"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 Eolai received the Appeal Officer’s decision. His weekly Unemployment Assistance was increased from 7 to 41 pounds. "Now why would anyone leave a country that great?" he wrote.
Readers should know that this really happened, but years before the current Irish austerity measures were imposed. Eolai won his appeal and his allowance was increased to the price of the fare and back-dated.
Little successes count.