10 March, 2006

They're at again

I can understand why so many people that claim government benefits get so mad. Last year I think I spent quite a few long days in my local job shop besides having to sign on. The latest fiasco from yesterday. Leaves me dumb founded. All I have done is everything they have asked of me. I have signed on sick because I have been unable to work or as they put it unable to seek work because of being on crutches. So I put in my sick note. Filled out their long winded forms once again and think to myself I'm so glad that's over. Now I can get my income support without any trouble. How wrong can you be? The answer is very.
No money in my bank account and nothing in the post. So yesterday I go to my local office early and sit there for hours. Then I get to see someone who tells me I haven't put in a sick certificate or filled out an income support form. I just sat there dumbfounded because this was the woman that took my forms from me and last week said my money would arrive on time. Now she's telling me I have to either get a duplicate certificate or a back dated one. So I can't get any money or a crisis loan to pay for gas , electric, or food or fares to get around because I, according to them don't have a valid sick certificate in. Now the best part, I can't see my doctor till Monday 13 because it's appointments only no exceptions unless medical emergency. So now I'm up that proverbial street without a paddle. It doesn't really bother me that much but it's the bureaucratic red tape that drives me nuts. Instead of just plain sensibility all I get is sorry but rules are rules. What would of happened if I'd have had children to look after? This is why we see people begging on the streets. Imagine being completely homeless and solely reliant on benefits to keep you going because you won't become a beggar because it's too degrading. Suddenly you don't get paid because of some bureaucratic error or mistake and there are a lot believe me. I've talked to homeless people that do get benefit and the trouble they have to go through is sometimes unbelievable. One homeless man had to fill in three income support forms in three weeks and only got paid when he went to a solicitor for help. One man who lives in a hostel in south west London hasn't been paid for eight weeks since he signed on because his medical card and old UB 40 they said wasn't sufficient id. The social security system seems to me to be under so much pressure to get things right that in fact it's not working. I'm hearing more and more stories from ordinary people about not being paid at all or not being paid their proper benefits or having to wait weeks and weeks. One woman who is a friend and employee of the job shop told me. That they are under staffed and that there is so much pressure to perform. That it's a miracle anyone gets paid in her job shop.
As the government get tough on fraud. I'm now beginning to wonder if all the red tape that has now been put into place affects the decisions that some social security workers are making because it seems to me as I inquire more, people who have appealed against decisions. A vast majority I have spoken to have actually won on appeal? With this government putting in place more rules and regulations. I am now beginning to wonder, Is this a system that's going to collapse eventually and will we end up with an American version of a welfare state?

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