Sunday, 21 February 2010

Talking of Eastern Europeans, now, I wouldn’t want to be insulting and say that an Eastern European equivalent of trailer trash came into the office today with his landlord to query his benefit, because some readers may misunderstand and think that I am criticising all Eastern Europeans, which is certainly not the case.

Anyway, this Eastern European man, whose country of origin I will not elucidate upon, came into the office with his landlord to query his benefit. The problem in a nutshell:

He works the usual 16 hours, as do most of our claimants - enough hours to ensure that they don’t have to visit the Job Centre every fortnight to report on how many jobs they have applied for, but not too many hours that they can’t get any benefits - also, he receives tax credits to top up his income. Now, because his income from his 16 hour job combined with tax credits was quite high, our calculations showed that he could afford to pay some of his rent out of his earnings. Housing benefit would contribute towards his rent, but this claimant would have to pay the rest and he didn’t like that, and nor did his landlord, because the landlord was only receiving the value of the claimant's housing benefit and hence the claimant was not paying him his share of the full value of the rent for the home.

He sat there with a look on his face that I know well, a defiant glare, which when verbalised says, ‘I want what those people have.’ First he tried negotiating with my colleague, attempting to appeal to her better nature in order to receive more benefit; eventually the penny dropped and he realised that we could only pay the amount that the benefit regulations say we should pay, and so he turned to his landlord and said, “I’m not giving you a penny of it, try and evict me if you don’t like it!”

That was the moment that the landlord realised just how big a mistake he had made in his choice of tenants - the last drop of wax was burnt and the candle flame disappeared into a puff of smoke, all hope was extinguished from this landlords eyes.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Tales from Swedish Iraq or Iraqish Swede, ...

Tales from Swedish Iraq or Iraqish Swede, and, oh what a bunch of turnips we must be.

Today, an Iraqi born, Swedish person … Actually, let me start from the beginning:

A Little History
  • ‘The Iraqi embassy in Stockholm has issued thousands of passports based on false information, Swedish immigration officials have said.', 31 January 2007

Now I can’t be certain, but perhaps this is related to the fact that an observable proportion of people claiming benefits at the office where I work, are Iraqi born Swedish nationals.

Anyhow, that is not the problem, if they had come directly to the UK, not bothering with Sweden, sooner or later they would have been given British Nationality; however, what I do not understand is the sheer contempt that they display towards us when they are claiming benefit - I was always against the Iraq war, perhaps I was wrong.

Back to the Present Time

  • ‘In Sweden, they took 40 thousand Iraqi claims for benefit at the same time; and all of them were assessed within one day. You have taken over 3 months, and still I haven’t received any benefit,’ said my claimant with great annoyance (or perfectly acted annoyance.)

Well, it is good to see that we have so far made all the right decisions on at least one person’s claim, but I fear that sooner or later he will get all the money he wants, and when his children have grown up, and got their western education, he will move back to Iraq. Most asylum seekers, whose claims that I have dealt with, move freely back and forth to their homeland once they have secured their permanent leave to remain in the west and hence their slice of western wealth - which I understand, but I only wish it were the wealthy western business-people that they would take it from, and not us struggling tax payers, who are not due to retire until we are 70 because the national insurance system cannot cope with all the handouts that are being demanded.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Each day something happens, I feel like a galley slave waiting for the whip to fall on my back again after again; but what was my crime, when was my trial?

A man sits opposite me, he has just moved to the UK two months ago and is getting in to the cut and thrust of neo-British life by making his first benefit claim.

‘Do you have a worker’s registration card?’ I ask.

‘Yes, but I don’t have it with me, ‘ he replies.

‘I will need to see it,’ I say.

‘Why do you need to see it?’ he enquires.

‘I need to establish that you have a right to reside and claim benefits before I can assess your benefit claim,’ I reply.

‘But I am an EU citizen, of course I have the right to claim benefits in this country,’ he responds with an indignant confidence, which leaves me questioning whether or not I am being unreasonable when I try to establish the rights of a person that is claiming benefits from an economy that they are yet to contribute towards.

I am so looking forward to working until I am 70; as we have been told, the welfare state cannot support us now that we are living so long, particularly since all our national insurance contributions are going straight into the pockets of those that do not add to our economy.

End of rant.