I hate bureaucracy, especially filling in forms. I dread receiving papers to fill in. It always takes me ages to fill them in. They end up at the bottom of a pile of stuff, and I remember them after receiving the first or second reminder. And the French system is well known for its intricacies. Our recent experience with French Children benefit has not reconciled me with French Bureaucracy.
When we moved out of the UK, our rights to receive UK children Benefit stopped. That’s fair enough, we were not UK residents any more. After leaving the paperwork for a while, I started filling in the paperwork to get French children benefit. That’s when the Kafkaesque experience started. After sending the paper, it took over a year before we were able to get any money from them. They claimed we were not supposed to get money, because we have a British employer… According to them we were supposed to get UK child benefit. We exchanged a lot of letter, I sent them all the documents I could proving we were declaring our income in France (although it is too low to pay income tax here) and that we could not get UK child benefits. Then it stopped. Eventually, we received a letter saying that we should have received money from them all along. They even back payed all the money they owed us (about 2 years worth). The key words with French Bureaucracy are: patience, patience, patience.