At the end of April I signed off and became self-employed. The DWP, did pay me benefits for the period they were suspended over Christmas and New Year, the payment coming mid January long after I would have started digesting my organs had I not managed to borrow some money. I finally had to ask my mother who is a pensioner and manages to put away £10 per week or so in case of such eventualities (bless!).
I found myself slowly approaching the realization that a basic assumption I had held for as long as I can remember was simply fantasy. It may sound naive to many but I had always believed that welfare benefits in the UK did provide a safety net, even if it was a long was down until you ran into it; I had assumed that if you could fill out the paperwork and were mentally stable enough to be left at large and were prepared to cooperate to some extent then you would not actually go hungry. I understand that this is not the case, maybe it never has been, but it certainly isn’t now in 2015.
I never received any compensation of course, or reimbursement of bank charges for exceeding my over draft limit, and it took a long time for the DWP to acknowledge my letter. By the time they did, I had become quite weary and as mentioned above, no longer felt I really expected anything from them. I suppose I began to see the DWP as so unfit for purpose that they no longer seemed to be the aggressor but had rather begun to acquire the characteristics of the wounded animal in the last stages of a bullfight, still dangerous and intent on terrible cruelty but more likely to provoke feelings of pathos rather acts of aggression. Essentially, writing to them in the way I did led to their regarding me as trouble that they really couldn’t be bothered with and so they left me alone for a while. But it had only bought me a few months and by April were starting to bother me and the beginning of the new tax year seemed like a good time to look at tax credits as a feasible way of making the transition towards independence through self employment.