #1
Whoknos
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better off on benefits

Not the usual my hours have been cut or wages reduced story. I am in my late 20s, am educated to masters level, with around 5 years experience in my field both at home and abroad, and am working for one of the US multinationals that supposedly are our economy's great white hope of recovery. There are the square root of no opportunities for advancement in my office, and even in the London office they have adopted the increasingly popular method of promotions without any pay rises (moving the deck chairs springs to mind). Relative to many I probably earn a decent wage, but hover marginally below the official industrial average.
My partner has recently given birth to our first child. She has no formal education and has worked only in the services sector (shops, dept. stores etc.). Once her maternity period is completed the cost of childcare in Dublin will render it impossible for her to return to work. However, as she lives with me and we remain together, she will not therefore be entitled to any welfare payments beyond child benefit. I therefore took it upon myself to calculate our finances post maternity benefit , and have calculated that we would be quite significantly better off if I were to lose my job and we could both then apply for a range of benefits (having never been on benefits before I have little doubt there are probably even more for which we could be eligible that I have disregarded). Furthermore, with free education and retention of benefits during some courses for the long term unemployed it could even be argued that my prospects of advancement would be enhanced by unemployment.
My question isn't about whether I should or should not take this course of action. What these calculations really opened my eyes to was my desperate need to emigrate again and this time never to return. Many of my friends have already availed of this option, with those most able to do so due to demanded skills or good education the most likely to leave. But what hope has this country of any recovery where those with good educations, good work ethic, and a desire for advancement are better off by not working? The forth "commandment" of economics is that people respond to rewards - I am currently being incentivised to quit work and claim welfare from financial, advancement and personal (time with family) points of view. And if I am unable to find suitable work abroad, what possible motivations exist for me to remain in the workforce?
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03-10-2012, 14:05   #2
Mrs OBumble
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Get married. Makes a huge difference to your tax credits, and would likely blow your calculations out of the water.
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03-10-2012, 14:26   #3
username123
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Get married. Makes a huge difference to your tax credits, and would likely blow your calculations out of the water.
Its not that much of a huge difference. You would be taxed at the lower rate on a few k of your income instead of the higher rate. I think it maxes out at a saving of just under 2k a year (which is not to be sniffed at but not huge either). I could be wrong on this, I stand open to correction, I dont have the exact figures to hand - its just memory from when I investigated it myself.

Considering the range of benefits you could get from social welfare it would probably be more cost effective to be on social welfare although if you are educated to masters level you can forget any funded courses as they wont give BTEA for anything other than a primary degree or h dip and only if its your first primary degree - although your wife would be eligible after a period of time.

The motivation to remain in the workforce is that its better to pay your own way through life if you can. But I understand the point you are making.
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03-10-2012, 15:36   #4
Whoknos
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Thanks for the reply, I wasn't aware of the workings of the BTEA as this is all quite new to me as mentioned above. However, I think you can enroll on these new springboard courses without the BTEA and still retain your benefits. Not sure if the courses are up to much but it's something at least.

Regarding the "it's better to pay your own way where possible" arguement, I find it quite worrying that this seems to be a common opinion. My primary degree is in economics and an economy that relies on such an honour system is destined for abject failure. I'm beginning to feel that I am working for the collective good but to my own detriment. A simple game theory analysis would indicate my optimal position in these circumstances is unemployment. Unfortunately, the same GT matrix can be applied to large swathes of the population which begs the question, who exactly is going to pay for all of this?!
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03-10-2012, 15:43   #5
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Regarding the "it's better to pay your own way where possible" arguement, I find it quite worrying that this seems to be a common opinion.
Its different for everyone but when I was on social welfare after redundancy I did not like the feeling of being dependant on the state. It didnt help that the staff in my local social welfare office treat you like a parasite, and that the money you receive is a pittance, but I also didnt enjoy the long waits, the completely senseless signing on queues, the people queuing who are shouting down smartphones about the great drugs they scored the previous night. Its not a nice experience. And there is no chance of betterment if you are dependant on state support and are not in a position to get BTEA. The springboard courses are not suitable to someone of my education level.
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03-10-2012, 17:08   #6
chris85
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Have you looked for another job in another company? Very often in companies there is not room for advancement but you have the option to look elsewhere. Has this been examined?

Also you quitting your job would not entitle you to job seekers and some other benefits. You losing your job would but quitting is of your own accord would not and its not up to the government to financially support this decision.

Would it be considered that your partner could work part time and reduce the burdon of the cost of childcare which is expensive.

Emigration is not a bad option for many. It gets shouted around a lot that EVERYONE is forced to emigrate. Many are not forced and would have went anyway. We have a strong history of emigration in this country and why not? You get to see the world, experience new cultures and enjoy your life. I feel sorry for people who are forced away from families and everything they know if they dont want to go but for others its an exciting experience.
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03-10-2012, 19:06   #7
Mr. Loverman
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I can understand your dilemma.

The problem really is our overly generous social welfare system. As a country we can't afford it, and as you have pointed it, it often means it makes more sense to quit your job and live the life of leisure.

Personally I go mad when I don't work. I stopped working around 18 months ago and I think overall it has been bad for me. When I worked a 9 - 5, I would come home in the evening and study or work on my side projects for a few hours. Now that I am effectively unemployed (although I don't claim social welfare) I do very little with my time. Well, I do around an hour or two of study per day, but this is a lot less than I used to do when I worked full-time. I'm not complaining, I have a great life, but regards personal development or whatever, I think being unemployed makes you lazy and requires a lot of discipline if you want to avoid frequent binge drinking or whatever. Only you know if you're the type of person who will thrive or languish when unemployed.
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03-10-2012, 19:16   #8
Broxi_Bear_Eire
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Its different for everyone but when I was on social welfare after redundancy I did not like the feeling of being dependant on the state. It didnt help that the staff in my local social welfare office treat you like a parasite, and that the money you receive is a pittance, but I also didnt enjoy the long waits, the completely senseless signing on queues, the people queuing who are shouting down smartphones about the great drugs they scored the previous night. Its not a nice experience. And there is no chance of betterment if you are dependant on state support and are not in a position to get BTEA. The springboard courses are not suitable to someone of my education level.
Completely agree with you on this though my situation is slightly different. I find myself on disability with serious spinal problems I refused to claim anything for two years after I was diagnosed and after I had worked for another eighteen months, preferring to live off the small savings we had. Eventually I had no choice and after jumping through hoops metaphorically speaking I was awarded disability. I hate it with a passion people thinking I am well off and I am living a life of luxury. I have said to a few right try living off what I get for a time say three months and then speak to me.
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03-10-2012, 19:20   #9
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Completely agree with you on this though my situation is slightly different. I find myself on disability with serious spinal problems I refused to claim anything for two years after I was diagnosed and after I had worked for another eighteen months, preferring to live off the small savings we had. Eventually I had no choice and after jumping through hoops metaphorically speaking I was awarded disability. I hate it with a passion people thinking I am well off and I am living a life of luxury. I have said to a few right try living off what I get for a time say three months and then speak to me.
Im sorry to hear this. I totally agree with you regarding the attitude of people. Even some of my own in laws would say things like 'sure isnt it well for you?' as though somehow I had arranged this situation to suit myself! I didnt claim things I could have claimed either, actually Im sorry now because after many negative experiences with social welfare I feel I should have bloody taken everything I could get!

Best of luck to you, I hope things work out.
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03-10-2012, 21:54   #10
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I had to take a week off sick recently and was climbing the walls by the end of it. I personally would never choose unemployment.
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03-10-2012, 22:12   #11
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Why?

Why is it better to "pay your own way" than get paid to live by the State?

In money terms it shouldn't matter where you get the money from or how you come by it. As Shakespeare says "conscience makes cowards of us all" and there is a lot of social pressure to "conform" and get , and keep a "decent" job or be "respectable".

When you strip all the social niceties out of it a job really only entitles one to borrow a large sum of money and live in a "nice" neighbourhood. For most people on starting grades in a job there is only a marginal increase in income once they have a family ( 1 or 2 kids) and need a house to live in as opposed to a small apartment.

Most starter jobs rely on single people who are only entitled to €100 pw in dole or even less if living at home so that the companies can offer them min wage or so and still be ahead of what they would get on the dole.

Married people with kids and dependents need to be offered more in order to attract them into the workforce.

It benefits the government that most people regard the dole as somehow less than respectable or a decent thing to be on. They benefit when people take up badly paid and badly structured jobs etc without realising that , for example, they lose 9 weeks pay if the job doesn't work out and they have to go back on the dole. Also the fact that spouses of people earning modest earnings are not entitled to Jobseekers Assistance or that self employed people whose businesses fail to give them an adequate income are not entitled to dole until most or all their savings and assets are used up then you have a situation where people are in jobs are business situations that do not pay much above what they would get on the dole.

Companies and accountants calculate the benefits of any action. If a certain action nets a higher income than an alternative and IS LEGAL, the company will take it. Grants subventions tax shelters exemptions etc are a form of "dole " for companies but do not suffer from the same stigma that general society attaches to individaul claimants of the dole.

It should be within the bounds of possibility for a Masters graduate to do a spreadsheet analysis of both scenarios, job or total dole and see what pays better.
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03-10-2012, 23:05   #12
Mrs OBumble
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Its not that much of a huge difference. You would be taxed at the lower rate on a few k of your income instead of the higher rate. I think it maxes out at a saving of just under 2k a year (which is not to be sniffed at but not huge either). I could be wrong on this, I stand open to correction, I dont have the exact figures to hand - its just memory from when I investigated it myself.
Ahh, no, you are taxed at zero, not just the lower rate for a big chunk too.

To be honest, the original post makes me really, really angry.

This forum is full of stories of people struggling to get a job that pays perhaps 25k, who are reporting significant ill effects on their well-being, social connections, etc due to being out of work. People who want to contribute to society, rather than sit on the sidelines taking all they can get.

Now this thread is from someone who's earning "marginally under" 40k. (ref: http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/ave...76846-Aug2012/) and whining because in the current climate they're not likely to get a payrise without getting a new job in a different company. To which my considered response is "diddums ... lots of people will never earn that much in their lives, unless they emigrate to somewhere with very challenging living conditions".

OP something else for you to consider: I doubt that you have interpreted the available welfare options correctly. You cannot "both apply for a range of benefits". One of you can apply for a benefit - unless you are sick/disabled, Jobseekers is the one that would apply - and this comes with a clear expectation that the main applicant is ready, willing and able to take any suitable job. One of you would get the benefit, and the other would count as a "qualified adult" and thus increase the rate. You may get housing assistance - but probably the quality of housing you can get this for would be significantly less than the quality you are used to now. Apart from child benefit (which you get anyway), and fuel allowance (a pittance) I'm struggling to see what else you would get. And I can assure you that living on the amount of JSA that a couple with one child get is not easy.
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04-10-2012, 00:24   #13
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better off on benefits

I did not like this post as you earning some where in the region of €35k to €40k a year. Your partner got pregnant and I am sure they got maternity pay from the state. You are now thinking that you would be better off on the dole as due to the cost of childcare your partner can't go back to work.
You have also told us the only way you will get more money is to get another job. Well if things are that tight for you why are you not looking for another job?
Could your partner not work in the evening or weekends when you mind the child?
Could you get family income supplement?
I know that there are a lot of people who have read your post and would like to be in your position rather than signing on the dole.
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04-10-2012, 00:50   #14
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I can understand your dilemma.

The problem really is our overly generous social welfare system. As a country we can't afford it, and as you have pointed it, it often means it makes more sense to quit your job and live the life of leisure.

Personally I go mad when I don't work. I stopped working around 18 months ago and I think overall it has been bad for me. When I worked a 9 - 5, I would come home in the evening and study or work on my side projects for a few hours. Now that I am effectively unemployed (although I don't claim social welfare) I do very little with my time. Well, I do around an hour or two of study per day, but this is a lot less than I used to do when I worked full-time. I'm not complaining, I have a great life, but regards personal development or whatever, I think being unemployed makes you lazy and requires a lot of discipline if you want to avoid frequent binge drinking or whatever. Only you know if you're the type of person who will thrive or languish when unemployed.


Your point about unemployment makes you lazy and that it takes a lot of discipline to avoid becoming a binge drinker or whatever is really unfair. I have been under employed if not exactly unemployed for almost 2 yrs now. I don't consider myself lazy or in any danger of becoming an alcoholic. I don't waste my time I am fitter than ever and infact I don't drink or smoke, but go right ahead you just keep on generalising "all unemployed are lazy bums with drink problems.
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04-10-2012, 00:59   #15
Jellicoe
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Get married. Makes a huge difference to your tax credits, and would likely blow your calculations out of the water.
Amateur. Worst financial mistake you could ever make benefits wise. Never get married.

Knock up girlfriend asap. She'll get loan parents and a council house in a flash.
Move in on the QT as a cock lodger. After 10 years, get GF to buy house for max. discount with council loan. and sell/lease back to local authority.
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