"We expect that the proportion of DPB clients who first received any benefit as a teenager is somewhat higher than a third, particularly as receipt of a benefit is such a common experience in people's teenage years."
I am sticking by my own estimate of over half. And I think that is conservative. I base it on two things;
1. The rate of teenage dependency on welfare in the late 80s and early 90s, during a deep recession, was very high. Those people are not captured in the current one third estimate.
2. Many single parents stay on benefits for a long time. Over half of the people on the DPB spent at least 80 percent of the last ten year period (at December 2005) on welfare.
The completeness of statistics aside, this whole business is very important because it shows that if the steady inflow of young people could be stopped the problem of long term dependence on the DPB would be largely diminished.
But I see that the welfare working group is preferring to focus on promoting insurance for sickness and disability. Paula Rebstock has prioritised this for the media since the group was created.
Employers may be asked to pay part of the costs if their employees have to go on sickness or disability welfare benefits under an insurance-based reform of the welfare system flagged in a new report today.
Insurance is fine. But employers can't be expected to stump up for sickness insurance and pay tax for the state-provided sickness benefit as well (not to mention ACC). Or are we looking at another of the National private/public partnership ideas?
I can hear struggling employers all over NZ groan as they read this latest bright idea which essentially tells them the government is going to punish them if their employees get sick. What about the responsibility of the individual in all this?
Update; To be fair, the DomPost is reporting about suggested individual employee premiums.
The Issues Paper is here.