Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who Am I?

Lord knows how it is done these days but way back when, the generation of National Insurance Numbers were triggered by the issuing of the last-but-one Child Benefit book.

Of course, by that time I was safely wrapped up in the malevolent embrace of the Prison Service. But to the rest of bureaucracy, I am a cypher, a glitch in the machine - I have no N.I. number.

The Tax-man knoweth me not, neither does he Benefits Agency. Every aspect of our unavoidable collisions with the State rests upon that string of digits, which I am without.

Having being in the State's dungeons for all these decades, on my release I will be in the strange position of having to persuade the State that I actually exist.


  1. This also means that there is no way of registering your death. You are an Eternal-Lifer.

  2. No one, so far as I know, has ever registered their death. That tends to be the duty of a doctor. Of course, with no NI, there would be no need to inform the tax office. Which leads to a more compelling irony: if Ben died in prison (of course I hope he doesn't) his death would have be registered in a similar manner to whichever HM was sitting on the throne.

    On a more serious note, what are the implications for state pensions as they are based on NI contributions? Anyone know?

  3. EDIT: No one actually dead has ever registered their death. It does occur from time to time that the living have their death registered... but that's another story.

  4. Good luck Ben - just spent a week trying to convince the bank that my loved one is who he says he is - he's been in prison for 4 years and he made a power of attorney so that his family could sell his house. What fun trying to cancel the power of attorney as the bank could not accept him without a photo driving licence or passport, both of which had expired during the 4 years. Bureacracy is wonderful - how does one prove who one is in these circumstances? Bank refused to accept police identity of my loved one as well as his birth certificate - they a birth certificate is a waste of time and proves nothing - wonder why we have them then. Oh well - it goes on - keep strong Ben - keep writing - and hopefully the system will prepare you for release so your identity will not be a problem - that said with tongue in cheek.

  5. Getting an NI number is a piece of piss Ben, though very boring. I did it on arriving back in this country as an adult after leaving aged 6. So like you there was a long lacuna in which I did not trouble officialdom. However your incarceration seems to have taught you that officialdom never forgets, unless it wants to and we have the Freedom of Information act to deal with that now.

    So they will still know you and you will get an NI number for no better reason than the state gets collywobbles over the idea of you wandering around without one, causes all manner of problems. For a start you will need an NI number to get an NHS number and a tax number.