Terrance Gonzo is a struggling writer and Universal Credit is a universal arseache

Greetings Travellers and Lovers

How the devil are you?

Today, a tale from our boy, Terrance Gonzo, the man who wrote Terrance Gonzo’s Asylum For The Half-Baked. It’s a fine book. Dark, funny and at times, quite painful. But our boy TG courts difficulty. Unwttingly, mind, but still.

Anyway, in about March of last year, as he was putting the finishing touches to said book (so he assured us), he took a little trip to Vietnam & Cambodia. He thought he might relocate out there, but a burgeoning romance brought him back (that’s for another time).

So he was away for about two months, came back, refreshed, finished his book, and decided to move to London (on account of the romance).

Whether you live here or not, you’ll be aware London is not famed for its cheapness, so though he’s working, TG needed a bit of help from the government, and applied for Universal Credit.

Anyone not from the UK reading this may wonder what the hell this is. Well, it’s the brainchild of our truly wonderful Conservative Party (seriously, who votes for these guys?). The aim is to ‘simplify’ the benefits system, so you can imagine how that went…

TG was told that because he’d been out of the country – over a year ago – for a couple of months, they would have to investigate his right to live in this country. This despite him showing his UK Passport and Driving License to all and sundry down the job centre.

The interview to determine whether TG had the right to reside in the UK (conducted by someone from Sierra Leone, who, to her credit, found the whole rigmarole as idiotic as our boy) comprised questions like:

  • Have you brought your relatives from abroad?
  • Did you contact anyone in the UK about work before you came here?
  • How much property do you own in your country?

Repeatedly shouting ‘I’m from Britain’ was not recordable on the form.

Long story short, it took him three weeks to find out he was eligible to live here.

He was then told that as a self-employed person he had to make £1000/month to qualify.

He was then told that if he earned £1000/month, he would not be entitled to UC.

Brilliant. Simplicity personified. Fuck it, let’s all have a beer…


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