Here’s another example of the utter dysfunction of the benefits system, from its myriad useless angles. I think we can safely say that we’ve reached the point where hardly an aspect of this bureaucracy is fit for purpose (see other articles I’ve posted recently for plenty more on that. The whole thing is out of control. It doesn’t even make sense). I’m pretty sure that I could run a better system myself out of a garage, pissed. I reckon I get two or three calls and/or emails a week about the sort of monumental bureaucratic mess described below at the moment. These situations require endless phone calls (and ages spent on hold), letters, challenges, visits to welfare advisers (if anyone can find them) and appeals to MPs and councillors. It never, ever ends.
These sorts of situations are also almost impossible for one person to deal with. That point needs to be made loud and clear. The calls take hours, as do the letters, application forms and time needed to source support information. Calls go unanswered and letters and certificates go missing, or aren’t acknowledged for ages. There’s no way that people can sort out problems of this magnitude by themselves these days. Finding a welfare rights adviser with the time to help is often just not a starter. Those services have gone, or are so oversubscribed that people no longer bother to try. I know this, because I’ve queued myself at places like the CAB and found all appointments gone by 9am.
I’ve just been talking with a woman I know well. She is 22 years old and has a four-year-old daughter. This young woman has about £20 a week to live on at the moment. Here’s a list of the way things are going for her with benefit claims at the moment. This could be anybody’s story, too. God knows I hear plenty similar.