As I’m sure you all know, N is currently out of work and actively seeking employment. And when I say actively, I mean he’s bored out of his mind and hates being at home all day and is pretty much willing to take anything he can get at this point. It’s only been a week and a few days… I can only imagine how much worse this is going to get after another week or two!
Last week, he did what most of the unemployed in the UK do.. he went to the Job Centre and filed for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). It’s comparable to unemployment pay back in the USA but it doesn’t pay nearly as much. It’s basically enough for his half of the weekly shopping per week and maybe some change left over. It really isn’t that much. But it’s what we pay taxes for and it’s better than nothing and anyone’s who is unemployed is entitled to the funds.
Well, not everyone.
When he signed up for JSA he was told it was based on what he’d paid into the tax system and based (loosely) on household income and that it would be no problem to get him signed up. All he would have to do is come into the office every other week and let them know what jobs he’d applied for and just show a record of what he’d been up to–just like back in the US.
Today he got a letter stating he’d been rejected for his JSA. N immediately called the centre who wouldn’t discuss his case with him over the phone. So he left to go down to the centre physically to sort out the issue.
Why was he rejected? Well, for two reasons:
1. Because I’m employed full time. Nevermind the fact that I can’t sustainably support both of us for longer than two months and nevermind the fact that I pay out my backside for taxes in order for people like N to get their JSA. Oh, and nevermind the fact that even though I pay taxes here, I’m not entitled to any public funds because I’m not a resident here. So my tax money goes in and I never see the benefits from it ever again.
2. Because (most importantly, actually) his former employer who, despite as MUCH as I would LOVE to out him, shall remain nameless and initial-less, did not pay N’s taxes as he was responsible for doing, which means essentially that N has not paid any money into the system so the system can’t help him.
But wait… N has “email payslips” which, while not “official” state the amount of tax that was paid in. But the taxes weren’t paid in. So… that money went… where? You tell me–and I’m sure you’ve got the same ideas about where it went as I have. What a crook. I half hope he reads this, but the rest of me couldn’t give a crap.
Not only did N break his back for this guy, and for the last two months worked 10 and 9 hour days for the SAME pay in order to “justify” his paid holiday (which had also been deducted from his wages), but this same guy who used my husband also failed to pay his tax contributions and now we’re screwed because of it. (Mind you this is also the same guy who was taking out loans to pay N and then got rejected and thus couldn’t pay N on time in November, causing rent to be late and all sorts of other bullcrap.) On the one hand, I’d love to tell the ex-boss what I think of him and punch him in the nether regions. On the other, I know karma exists and I know he’ll get his someday, in spades. And I can’t wait for that day.
That’s where we are. While there are plenty of families getting free housing and checks every week simply because they don’t know the meaning of the words “birth control”, and while there are plenty of “disabled” people who are getting disabled pay (more than I earn in some cases) and giving dance lessons/working under the table–N and I are screwed. Lovely.
Maybe if I pop out ten kids I’ll get a nice mansion in a nice part of London and get a nice big fat check every week like these people, granted this article deals with housing claims, which N may or may not be entitled to, but you get the idea: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240285/Family-receives-279-000-housing-benefits-despite-Labour-pledge-curb-excessive-claims.html Then again, no… because I’ve actually worked and paid into the system. Normal people like us aren’t entitled to crap.
And before some of you get all bristly and bent out of shape about my scorn for people riding through life on the taxpayers’ dollar (er pound), know this: I realise that benefit thieves aren’t the majority–most people on benefits are legitimately down and out and need the help for whatever reason. I don’t begrudge them that; I know my family has been in that position and needed help once or twice. I’m not knocking people on benefits in the slightest and I don’t think they’re all crooks. But the people who are crooks are lower than low in my book and I can’t help but be cynical and snarky about them–especially given our current situation when we’re legitimately trying to get help for N who isn’t just sitting at home playing xbox all day.
But what do I know? Clearly, the government knows best.