Diary of a Benefit Striver #7: Contribution Exhaustion

So my 26 weeks are up. My JSAC has expired. JSAC is the contributory part of the benefit where entitlement is based solely on National Insurance Contributions. This is time limited to 26 weeks (it used to be 52 weeks) and is paid at the same rate as someone who has never paid any NICs. This has long struck me as unfair.

Politicians are very fond of talking up the contributory principle. This is one reason for exempting pensioners from all the attacks on the benefits, because they have “paid in” to the system. (A more honest reason is that pensioners are more likely to vote). But I have “paid in” too. Why are my contributions worth less than those of a pensioner? When I worked in housing benefits, I lost count of the number of people I met who were shocked at just how little benefit they got, despite “paying in” for years. Time limit it by all means, but benefits based on contributions should be more generous. This is long overdue for reform.

JSA letter 10001

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