OK. you've just got out of an institution of some sort. What do you need to do now to ensure your smooth resettlement back into the mainstream of society?
What to do, and where to start
As soon as you are out, or as soon as you are able to after you get out.
Pick up the keys to your flat, (if
you've been allocated one) and sign the tenancy agreement forms
(and get a couple of copies of them done as you'll need them for
various applications, as we'll get on to later). If you have
a private landlord, then also pay the rent deposit in addition to
Don't wait till next week to sign on just because you have some money now. It will take up to a few days if not a week, to get your first benefits payment AFTER you have signed on, and your benefits entitlement will only begin the day you made an application for these benefits such as JSA, HB, and CTB. In this region, you MUST first claim by telephone on 0845 603 2451. You’ll be sent a statement recording the details you've given and an appointment to attend an interview.
OR by applying online via the internet at this web address http://www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/# OR go to the jobcentre at
and get yourself an interview to be signed on for Job Seekers
Allowance (JSA) / Income Support / Incapacity Benefit / Pension Credit.
The type of JSA to which you shall be entitled, will be I-JSA (Income
based Job Seekers Allowance).
If you have a NI number but can’t find it, contact the National Insurance Registration Helpline on 0845 915 7006 and ask for a 'Letter of Confirmation' of your National Insurance number. If you don't have one then write away for one now to :--
Inland Revenue NI Contributions office,If you have time, get a check done on what benefits to which you are entitled, by the local citizens advice bureau, as you may be entitled to a range of other benefits and tax credits that you are not aware of.
When you go to the citizens advice bureau, they will ask you to wait to see an adviser, which may involve a wait of up to an hour or longer (depending on the queue size) - depending on how busy they are and how many voluntary advisers they have available. When you get to see the adviser, you will be asked "how can we help you?" - answer that you need a full benefits and tax credits check done (they have software that will work it out to a T ). If you have a partner and / or children, then the Child Tax Credits (CTC) (and WTC - Working Tax Credits if you've got a job) need to be sorted out now.
If you have online access, you can do a check yourself by going to www.entitledto.co.uk and filling out the questionnaire which will calculate your benefits for you.
Open a bank or building society account. You'll need one for wages / salary payments, as a lot of companies now will only employ you if they can pay you directly into one of these accounts. Additionally, benefits now have to be paid into accounts, as they are phasing out payments by giro cheque, so you need an account.
You can get a leaflet at the Citizens Advice Bureau that lists all the banks and building societies who "say" they will let you open a BASIC account. But the Nationwide Building Society and Barclays bank are the only 2 that will really open a BASIC current account with £1.00, without doing a credit reference check, provided you can show 2 things :-
As soon as you have accommodation organised
Do the following :--
Sign on with a doctor, optician, and dentist, and get your eyes and teeth checked whilst you're still unemployed (it will save you a lot of money) - click on > local NHS services for your nearest GP surgeries, dental surgeries, opticians, and NHS walk-in centres for emergencies, etc.
Organise the funding you will need
Have you got a list of the things you now need, such as :--
If not, then start making one now, and get it costed, i.e., use things
like mail order catalogs to get the prices of the items you need, and
apply those prices to your list before you start applying for funding.
Take a look at the funding button above to get the details of where you
can apply for funding for the various things you need. The best option
here if you have little or no money of your own, is to make an application
to the Glasspool Trust (see the info on this in the Money
Trust Funds page) who have a system set up with Comet and
other stores (to have white goods such as Cooker, Fridge/Freezer,
Washer/Dryer, beds, table/chairs, basic other furniture, etc) to
deliver directly to your home and fitted in. They rarely give out money,
but when they do, it has to be sent to the "responsible person" who
has endorsed your application to them. Another good source is the Anglian
Water Trust Fund which funds a lot more than most people think.
See the sample application to them in the Funding Pages. I'll put up
some samples of good and bad applications, so that you can have a chance
in making grant applications.
CV and work
|Get yourself a CV / Resume' made up and get several
photocopies of it (the jobcentre will often do this for your for nothing).
For job applications, it can be a great help if it's well laid out. There
is an example of a reasonably well laid out CV / resume' here.
The simple rules of making one of your own are :--
Give a bit of thought to how much independence your partner has developed whilst you were away. I say this because a hell of a lot of people (mainly guys) come out of prison and expect their relationship to carry on just the way it was before they went into prison (i.e. where they were ruling the roost and were the head of the house). But whilst you've been away, your partner has had to deal with everything that has been a problem, without any help from you (and probably no help from just about anyone else), so they have become independent and cannot just accept that you are coming on the scene and taking over everything. This leads to a LOT of emotional upheaval and arguments that (more often than not) ends up with the relationship falling apart.
So be prepared to be diplomatic and to compromise on what your partners lifestyle has become. Things are NOT going to be the same.
Disclosure of your criminal record
You will also need a disclosure letter for those companies that ask about your criminal record, but you only have to disclose it if you are asked for it. If you are not asked, then don't disclose it until the people you work for and with, have had a bit of time to get to know you, (if you then want to disclose your record to them at all - it's your choice). That way, they are less inclined to be judgmental about you as a result of what their perceptions would have been if they had made a judgment about you before they knew you. Here is an example of my own disclosure letter :--
To whom it may concern -
Dear Sir / Madam,
I have not been involved in drug taking or criminal offending since that time, nor have I the intention to do so in the future. Because of the life sentence parole issue, it would be a new criminal offence for me to withhold that information from you, hence my disclosure herein. I would hope that you could take the view that my criminal past was a phase I went through in my youth, and that it should not be an automatic bar to my being considered for the post for which I am applying now.
If you have any concerns arising from this issue, I will be happy to discuss the matter at interview.
© Researched, designed and built by Stuart Blackstock 2002 - 2011