About fifteen years ago I was involved in a local Community Transport scheme. Some well meaning individual from the local Volunteer Bureau had written to a TV charity and was given a Transit minibus, which came with strings attached. It had to have a management committee and a business plan, and I somehow found myself co-opted on to the committee as chairman.
We found someone who was willing to work on the day to day organisation and we soon came up against the problem of funding. Everyone thinks that having a community minibus is a great idea, but won't pay the true cost when hiring it.
We looked around for funding and our co-ordinator contacted the National Lottery. We received a pack the size of a telephone directory.
One thing soon became clear.
Grants are not given out according to need, but are granted according to one's ability to fill in the paperwork correctly. This I believe to be a universal truth.
I've been off work since last Autumn. I'm having treatment for CLL, a form of Leukaemia. I'm still employed but my firm have now stopped paying SSP, so I had to look for some benefits somewhere.
I'm not going to bore you about the phone calls, answering a questionnaire over the phone, getting a copy in the post and sending it to the local Benefit Office (Which is in Wellingborough, but the post goes to Birmingham and no, I don't understand why either).
After I'd sent my certificate and paperwork to Birmingham I received another letter asking for more paperwork. Another week went by when I received yet another letter containing a questionnaire.
I hate questionnaires. Which is why I spoke to someone in Natalie in Paisley when I first heard I wasn't getting SSP any more.
This time the questionnaire is about whether I need to go and have an assessment. Based on this box ticking, I may or may not receive benefits. I finally managed to fill it in without getting too stressed.
The post arrived as I finished filling in this booklet. I have a letter telling me that they will be paying me £65 a week.
But I may still have to go for an assessment.
Why is everything so complicated? Why the duplication of effort? Why is everything dependent on one's ability to fill in forms?
Benefits are not given out according to need, but are granted according to one's ability to fill in the paperwork correctly. This I believe to be a universal truth.
It really is a lottery