"Jobcentre cancelled my benefits and told me to sell my possessions", claims jobseeker
A MAN desperate to find work has been told to sell his possessions by Jobcentre staff to plug the gap in his finances after they cancelled his benefits.
Alan Channing, from Totterdown, claims a member of staff gave him the advice after he was left high and dry by the benefits office.
His allowance was suspended after his adviser believed Mr Channing was not looking for work, despite him handing countless CVs out across town.
Fed up with his treatment and bewildered by the suggestion he should sell his belongings, Mr Channing told an employee he would contact The Post.
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Mr Channing then claims he was threatened by a member of staff that his benefits would be cut if he went to the press.
The 33-year-old former bin man was left struggling to believe what had taken place while facing the reality of being cut off by his phone and internet providers with no money for bills.
He told The Post: "I first received a letter from them a few weeks back saying they would stop my money for a week after a meeting I had.
"At the meeting the guy told me I hadn't done enough and he told me he was stopping my benefits.
"I couldn't believe it because I had been doing the same as I had been for the previous weeks. I printed out a load of CVs and I had handed nearly all of them out.
"When I spoke to someone at the Jobcentre and explained my situation they told me it wasn't their problem.
"The man told me to sell some belongings to pay the bills."
Mr Channing said he had done "everything they had asked" and saw no reason why they had cut his allowance in the first place. He said: "I'm doing everything right but they are just not willing to help."
After Mr Channing had told the adviser that he was thinking about talking to The Post, he said he received a call on his mobile from a member of staff saying: "If you do, we won't help you any more."
Clare Djordjevitch, a Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman, said there was "no record of Jobcentre Plus staff telling Mr Channing to sell his possessions or not to go to the press".
She said she would have to check back to confirm what calls had been made and when.
She added that Mr Channing's benefits had been suspended as he was not fulfilling the requirements.
She said: "It's absolutely right that when people claim Jobseeker's Allowance they stick to the contract they make with us. The conditions that go with that ensure people aren't taking advantage of taxpayers' money.
"We take care to ensure people understand what is expected of them and encourage them to take up all the help that is available to them so they can get back to work.
"Sanctions are applied when people have not adhered to their jobseeker obligations. If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim they can appeal."