It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s now 20 years since we first created the Benefits and Work website. We’d love to hear how far back your memories of the site go and what it means to you.
We first registered the domain name benefitsandwork.co.uk in August 2002, but it took us a while to build our initial website. We did it ourselves using a programme called Microsoft Frontpage combined with an almost complete lack of technical knowledge. And it showed.
The first record of the site being online is on the archive website The Wayback Machine on 6 October 2002.
Back then we didn’t publish news, there was no newsletter and no forum.
But we did have guides to DLA, AA and incapacity benefit.
Many of the sites that we had links to on our home page have since disappeared.
Benefits Now, which allowed you to assess yourself for AA and DLA has long gone.
The DLA Group, a discussion forum for claimants, is also no more.
Lisson Grove Benefits Programme provides benefits calculation software that does still exist, but is due to reach the end of its life in March 2023.
Rightsnet, the site for welfare rights workers was already an old hand then and happily is still going strong.
Over that time many people have been involved with the site as volunteer moderators, writers, updaters, trainers, technical support and more.
And many more have become loyal subscribers, whose support is the only reason the site has survived for 20 years when so many others have disappeared.
So, we don’t suppose there’s anyone who remembers us from as far back as 2002 – we scarcely remember it ourselves.
But we’d love to hear from you in the comments below about how long you’ve been using the site and what part it has played in your life.