Debbie And Tony's Photographs And Memories The Life and Times of Debbe & Tony from Southampton, England
The Life and Times of Debbe & Tony from Southampton, England

Why Is It So Hard To Get Benefits In The UK?

It was back in the early 80’s when a colleague said to me “there is only one way to get anywhere in this world, and that’s to be a one legged black Jewish lesbian!“.

He was right of course! It’s the minorities that are eligible for benefits in the UK, not the ordinary people like you and me, who do everything the ethical way, but qualify for nothing.

Two weeks ago, having waited eight weeks to find out that I wasn’t eligible to receive job seekers allowance (unemployment benefit) since I hadn’t worked in the UK since I moved to the USA 15 years ago, I was advised to apply for Income Based Benefits instead. Well, since Debbie works full time, we don’t qualify for that either as I found out today! It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t earn enough to support us both, and barely managed to support herself on her own, the fact that she has a full time job pretty much nullifies our request. The online form did say that we might qualify for £103 ($150) between now and the beginning of April!  That’s about £4/week which is ridiculous.

It just seems really wrong, when on Debbie’s income we are forced to shop for the lowest prices and to live very frugally just to not run out of money at the end of the month, when there are so many thousands of people in this country who haven’t done a day’s work in their lives.   There are whole families now where the kids have no interest in studying for their exams at school.  Why?  Because nobody in their family works or has ever worked.  Their brother and sisters don’t work, neither do their parents, grandparents, uncles aunts or cousins.  They all live off benefits, and are doing much better financially than those who do in lower paid jobs, so why study at school if you have no intention of working either.

This country was no different 20 or more years ago when satellite television first came out.  Who were the first people to get the service?  The ones that were living in council houses, property owned for by the government and with their rents paid for by the government.  So, living for free, with unemployment benefits and free this and that, you could see the proliferation of satellite dishes growing weekly, whereas if you looked at other properties that were owned or rented by people that actually worked, it took years before they could justify buying the service.

The same is true now as well, who do you think buys most of the large high definition televisions in this country and a lot of other expensive items?

The UK benefits system is also geared up to provide support for immigrants and refugees.  If you come to this country with nothing, that’s ok, the government will provide you with a new house or apartment, money for food and other benefits, but the citizens and tax payers of the country qualify for pretty much nothing at all.   It’s downright disgusting, and while I don’t like the idea of having to claim benefits, both Debbie and I have worked hard all our lives, and when it comes to whether we qualify or not, I think we deserve something at least!

I know it’s a lot different in the USA, you get paid more in benefits, but it stops after 6 months (or 12 at the moment under some conditions).

I think the people over here who don’t do a day’s work ought to at least do something to earn the right to get benefits.  Maybe then some of them would want to find a job.  I don’t see why they can’t be made to do a number of hours of community service, cleaning the parks, trimming bushes, stopping cemeteries from getting overgrown, removing graffiti etc, all things that need doing and that the local authorities don’t have the money for.

Well over to you, what is your opinion on the benefits situation in the UK?  We would both be interested to hear other opinions.

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