Once upon an unemployed time in Ireland, I ran out of Unemployment Benefit and was thus applying for means-based Unemployment Assistance. The Benefit that had run out was based on the social-welfare contributions you made while employed.
Or, you got a lot less on Assistance, and formulas applied to calculate your amount were secret (read: arbitrary). Luckily you could appeal if you disagreed with the amount. You just had to give a basis for appeal.
On this occasion it was determined my weekly amount received would be 7 Irish pounds. My basis for appeal went something like this:
I wish to appeal the amount you have determined I am to receive as being sufficient to live on while seeking employment.
I cannot afford to live off the 7 pounds you have given me, so I have decided to emigrate to seek work. The cheapest way to leave the country on a one-way ticket is by ferry and train. I should be able to get to England for 41 pounds.
However because I have to get the bus to town (and back) each week to collect my 7 pounds, the bus fare reduces my weekly amount to 5.50. I could walk the 4 miles to Werburgh Street, but that would make me hungry and chips from Leo Burdock’s are really good but not that cheap. And there’d still be the 4 miles walk back, so it wouldn’t save much.
Anyway, eating anything during the week would only eat into savings for the ferry ticket, so it would likely take longer than 8 weeks to save to emigrate. As such I’d like to appeal your determination of 7 pounds, and ask that you increase the amount so I can buy a ticket to leave the country
Several weeks later I received the Appeal Officer’s decision. My weekly Unemployment Assistance was increased from 7 to 41 pounds. Now why would anyone leave a country that great?
Update: This is not a joke - I really was awarded 7 pounds a week, appealed on the basis that I couldn’t afford to live so would emigrate except I couldn’t afford the 41 pound fare, and the appeal really was granted with my allowance increased to the price of the fare (and back-dated).
Speaking of emigrating rather than staying and suffering through it, the replica of the famine ship Dunbrody, sets sail today (May 30, 2006) from New Ross for Dublin.