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Issue 2 - February 1972
Miners' Rights

The Social Security is a major strike-breaking weapon of the government's. It is in a very good position to try to starve strikers into defeat. The longer the strike lasts, the tougher the Social Security will get. You will have to fight for every penny. But if you know your rights you should be able to get enough money to see you through to victory. Social Security waiting-rooms are designed to depress and bore those waiting to be seen. Often claimants are kept waiting for several hours only to be told to 'come back tomorrow', or 'I'm sorry but we can't help you'. Refuse to accept statements like these. Demand to be seen, and if you are still refused, demand to see the manager. Try never to go down to the Social Security alone, as witnesses are often essential to force the bureaucracy to give you the money you have a right to. Below is some general information on your Social Security rights.


Striker … Nil. Plus rent and rates in full. Mortgage interest is also paid. Make sure the Social Security pay the rates on a weekly basis.

Dependants aged:
Over 21 £4.60p
18-21 £4.05p
16-17 £3.60p
13-15 £3.00p
11-12 £2.45p
5-10 £2.00p
under 5 £1.70p

Strike pay, tax rebates and other income will be deducted from your benefit, except for £1; any part-time earnings of dependants over £2 will also be deducted, as will family allowance.

To make sure you receive the right benefit (this will vary from week to week because of tax rebates) demand form ; any part-time earnings of dependants over £2 will also be deducted, as will family allowance.

To make sure you receive the right benefit (this will vary from week to week because of tax rebates) demand form A124A which will have an assessment of the amount of benefit you should be receiving.

Never take a loan from the Social Security. If they are willing to give you a loan it is because they realise you need the money. This means that they ought to give you it and not loan you it (Section 13 of the Social Security Act).


If they refuse to give you any benefit demand an appeal form. This often results in the Social Security reversing their decision and giving you your rightful benefit, without you having to take your claim to an appeals tribunal. Remember the Social Security is out to break you. Their tactic is to starve you back to work.


In making a claim under Section 13 of the Social Security Act 1966, there are some important points that may help.

Section 13 authorises the Social Security to pay out in cases of urgent need only; therefore it's vital to your claim that you have as much evidence and argument as possible to prove your needs urgent.

1) Don't let the Social Security argue that you should still have wages left to live on - that was one week's money, and it took one week to spend. (If it took more than one week to spend, you wouldn't be on strike now.)

2) Make sure that you have no savings that are withdrawable on demand; if you have, the Social Security will waste a lot of your time telling you that your needs are not urgent if there is any money that you can get hold of at once.

3) Get written proof that if you don't pay rent you are likely to be evicted. The Social Security usually refuse to pay for rent at this early stage of a strike unless you are likely to be evicted or your 'Landlord' (i.e. parents) are suffering hardship as a result of your not being able to pay. They will accept the written word a lot quicker than your arguments - get your landlord to say he will have to evict you if you don't pay your rent this and every week; or your parents to say that they can't afford to keep you and you will have to go. If you are buying your own house, take all your documents so that you can prove the weekly amount of interest, rates and insurance and the difficulties you will encounter with the building society if you don't make regular payments.

4) If you have HP commitments on any essential goods, show the documents to prove how much per week, plus any letters you may have from the HP company threatening repossession etc if you don't pay regularly.

5) Stress any special essential expenses you may have - for instance if you need a special diet, get a note from your doctor to confirm it.

6) Argue as strongly as you can that you are urgently in need of food, and anything else you can think of that may help to get the money out of them. Don't let them tell you that you must eat at your mother's or girlfriend's or neighbour's expense … Argue that you must pay your way, no-one can afford to keep you.

Section 13 gives the Social Security the power to pay benefit to anyone in "urgent need" - make them use that power!

The Social Security is starting to fight back more and more viciously. Here's what's happened in South Shields over the last few days.

On Friday 21st of January, the Department of Health and Social Security there, used their house union, the Civil and Public Service Association, in a successful attempt to lessen the efficiency of the Strike Claims Committee operating in Armstrong Hall. What happened was that the Social Security told the CPSA local representative to contact Walter Melt, the Durham area NUM organiser, and tell him, as union man to union man, that his boys were making trouble for his poor Social Security boys. The CPSA representative complained about a leaflet produced by the Strike Claims Committee saying it said his boys were strike-breakers. This the CPSA rep insisted was untrue. Malt accepted his word without checking on the true facts of what was happening in South Shields and instructed his members to 'cut it out'. The leaflet was outlawed. In fact the leaflet was a very informative piece on strikers' rights!

On Monday miners appeared at Armstrong Hall to claim benefit and some of them had copies of the leaflet. The leaflet had not been distributed to them at the Hall but as soon as they appeared the manager called his clerks out. The clerks didn't quite know why they had been called out but they didn't go back until it was put to the manager by a Strike Claims Committee member that as manager he had no right to call people out on strike. He had exceeded his authority. He called his clerks back, but not until he had the NUM's area officials agreeing with him that the striking miners could have no representation. The NUM area officials, it is believed, had asked the Strike Claims Committee to disband, but they refused and are challenging the condition agreed on by the manager of the Social Security in Armstrong Hall and the Durham area NUM officials. Remember, ANYONE IS ALLOWED REPRESENTATION, ALWAYS FACE THE SOCIAL SECURITY WITH AT LEAST ONE OTHER PERSON.