CPAG is particularly concerned about the impact of a significant decline in the number of Child Disability Allowances (CDA) granted annually by Work and Income. The CDA is a non-income-tested allowance available to parents to help compensate for the time and expense of caring for a disabled child.The number of new CDAs granted has almost halved since 2008 while the number of disabled children has increased, from 92,000 in 2001 to 95,000 in 2013. Over the same period spending on the Disability Allowance also dropped 14% in real terms. CPAG Co-Convenor Alan Johnson says, "We have not seen the Government championing cuts in support to families with disabled children, but that is in effect what has happened."And requests,
That the Ministry of Social Development:The following is from the MSD Statistical report. 2012 is latest available.The decline in numbers is noted and explained:
- Investigates why there has been a sharp reduction in the number of Child Disability Allowance (CDAs) granted
In 2013 the number had dropped to 34,968.
Since mid-2008, case manager decisions on eligibility for the Child Disability Allowance have been improved by:
- a requirement for fuller medical information
- case managers being able to consult with Regional Health Advisors when making decisions about eligibility.
Numbers of children assisted by a Child Disability AllowanceTopThe number of children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance decreased between 2009 and 2012This decrease (see table CD.1) largely reflected the reduced use of the Child Disability Allowance by working families. This in turn reflected a combination of changes in economic conditions and the administrative reforms outlined above. These administrative reforms affected the number assisted by the allowance through:
- an increased number of clients not retaining their allowance, due to parents not confirming their children still met the eligibility criteria for the allowance
- reductions from mid-2008 in the proportion of applications for the allowance being granted, following the administrative reforms noted above.table CD.1: Numbers of children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance
Children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance1 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total children assisted 43,185 45,767 43,883 39,253 36,894
The government has already explained why the number has declined. Futhermore, the revised medical certificates were instituted in September 2007, before National became government, and their use for determining eligibility for a CDA occurred from mid 2008, again, before National became government.