Friday, October 05, 2012

Welfare reform protests alarm beneficiaries


Friday, October 5, 2012

The language protesters are using to describe ongoing welfare reforms is unnecessarily frightening people on benefits, according to welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell.

"Welfare reforms are being described as 'cruel', 'punitive', 'brutal', 'vicious' and 'violent' prompting beneficiaries to fear the worst - that they will lose their income."

"This is simply untrue. The reforms are focussed on getting more people into work and on creating better outcomes for children. For people on the DPB the work expectation kicks in when their youngest child goes to school and can be met with a little as ten hours per week until their youngest turns 14. But if there is no work, they will continue to be supported. Loss or partial loss of benefit will only apply to those who repeatedly refuse to meet drug test requirements for suitable jobs; who repeatedly refuse to enrol their child with a local GP or kindergarten, or who have an unresolved arrest warrant against them."

"If benefit payment rates were being cut, as happened in the early nineties, an outcry would be understandable. But demonstrating against the government putting more effort and resources into getting people into work makes no sense. Especially  in such a distraught fashion which, as I said earlier, is actually alarming the people the protesters claim to care about."

1 comment:

S. Beast said...

I'm on an IB I'm alarmed because of my experiences so far with Work and Income.

It is clear that the staff are overworked (at least in my office) with ongoing delays in simple decisions. A few years ago things seemed to go through the system faster.

It is also clear that case managers often don't take into account individual circumstances. I have had several instances where this has interfered with my treatment and slowed my recovery.

Protests don't alarm me (although some of the descriptions of what the changes will do are eye rolling). What does alarm me are the implementation of changes that make sweeping assumptions, in particular that the staff at Work and Income are fair and ensure clients receive their full and correct entitlement as they are obligated to do, and that their personal circumstances are taken into account when decisions are made. This is NOT MY EXPERIENCE at all and I can see the "stick" that is intended to protect and help being used just because they can with little thought about the wider picture.