When men were being discharged from the services at the end of the Great War it was recognised that many men would struggle to find work and some sort of unemployment benefit was needed for men whilst they looked for a position. The scheme allowed men to draw funds equivalent to 13 week’s wages during their first 26 week’s out of the military. Men were entitled to 24s a week, and women to 20s. In order to process this, every leaving serviceman and woman was given a special book covering this. It had space to record a serviceman’s name and number, his unit, trade and date of birth on the cover and was stamped by the issuing depot, here it is for an acting corporal from the RAF, born in 1894 and who was demobbed at Crystal Palace:
The inside of the cover gives details about the scheme and how to claim funds. This policy was issues in 1919 and expired on 20th January 1920:
Inside the book there are a set of forms to be completed each week that money was awarded, with a counterfoil to allow proper auditing. Each page is double sided with space for the holder and the issuing body to write in details, stamp it etc.:
More details on the specifics of the scheme and rules around it and what can and can’t be claimed:
The original scheme was to last six months, however the high levels of post war unemployment saw the scheme extended so that they claim for an additional six months, but at a reduced rate of 20s for men and 15s for women. This was discussed in parliament in April 1919:
The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Robert Home)
The original scheme for payment of unemployed donation provided that during the period of twenty-six weeks following on the cessation of hostilities, unemployed persons, unable to find employment, might obtain assistance to the extent of thirteen weekly payments. Many persons found no employment and took the donation every week in the first thirteen weeks. When almost thirteen weeks had elapsed, and there was no appearance of any revival of trade, while unemployment was increasing, the Government decided to make payments at a reduced rate for thirteen additional weeks, but under the arrangement that only twenty-six payments in all could be made within the year from 21st November, 1918 —thirteen at the original rate and thirteen at the reduced rate. In order to obtain a continuance of the donation, however, it is necessary for the applicant to present his or her case to the local advisory committee and satisfy them of the genuineness of the claim. The weekly rates of donation for civilian workers during the second period are 20s. for men, 15s. for women, and half these rates for boys and girls respectively, together with supplementary allowances in respect of dependent children under the age of fifteen.