From Parliament yesterday;
Russell Fairbrother: What is the main reason for people to move off the unemployment benefit?
Hon RUTH DYSON: The main reason for people leaving the unemployment benefit is to enter paid employment. It is simply not true to allege, as the National Party does, that a large number of people move from the unemployment benefit to the sickness or invalids benefit. Between March 2000 and March of this year there were close to 1 million cancellations of the unemployment benefit; 8.8 percent of those cancellations were because of a transfer to the sickness benefit, and only one-third of 1 percent were because of a transfer to an invalids benefit. The main reason for people leaving the unemployment benefit is to move into paid work.
That means there were 88,000 transfers from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit. From there many thousands have transferred to the invalids benefit.
So in March 2000 around 85,000 people were on a sickness or invalid benefit whereas today the total is 130,000. Yet Work and Income deputy CE continues to insist there is no link between these benefits as per this Dominion Post letter of June 13;
To claim there is no link between benefits is absurd. The very fact of being on a benefit can trigger behavioural responses which then necessitate the need to be transferred to another benefit. For instance being on an unemployment benefit long-term can cause people to develop depression, one of the major reasons for the rapid growth in incapacity benefits. Being on an unemployment benefit and relieved of the need to work can lead to people developing alcohol and drug addictions. This then necessitates a move onto a sickness or invalid benefit.
The letter from Work and Income is quite unbelievable. Or do I no longer understand what the word 'link' means?