"Job advisor knew nothing about employment support for people in recovery"

About: Sheffield treatment and recovery team / substance misuse

(as a service user),

I am currently a service user in Sheffield and have been looking for paid work, the service I am at have been very supportive and I've been for an interview and was offered the position which is fantastic and I was really excited to be finding and starting paid work as I have been doing voluntary work for awhile.

I thought all my problems where gone until I went to the job centre to get some help on returning to work and what benefits I might be entitled too and get a back to work calculation. I had got some advice of a few different people on what I would be entitled to eg; Tax credits, cash grant from progress back to work, housing benefit follow on, clothing grant and just a simple calculations of how better off I would be. Its a lot for me to take on board as I haven’t been in paid work for 10years before I got my addiction, so this is a big thing for me to go into job centre and ask for there help.

It was ridiculess the adviser I saw didn’t have a clue what they were saying or doing, they firstly got my NI number incorrect and so was looking at someone else’s details, didn’t really know about anything that I was entitled to either I was so frustrated and had to ask their colleage if they knew.

I thought they were suppost to be advisers to advise us not for me tell them what I am entitled to. When they finally got the information after 30mins they couldn’t even print it all off for me as the printer apparently wasn’t working so they said would send it to me in the post.

I left there with nothing but quite annoyed and frustrated that someone who is in receipt of ESA who got themselves a job wasn't able to say yes straight away and get any help from the one place that should be giving them as much support as they could.

Its very hard for people who have been through an addiction to get the confidence to get back into paid work without having so many problems added to by a lack of help that I needed from the job centre. People with addictions need more support around going back to work and feel there a valuable part of the community and not just a drug user..

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