In which I get a bit uppity.
Did you know for instance that if you're claiming JSA you can go abroad and still claim for 3 months? Providing it's contributions based, which effectively restricts it to the first 6 months of your unemployment. Neither did I. It's never been explained to me in all the time I've been unemployed so why would I know? On the front page of the Direct Gov website it says you can only claim if you're in the UK, so why look further? Apparently unemployed Belgians can come here and can prolong their own claim for four months. Damn, I should have known that but . But the only Belgian I know can't explain their system and my French is shit so HTF would I have known?
Because I'm repeatedly told by the Daily Mail that this place is Eldorado for benefit scroungers, especially foreign ones and despite my own experience proving the contrary, I've kind of assumed that other countries aren't as generous. Our rules must be slack then, even the one about being in the the UK. In other countries you probably can't even leave your town. In fact it is Belgium where everyone should be heading. Apparently they don't means test or even check up that you're looking for work and freely pay for you to live abroad regardless of how long you've been claiming and regardless of any disparity in the benefits eligibility rules between the two countries. No it doesn't particularly make sense to me either, which is one of the reasons I didn't know.
It should not be incumbent upon the person in the street to know these things. There is too much to know. It is why countries have costly bureaucracies, in order to point this stuff out to us because, believe it or not, there are other things in life worth knowing more than the intricacies of the social security system and spending half your life chasing around behind the arse who couldn't be bothered to tell you in the first place.