Rage II

Just one way the Government destroys savings, and drives people to food banks…

We do not have a benefit for people unfit for work. We have a benefit for people who score fifteen points on a very restrictive test, which may not include some registered blind, or even people incapable of living without a carer. So people unfit for work get refused ESA.

They go to the jobcentre, and are asked what kind of work they are looking for. If they know the game, they can say that there must be work they can find, and they will do anything they are qualified for, but they cannot walk 200m or stand for more than half an hour (which would have qualified them under the old Incapacity Benefit test, but scores no points now). They have to look for work, and will likely be sanctioned, but will get something.

But some say they are not fit for work, but cannot get ESA. They are then refused any income at all, because to qualify for JSA you have to be “actively seeking work”. They are sent back for another ESA medical, which may be delayed for weeks, and which they will likely fail. No-one has to tell them how the system works. This is how the system works, to pay people with no money nothing, so their debts will mount, and they may lose their homes.

S said she saw someone like this when she went to her ESA medical, and I feel impotent rage and hatred. She knows this, but I feel the need to explain it again. Such anger!

I wonder if my “thinking emotionally” is the effect of my powerlessness. The person with power makes a decision emotionally, then rationalises it, and has the power to put it into effect. I, having little power, go along with that, until I can go along with it no more, and have an emotional irruption. He then can show that his rationalisation, being “rational”, is superior to my emotional thinking. All I can do then is sulk, or fail to co-operate.

Not understanding my phone- why would the screen go blank, while I am phoning?- I failed to ring off, and have used seven hours out of five hundred minutes on one phone call. I am glad I found this before going to bed, or I would have had a large bill. I thought again of those people fruitlessly claiming ESA and cried a little over it.

It is my own powerlessness at which I rage.

I have chosen these Degas bathers because they look like still lives- especially the first, with that table slashing through the picture, and the jugs and brush which might appear in any other nature morte.

Degas, woman sponging her back

5 thoughts on “Rage II

  1. The welfare system in NZ is heading along similar lines too. The only benefit now available is esentially a “returning to work” benefit, which means you have to be actively seeking work no matter your disability or illness. There was the recent case of a terminally ill woman who had her benefit cut because she failed to report to Work & Income (the change of name from Department of Social Welfare speaks volumes) because she failed to attend a a scheduled appointment. She was in an ambulance on the way to hospital!


    • Ours is “Work and Pensions”- and the pension age gets ever higher, too. It used to be that benefits were paid according to the age of the elder of a couple, but now the younger- so until both you and your partner are over pension age, the more generous means test for older people does not apply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here our National Superannuation (old age benefit) is paid to every individual once they reach 65, regardless of marital status, income or wealth, or if you are living in a relationship or not.

        All other benefits have been combined, so regardless of whether one is unemployed, ill or disabled, the same rules apply. One must be seeking work. Evidence to the contrary is likely to result in suspension of the benefit until the “terms and conditions” are met.


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