I talked to a friend the other day, an immigrant, of whom I know quite a few. We spoke of growing up, in my country and his, and I told him that when I moved out of my parents’ home at 18, after a while had no more money and phoned my mother and asked whether she could give me some. She laughed and said «sorry, from now on you’re on your own».
And that was it. I managed to do so, found a job and never got anything from my parents until I became ill.
My friend looked a little pale when hearing this, but didn’t say anything.

I went on talking about pocket money when I was younger and other stuff, but suddenly my friend said: But couldn’t you get anything from the government?

I was pretty surprised, he seemed to think that you could get money for nothing. At least that was what I thought.

If this was what he thought, it is a misunderstanding. Sometimes the surprise of an answer makes me lose focus.
Basically, the social benefits here seem generous and in many ways they are, but there are certainly limits and a huge bureaucracy involved, and today’s politics make things sometimes very difficult both when you actually want to cheat and when you are actually ill or in need. Also racist, it seems – sometimes the rules are made this way. It also depends who you meet in the system, more than it used to be. But you get money when you are sick or unemployed, basically, normally if you have a job already, that is, and you don’t get money for nothing, to put it that way.