27th November


‘The thing is, you’re not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance because your doctor has assessed you as not fit for work. He says you’ve got chronic back pain.’

‘That’s right.’

‘In that case you should be claiming Employment and Support Allowance, not Jobseeker’s Allowance.’

‘But when I applied for that before my claim was rejected, because I didn’t have a doctor’s line about my back at that point.’

‘You should have gone to your doctor first.’

‘I couldn’t get an appointment for four days and I was needing some money. So when my claim was rejected I went out looking for a job and I found one, a cleaning job, but I only lasted two days because of the back pain, so that’s why I’m here again. If I can’t get Jobseeker’s Allowance surely I should get the other one?’

‘Employment and Support Allowance?’


‘You’ll have to apply using this form.’

‘But this is the same form I already filled out.’

‘Yes, but your previous application was rejected. You have to apply again.
If your application is accepted you’ll start receiving Employment and Support Allowance.’

‘Do you know when it will come through? I’ve no money, you see.’

‘It depends how quickly the application is processed. It can take up to eight weeks.’

‘Eight weeks? But I’ve nothing to live on. No money at all. I’ll have to try for another job.’

‘But you’re not fit for work. If you get a job, that would affect your claim.’

‘Well, isn’t there something called a Hardship Payment? Could I apply for that?’

‘Are you homeless?’


‘Then you’re not eligible.’

‘But I’m in rent arrears. My Housing Benefit’s been cut because I’ve got an extra bedroom.’

‘You should move to a smaller property.’

‘I can’t. The council won’t let me move because I’m in rent arrears.’

‘You could move out altogether. If you were of no fixed abode then you’d be eligible for a Hardship Payment.’

‘Are you saying I should put myself on the street?’

‘It’s an option. Or you could get more ill and be hospitalised. Or you could die.’

‘Did you just suggest I should die?’

‘It would solve all your other problems.’

Reader: Iona Zajac
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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