UB40…

Today I ‘signed on’ as a unemployed person. This entitles me to a small Jobseekers allowance, because of my contributions paid as contributions from my wages over the last twenty odd years.

I feel a song coming on;

I grew up in a Britain in which employment was a huge blight on society. This song became a kind of anthem for a generation, speaking about how people become less important than statistical processes.

I was reminded of this as today I received three letters from the benefits agency. They make absolutely no sense at all. Seriously- I would defy anyone to understand what they are trying to tell me. I understand something of the system, after all it was my job to support others through the morass previously, but even I was rather flummoxed. See what you think;

I am pleased to tell you that we can pay you jobseekers allowance from the 29th of July 2012. (Good, although I already knew that.)

You are not getting any more job seekers allowance because your partner is working for 24 hours a week or more (she is not, and we have told them several times, and in several ways that she is not.) If your partner is working for 24 hours a week or more you are not entitled to jobseekers allowance based on how much the law says you need to live on. (Huh?)

We cannot pay you jobseekers allowance from 30th January 2013. 

I could go on, but I am sure you get the point.

Official speak, designed to give information in a way that is all about the information giver, not the information receiver. Information given to manage comeback.

Perhaps they can give me a job redesigning their letters?

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