actual correspondence with the social welfare office this week

Department of Social Protection,
Your Town,
Your County.

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http://www.welfare.ie

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Dear [Chip Monk],

I am writing to you about your claim for JobSeekers Benefit.

To qualify for this scheme you must meet certain conditions. For example:

  • You must be free to take up full-time work
  • You must be making real efforts to find suitable work. Suitable work means work that is appropriate for you taking into account your age, physique, education, where you live and your family circumstances.

I need to know if you continue to meet these conditions. Therefore please answer the questions on the enclosed form and return it to us within the next 14 days.

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Your payment will be affected if you do not reply within 14 days.

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Yours sincerely,

The Manager

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Name: The Chip Monk

PPS: xxxxxxxx

Telephone number: 086 xxxx xxx

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PART 1

1. What educational qualifications do you have?

None:

Primary: Yes

Second level: Yes

Inter/Junior Cert: Yes

Leaving Cert: Yes

Third Level: Yes

Details of Third Level Qualification: BA Hons, MLitt, HDip, MA [in profectus]

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2. Give details of any other qualifications you have, for example, trade qualifications, Safe Pass. _____________

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3. Do you have a driving licence? Yes: a provisional

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4. Do you have a CV? Yes (enclosed)

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5. When did you last work? August 26th 2011

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6. Who was your employer and what type of work did you do? The government. Temporary clerical officer.

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7. Are you free to take up full time work? Yes

If ‘No’, please state reasons ____________________________

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8. Are you looking for work? Yes

If ‘No’, please state reasons why not:_____________________

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9. If you cannot find work in your own occupation

What types of work would you do? Retail, sales, service industry, accounts, cleaning, childcare or anything else.

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10. If you cannot find work in the area in which you live are you prepared to travel outside the area to look for work? Yes

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11. Have you been offered part-time or full-time work since you claimed Jobseeker’s Benefit, Allowance or Credits No

If ‘Yes’, please give reasons why you did not take up this work: _____________________

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12. Have you registered with FÁS?  FÁS provides expert guidance, resources and training and access to job vacancies at home and abroad.

No, they don’t offer expert guidance, resources and training and access to job vacancies. And yes, I have registered.

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13. Have you spoken to a Facilitator at your Local Office, to a FÁS officer or to a Local Employment Service (LES) about work that might be available to a person with your qualifications, skills and experience? Yes

If ‘Yes’, please give details of the advice you got and what you have done to act on this advice: I was advised I MIGHT get a place on a WELDING COURSE in Ballyfermot (a location inaccessible by public transport from my home) in 18 MONTHS’ TIME.

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14. Have you done any FÁS courses or have FÁS offered you any training? No

If ‘Yes’, please give details: ____________________

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15. What else have you done to find work since you began signing for a Jobseeker’s Payment or credits? Everything I could possibly think of, including beginning another MA at night. 

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16. Why do you think you have not succeeded in getting work? SEE ATTACHED NOTE:

The Irish economy is engaged in arguably the largest redistribution of wealth in the history of modern economics. The agreed moderate prediction for what our bank bailout will cost is €70 billion. That is: €70,000,000,000.

The average industrial wage before the boom was €36,000. Were I to earn this much money in a job, I would be comfortable beyond my wildest expectations. To put these two figures in perspective, 70 billion euros would give just under 2 million people (1,944,444) a job at €36,000 a year.  SEE ATTACHED GRAPH.

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N.B. The graphs seem to indicate that in the face of the government’s decision to bail out the banks, I, along with anyone else seeking an average job, am simply invisible.

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As the Irish government reorientates its budgets to pay this massive amount of money to the markets to support banks that were criminally mismanaged and utterly corrupt in their methods, it redirects money that was spent on providing services (through human beings who were paid to do those jobs) and developing infrastructure (that allowed people to do things that generated profit and thus created jobs). This increases the number of people out of work and hence reduces the amount of money being spent in the economy and the amount of money available to grow the economy. Hence, the economy has contracted in what is commonly called a recessionPeople don’t have money to spend. Money is not spent. Jobs are lost. No new jobs are created. Except money is being spent. On our behalf. To shareholders in banks that by right should have gone bankrupt. So why? Why do I not have a job? This is why I think I have not succeeded in getting work.

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PART 2

Please give any details here of any jobs you have applied for recently and any documents you got in response to your enquiry.

Here, I outlined 7 of my most recent applications from the last 2 weeks and attached all relevant documents, including correspondence from employers and notices of rejection. 

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PART 3 DECLARATION

I declare that I am capable of work, available for full-time work and genuinely looking for work.

I also declare that the information I have given on this form is true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I know that it is an offence to make a false statement or to withhold information for the purpose of getting a jobseeker’s payment. I will tell the Department of any change in circumstances that may affect my claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit, Allowance or Credits.

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Signed: The Chip Monk

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Date: 5/3/2012


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56 Responses to actual correspondence with the social welfare office this week

  1. Yvonne says:

    Did you actually send this? This is brilliant

  2. kieran roberts says:

    Got the same form in Jan. If i get any more forms in future i will answer them as above. Nice 1

  3. Thanks. Sorry to hear you got one too, Kieran. Question 16 actually ruined my week and demotivated me to the point of depression. I actually shook with anger while writing my answer!

  4. Julian Reischl says:

    You’re one step away of realizing the Basic Income Guarantee is in fact exactly what you’re suggesting. (And I’m all for it!)

  5. […] READ ON: Actual Correspondence With The Social Welfare Office This Week (Nothing Left For Caesar) […]

  6. irlandesa says:

    tsk tsk tsk …

    The actual correct answer to Q. 16 is “because I am a lazy scrounger”.

    Seriously though, well done.

  7. Kate Cassidy says:

    @the chip monk Well done you.

  8. TripsGallen says:

    Well done you!

    Hope you do get a job.

  9. Nialll says:

    No.16 is a beaut! nice work

  10. Figlen says:

    It’s a thing of beauty. Nice one. And good luck with your search!

  11. Art says:

    I am sure there are people out there who would pay you a small sum to fill out this form on their behalf. Could be an interesting career move, excellent for your statistical/analytic skills and give you more experience in creative writing.

    Well done!

  12. Conor says:

    By clicking ‘like’ I mean I appreciate this for what it is. There is obviously nothing to like about this. Good luck with all your future dealings with the dungeon cleaners in charge of responding to this.

  13. Mick Tanner says:

    Maybe if you spent less time Blogging and more time working … another “victim” – Enough already, there’s tons of jobs out there! Maybe not the one you want granted, so what? You are going to wait for what we know is a failure of a system to find you a job? Please…

  14. Punt Printer says:

    Well done. Good luck with everything.

  15. deezoid says:

    Well done you! Best of luck.

  16. John O'Shaughnessy says:

    Manual:

    Under Article 4, subsection 12: Civil Servants are not allowed a sense of humour.

    Under Article 17, subsection 3: Civil Servants are not allowed to think for themselves.

    Form B6 for reply to ‘troublemakers’ is available from your supervisor.

  17. Greggo says:

    Well done! These days its important that there are people like you who can articulate their anger about all the absurdities resulting out of this enormous rip off… when the lie gets so big, it don´t make a noise…
    You might find this site helpful and interesting: http://www.webofdebt.com/

  18. Patsy says:

    amazing well done, I hate those stupid forms!

  19. Sam says:

    Nicely done.

  20. Trevor J says:

    “MA (in profectus)”? Really? I generally don’t list academic qualifications I haven’t actually already earned. But that’s just me.

    The basic Income Guarantee mention in another comment is a ridiculous notion for economic illiterates.

    Best of luck with the job-hunting.

  21. Shane says:

    Fair play Chip Monk. Great reply to 16. Brightened my day. I hope you get a job soon.

  22. CT says:

    I had a similar conversation with somebody from permanent TSB when asked

    Why did you miss that mortgage payment ?

    I suggested, she may have seen on the news that there had been what one might describe a decline in the economy, which has lead to me having less customers, and being self employed I cannot sign on, and if I did I would be entitled to………. nothing.

    So I chose to squander what money we had to feed the familly and pay the electricity bill with what little money I had left.

    Leaving no money left to make the mortgage payment unless she knew of the location of a money tree, or some way of pulling additional cash out of my ass.

    She didn’t see the funny side

    If you didn’t laugh you would etc.

    Keep up the good work, it really is bizarre they keep up these systems when clearly they are desgined for the people who never did or want to work. Not the people who currently find themselves in difficulty.

    Civil sevices wankers

  23. Brid says:

    Well done.

  24. sycopat says:

    This is brilliant, well done.

  25. Sending this to my daughter. She will need it when she finishes working in Spain in June where she went cos there was no work here when she graduated last summer, after 4 years degree and one year portfolio course to get in to degree. She does not get paid over the summer and will not have a job here to come to. She will have no savings because Spanish wages are just enough to live on and save a fare back on. Thank you, chippy. especially answer number 16.

  26. getout-lifeistooshort says:

    move to london. it’s not easy at the start but you have a life here, a very good one.

  27. Heriss Serrano says:

    Dear Mr Monk
    I am formally requesting permission to use your answer to Q16 when I receive this form.
    Yours Admiringly
    Heriss Serrano.

    PS i think this answer should be used for all stupid social welfare questions.

  28. cmlw85 says:

    Great replies – Did you actually still get your money or were you cut off?

  29. Brian says:

    Very good chip monk, I enjoyed the read at the socials expense,. But you hit th nail on the head, asking questions like that and they already know the answers,. Fair play again kid ;)

  30. Paula Doran says:

    Love it, love it, love it!

  31. mike craig says:

    Brilliant!

  32. Gavin Watts says:

    fantastic reply i take my hat off to you!

  33. leothegeek says:

    Brilliant. Anyone would be mad not to hire you. Unless of course they were public sector workers who might actually be shown to be incompetent by your brilliance. Best of luck with the search.

  34. Pauline Byrne says:

    To CT – No need to be so nasty about Civil Servants. They are doing a fabulous job at reduced pay, reduced pension, reduced work mates.

    When the country was thriving no one wanted to work for the Civil Service, the lower grade workers, who are the ones who take all the c*ap from the publice, were laughed at for working for peanuts, were told by their friends in the building,services etc industries, that they would not get out of bed for the lousy pay Civil Servants received.

    The worm has turned, those who spent all they got on frivilous extravagancies, like the multiple holidays, flashy cars etc are now having to live on a reduced wage, or a Social Welfare payment which the people who are still working, albeit for small wages, are funding.

    Those Forms which are sent to people on Jobseekers Benefit, Allowance or Credits are to ensure that they are ‘ JOBSEEKING ‘ as the name of the social welfare payment suggests.

    It is not sent to anger demoralise or intimidate.

    Just fill it in honestly and there is no problem with it. Not a lot to ask for, is it?

  35. Matt says:

    Blah blah blah. Just go get a fucking job.

  36. mrsourpussy says:

    I don’t really see what’s so bad about a WELDING COURSE. Shaking with anger while answering questions on a stupid form? Well well well, somebody has led quite the protected life so far, it seems.

  37. Mmm. I’d love to do a welding course actually. I’d take any course that was offered. Sadly no course was offered though. It was highlighted as the only course that might be available in 18 months’ time…in a location that would take me 2 hours to commute to each way.

    The best advice here has been to go get a job. I’ll go do it in a few minutes.

  38. Richard Cronin says:

    Hmm i bet your a Presbyterian? You are arent you?!

  39. Are you talking to me or somebody else, Richie?

  40. B!g Al says:

    I’ve had similar experiences with this state department myself since I was made redundant last year. Most recently, after letting them know I was accepted on to a Springboard course and providing all the requested documentation and that I would not be available to sign on the assigned date, they cut me off. After I investigated this, they eventually took my call and were able to tell me that they had either never received or lost the relevant documentation so I must return to their offices and go through the procedure again.
    I don’t blame the clerks (although a more helpful attitude and polite manner would be nice in some cases) but something is very obviously lacking in the systems approach to dealing with citizens who find themselves having to avail of this right.
    Well done for a well written, entertaining and common sense reply to SW. I hope they take it in a sensible manner and don’t penalise you for your candour.

  41. bernie says:

    Your Brilliant, thank you for standing up for those of us who are too polite and afraid of losing our money to speak up.
    I’m in the same position as you except I have 4 children to support and my husband is on reduced hours in his job. Its soul destroying to walk into that office and explain yourself to people who are only looking for a reason to black ball you.
    I’m saving this and sending it to my office next time they try that shit on me.
    Best of luck in getting a job.

  42. Keith says:

    The shame will be, if he’s penalised, is that he’s just answered all the questions honestly and clearly as they requested.

    If anything, you probably made some minimum wage clerk’s day a little brighter when he got to read that amongst the piles of misery they have to wade thru.

    I saw a rather fine analogy about jobs recently, in hiding a bottle of moonshine in a park with a dozen tramps. Sure, one of them is getting hammered tonight, but still blamed are the losers, you knew eleven of them were going without no matter how hard they tried, but still choose to make out that they were just lazy, and pretend they all could have got a bottle if only they’d tried.

    To anyone yelling ‘Get a job’ – offer him a job then. Yours will do.

    Also does my head in to see the sick and disabled demonised as slackers, when surely it’d be easier and cheaper to just get recently employed people back into work than throw cash at shoehorning the disabled into unsuitable positions, just because the Daily Mail says so.

    David Cameron, a worker and a disabled guy are in a room with a pack of biscuits.

    Dave leans forward, shakes the top one onto the table as it’s broken…pockets the rest and turns to the worker.

    “Watch out, that layabout’s after your biscuit.’

  43. Babs says:

    Nice one Chip monk!
    I left Ireland traveling with my redundancy, and after being out of the country “too long” was given another type of form to fill out, that I guess they give to people who are not Irish. It asked, why have you come to Ireland, in which I answered “Because I’m Irish”
    I too like to fill out forms like you do. Like when asked to fill out what work I have looked for…I named out a few, adding emails I got saying I was not getting so much as an interview, I added “short of selling my self on the streets, I do anything”
    I’m sure you have applied for jobs, like me, anything & everything! So like you, I’ll just run along and work, at the soooo many jobs out there! Note: we are not the only people applying for the jobs, and the whole country & their mothers are all going for the same positions. Get a job? get a life…”there are no jobs” ‘coz there are so many people going for jobs, even the ones in Mac Donalds…!

  44. Christine says:

    Jobseekers allowance is a joke. I was on it for 6 months in between jobs and after I paid for rent and bills, I had all of 20 euro left a month. I appealed and was told it would be 6 to 8 MONTHS before anyone would even look at it but it would probably be denied. So I was expected to starve in the mean time. I had no redundancy, i was just “let go” and had to use every penny of my savings to survive and look for work. The people in the dole office DO NOT do a good job, they stood behind the counter, chatting loudly about a birthday party that evening while nobody was getting served at the counters, they never answer phones and I am very curious as to why you can’t sign on at your local office.. it makes no sense to make people spend 5 euro (now MORE) getting in and out of the city when they haven’t got the money to spare. If I get let go again, which is most likely as the company I’m at is about to go under, I’m going to answer as you did. Maybe they might actually realise how hard it really is out there.

  45. Richard Cronin says:

    You!

  46. breda murphy says:

    ONE OF THE BEST LETTERS ,THAT I EVER READ AND I WOULD LIKE A COPY PLEASE.

  47. Moriss says:

    do you realise that if the government does not bail out banks people will lose a lot of money and the country will default?

  48. Susanne McAllister says:

    I empathize entirely with your situation.
    I was providing consultancy in sustainable construction methodology during the halcyon days of the Celtic Tiger, fighting mandarins in the DOE every step of the way to raise standards and accept CE certified products while they protectively demanded NSAI approvals when we don’t even have testing facilities in Ireland. Never-the-less, I made a living. But the crash & burn of the bubble cut me off at the knees, as it did scores of the engineering & architectural firms we dealt with.
    Many of my friends, and own son, have had to emigrate to find employment.
    That the banks are being bailed out instead of money being put back into growth producing, employment generating activities is criminal.
    I hope your letter gets picked up and is printed verbatim in the national press.

  49. Sad Clerical Officer says:

    Christine, I would gladly give you my job in the dole office if I could sign on for €188 a week and get a medical card, no household charge, rent relief, a payment for school clothes for my kids, fuel allowance,exceptional needs payments etc. But unfortunately ‘they’ the Govt. did not permit me pay a full PRSI contribution when I asked to, so I can not ever collect ‘dole’ payment, and will be elegible for a paltry pension of approx €198 when I retire, after 35 years working in the same job.

    I personally treat every person who attends the office as I would a member of my family, with courtesy, respect and sympathy.
    No one has ever left my hatch crying or upset, unlike the way I have been treated where I have been brought to tears by angry nasty people who think I am personally responsible for their unemployment and should be treated as dirt.

    I do a job as I am instructed to, I send out forms as necessary, I expect they will be filled in as required if the person is to keep signing on for Jobseekers Benefit/Allowance. If they are no longer unemployed or no longer looking for work this will be identified on the form.

    I think the taxpayers of this country would expect me to do my job properly and ask people on Jobseekers payments to answer these questions and not abuse the staff who are required to ask them.

    If you have had a nasty experience in a ‘Dole’ office you are entitled to make a complaint in writing to the Manager of the office. A form is available for this, just ask for it. Send it directly to the manager by post if you feel if will not be taken seriously by the junior staff.

  50. A note for CT and other self-employed people whose income has dropped – as mine has. It is a little known secret, but you ARE entitled to sign for means-tested Jobseeker’s Allowance. If your income has dropped significantly, it is worth getting assessed, as you may be entitled to a payment which can make the difference between feeding your children and paying your bills or not. Also, depending on income, you may be entitled to a medical card, or mortgage interest allowance, or back to school allowance, all of which make a significant difference.

    I do think Sad Clerical Officer above has been treated unfairly in the matter of making PRSI contributions. It is even sadder, though, if we allow these bureaucratic obstacles put in our way to build up our resentments against one another. Often self-employed, unemployed, and employed are part of the same household, sharing the same bills. Sometimes, they are the same person at different times of the year. Public servants and private employees need each other, and we all benefit from putting enough money in every pocket (through our welfare system), to keep people from starving, and hopefully from violence or depression. The money that goes into people’s pockets from the welfare budget, seldom stays there, anyway, it gets into the regular economy pretty quickly. Taking money out of welfare recipients’ pockets takes it out of the economy, especially the local economy.

    We are all in this together, and the only lasting solutions will be the ones we make for ourselves when we rediscover that we are sovereigns, not serfs.

  51. PS – forgot to say – OP was brilliant. I absolutely appreciate the shaking with anger bit. What has been done to us as a nation is immoral. Vincent Browne seems to be the only journalist I’ve seen, who is as outraged by it all as I am.

  52. anita says:

    Well done you ..im sick of listening to the government ministers and ( pompous people out there who are lucky enough to have a job )talking about cutting payments because people wont work. they obviously haven a clue what its like to A. living on a social welfare payment and B. looking for a job in the currant climate.

    I believe this should be a condition before they are allowed govern our country !

    These are outdated standarised forms they are sending out but no harm in sending standarised replies either! ….if you dont mind ill think ill copy and send some out :)

    PS hope you get a job soon !!

  53. Christine says:

    Sad Clerical Officer, a dole of €188 a week would be a dream… I would be able to live off that NO problem – I do not qualify for a medical card (wasn’t told why, was just refused.) I didn’t get rent relief as my landlord doesn’t accept it, and (i’m not 100% sure about this part) as far as I’m aware, you don’t have to pay the household charge if you rent, as its not your house. I do not have children(I could NEVER afford to have one), do not get fuel allowance or anything other than €105 euro a week basic dole.I don’t understand how someone can look at how much your rent and bills are and decide you’re only worth 5 euro more a week when some junkie gets huge benefits.. but I’m getting off topic.
    I am sorry, I didn’t mean ALL employees – I’m sure you’re like myself and working your little butt off to make a living – I meant just the people I had to deal with. I didn’t raise any issue because it really felt pointless. I had to go to 3 different offices to find the correct one and each person i dealt with looked at me like a pile of paperwork they didn’t want to deal with, and shrugged me off to another office (the wrong one a few times).

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