I was made redundant in August, and as my wife works part time I am not able to claim Job Seeker's Allowance.

In fact, my wife works 16 and a half hours a week; if she worked just 16 hours a week then I could get benefit.

I have applied for so many jobs, and do have the qualifications to cover the type of work I have applied for, but due to the credit crunch there are companies who have laid off so many people that at the age of 58 I am classed as too old.

So why should there be such an age crunch? It is true that a company would employ a younger person rather than an older person so as to get more wear and tear out of the applicant, but do they have the experience and capabilities to do the work?

At the age of 58 yes, I may be a senior,but I can guarantee that I am a lot fitter than most that are younger than me and certainly I have the experience in my field.

The Government has set the retirement age to 65 for men, if you live that long, so I cannot retire.

It means my wife must cease her employment for me to obtain benefit, but the Job Centre Plus still insist that I sign on every two weeks, without receiving funds to get there and pay for parking, just to sign a piece of paper with nothing in return.

I have been able to receive a rent rebate,not 100 per cent, as I still have to contribute to the shortfall of the entire rent due,but how does someone make a payment when you have nothing coming in?

Yes, my wife's wages are taken into account but the rent is not the only thing we pay for.

There are people signing on who don't want to work and get all the benefits you can mention - me I don't want to sign on at all, I just want to work,but every time I apply it is the same old answer: 'We prefer someone younger.' In my case it is not the credit crunch affecting my life just my age.

How many others have the same problem?

TONY DUGARD, by email.