Wednesday 5 April 2017

I, Daniel Blake made me angry......

At the weekend I watched the film I, Daniel Blake.....If you haven't seen it watch it. 

Daniel Blake has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie's only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn't know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man's land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of 'striver and skiver' in modern day Britain.

I smiled, laughed and cried but it really does show what is wrong with the benefit system. It really made me think about my life and how the benefit system messed me around and had me jumping through their hoops.

Many years ago I ended up moving back home with my parents and had to give up my job as it was too far to travel.....I then met a man and moved in with him and signed on Jobseekers allowance. I was happy to look for work then I fell pregnant with Becky and the job center decided then would be a good time to send me to a "job club" for 3 weeks. To keep my benefit money I had to go. It was fine for the first two weeks, even helpful. Applying for jobs, writing up a C.V then the third week came and they wanted to send me on an activity week which included abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing and sleeping the full week in a tent. I was suffering from morning sickness, tiredness and lots of other pregnancy symptoms. I had to go to the doctors for a sick note to say I couldn't go....I was 20 years old, not 12. It felt like all they were missing was a letter from my mother.....Like the one's she'd send to get me out of P.E.

I continued to sign on and the job center decided I still needed to apply for jobs....I would go to job interviews and say I was 15, 20, 25 weeks pregnant and the people giving the interview would look at me like I was an idiot. They didn't want to employ a pregnant woman which would be leaving when the baby arrived......

When I got to about 28 weeks pregnant the job center decided I couldn't find work! Doh! I was sent to apply for a training course. It was a childcare course. It sounded wonderful. I went for the interview.....The course started at the beginning of September. Becky was due on the 11th. They apologised for wasting my time.....It wasn't their fault it was the job centers fault. 

It really was a farce! I was wasting my time and money to go to these interviews where I had no chance of getting the job. I was jumping through all their hoops just so they could tick their boxes....

A good few years later when I was with Stu. Ellie was a newborn baby and the company he worked for closed the branch he worked at and was made redundant. We had to claim benefits again which turned into a joke. It took nearly 4 months to sort our claim out because they only read half the form we filled in. They had us down as just a single persons claim. We were so close to having to go to a food bank but luckily my dad helped us out with some money....Stu was spending more time chasing up the claim than actually looking for work. He managed to get a job with no help from the job center after a few months. Phew.

The whole benefit system is wrong.....The people who need the help don't get it....Those who don't need it use it to their advantage....

There is people I know who do fiddle the benefits. Becky's dad did for a long time so he didn't have to pay child maintenance....His partner at the time claimed everything so his income was classed as nothing. It was only when his partner became ill and he became her carer a couple of years ago he had to claim benefits in his name. I now get £7 a week. There are people I know who claim to be iller than they are and people who claim they are not working when they are....Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

I'd like to say sorry for turning this into a bit of rant but I am not!!


  1. I love films like this, they're always so well made. I guess I've been lucky to never need help from benefits, it sounds like a nightmare.

    Corinne x

    1. Being on benefits was a nightmare...I hope you never have to use them.
      Thank you x

  2. I haven't seen the film myself but can totally relate to this. When I was 18 and was pregnant with my eldest I got made redundant from my part time job so had to sign on and had a similar experience to you. X

    1. It is stupid. Instead of taking people case by case they try to treat everyone the same. Ugh. Thank you x

  3. Wow, that's written from the heart.
    I haven't seen the film but you've really opened my eyes to things. Sounds like you guys went through all the right hoops but were still thwarted. It's such a shame there are people who really need the support yet when others are fiddling the system I can't imagine how you tell the difference.