Tuesday, 10 June 2014

An observation from the edge

                Life on the dole is not quite the experience that I expected.

                I did not once in my whole career moan about folk on benefits. Fraudsters are a different matter, but people who are entitled to it, I have always advocated, should jolly well get it. My recent encounter with Jobcentre+ has done nothing to change my view. If anything, I am now as angry with DWP almost as much as those incompetent numpties at HMRC. I’m proud that I at least had the good fortune to work for an agency with credibility. Just as I’m sure that that’ll be the case until they sell it off.

                I haven’t signed on for the purpose of getting any money. As a man of leisure of three years standing, I haven’t, obviously, been credited with any National Insurance contributions in that time. On reflection, I perhaps should have signed on straight away but the thought of doing so when we had money coming out of the wazoo seemed to me unconscionable. Now the gelt is all but gone. I have a part-time job and a bit of money from my other gig as a private residential landlord. It’s just that with the taxman after me for big numbers and arrogant politicians claiming that the good times are back, I thought the time right to set the record straight.

                After signing on online, I got an appointment to attend the Jobcentre in Kirkwall. ‘Bert’ is an OK guy, helped me through the application and handed me the forms I’d need to complete to show that I was actively looking for employment. It’s a fair enough request. I don’t have a plan to return to servitude, but if the ideal position comes to up, I could do that for a few years. Basically though, who needs that shit?

                So for no benefit from the benefit system that I happily contributed to for thirty years, I’m at a loss how to proceed. If I continued to ‘claim’ to be out of full time employment, which I have to concede is the truth of the matter, I have to regularly post (at a minimum of fifty three pence a hit for the stamp) a declaration to DWP. Not only that, but every time I change my work days or anything else happens that changes my weekly earnings (which generally fluctuate with arrhythmiatic certitude) I am obliged to phone them on a premium rate number to keep them in the loop. 

                What sort of scam are DWP running here?

                It’s a shame that the truth is such an expensive commodity. Don’t believe jobless figures. Trust that there are a number of people who CAN’T AFFORD to be registered unemployed. Don’t believe that those on benefits don’t deserve it. In the last two weeks, I can’t remember ever having to work so hard. 

                And for what?

                From my experience, I haven’t a blinkin’ clue!