Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Is Work and Income toughening up?

According to the NZ Herald people are being bumped off the invalid's benefit and onto a sickness benefit ahead of the new rule changes. The health advisers involved are not a new appointment though. It may be that after the release of last year's auditor general's report, which found a lack of progress in the application of Labour's changes, they have stepped up activity.

The story may also be the result of Rotorua beneficiary advocate and activist Paul Blair getting busy again. Paul Blair has previously taken the Ministry of Social Development to court in order to secure a rule change that allowed single parents to split the custody of their children, both go on the DPB and avoid work-testing.

So what do statistics show? The March quarter statistics are not out yet. But those up to December 2009 show an increase in both benefits. Within that picture it is entirely possible more people than usual are being transferred from IB to SB hence the steep rise on SB. But the inflow onto IB is still greater than the outflow.

These graphs show that around 55 working-age people out of 1,000 rely on a sickness or invalid's benefit. This compares to 24 in 1991. Something has to be done to reverse the growth trend. Putting someone on a shorter term, lower paying benefit might provide the encouragement they need to look for a different or supplemental source of income.


MacDoctor said...

A lot of the increase in sickness beneficiaries will be coming from ACC who have been repudiating claims with abandon over the last 6-9 months. Those that do not complain to the dispute tribunal will wind up on sickness benefits (usually much lower amounts than ACC.

Some people who have lost their jobs over the recession have also moved directly on to the SB because it mostly pays slightly better than the dole.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Thanks for the info about ACC.

Sickness benefit pays same as the unemployment benefit.