• Jamie McCarthy

Stories From the U.K. 'Benefits' System: 3.

19th October 2016.

'Well I'm afraid this demonstrates a pattern of unemployment at this time of year that you should have taken into account in your budgeting.'

'I've signed-on once, for four weeks in the last fifteen years ... yes it was at the same time of year, but I'd say fourteen years of not signing-on at this time of year is more of a pattern.'

'Well - you could always appeal my decision.'

'Oh. Do you think there might be a basis to overturn your decision then?'

'Well, yes, there might be.'

'I'm sorry ... I don't understand. If you think there might be a basis for going against your decision, why are you making it? Wouldn't it be better to save everyone the hassle of the appeal process?'

(Silence ... then ...) 'Well as I say - this represents a pattern of seasonal unemployment.'

'So you're suggesting I could appeal your decision?'

'Or you could write to your MP. Some people's decisions have been overturned by their MP intervening.'

'And you think that might work in my case?'

'It might well do.'

'Erm ... so why would you make a decision that you think my MP's intervention might force you to overturn? Why not just make a better-informed decision?'

'Well, I'd have to do a lot of work to look into it all.'

"Forgive me, but as the decision maker, isn't that what you're paid to do?’

'Well as I say - this represents a pattern of seasonal unemployment' ...

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