The benefits system is driving me crazy

I have two responses to George Osbourn’s statement that some people are on benefits as a “lifestyle choice”:

  • I can’t believe anybody would spend their lives trying to fight their way through this system by choice. The Job Centre network is so appallingly planned and implemented, stuffed with people who give contradictory advice at every turn, that it’s driving me crazy. Case in point: I was advised to go on the wrong benefit yesterday – I realised the mistake, not the Job Centre, and am now trying to rectify it. I need to speak to Lewisham directly (and about another issue, urgently) but I can only speak to a call centre, which can’t help me, and can only attempt to put me through. Except Lewisham is constantly engaged, they say they can’t give me any direct numbers (apart from that one guy a month ago who did do precisely that), and there’s nothing I can do other than sit here all day until I get through.
  • This being the case, perhaps some people end up spending the equivalent of a full-time job trying to navigate the benefits system just to get their £65 a week.

I wrote a post for Stable and Principled yesterday about how I’ve ended up on benefits and my reaction to Nick Clegg’s stupid comments about welfare. I’m not posting it here – it’s too depressing – but there’s the link if you want it.


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