I have trouble in understanding the metaphor or whatever implied meaning of "how many people use their washing machine". Nor could I understand WHY he was asked "when was the last time they had left the country". I seriously not get it at all, though I understand every meaning of the words.
The context is : "Dad" is a fifty-five year old man who was recently got fired and he had tried several job interviews without any success. So he decided to apply for benefits. During the filling of the forms for applying , he was asked to answer some questions.
Here is the sentence:
After a fortnight of rejections, he and Mum admitted they would have to apply for benefits, just to tide them over, and spent their evenings poring over incomprehensible, fifty-page forms which asked how many people used their washing machine, and when was the last time they had left the country (Dad thought it might have been 1988).
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes