Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Sole parents spend an average 15.8 years on benefit"


After years of trying to tell people that sole parents spend many, many years on benefit I see MSD has just released a statement containing this:

"...sole parents spend an average 15.8 years on benefit with a lifetime cost2 of $234,000."

I have repeatedly talked about Professor Bob Gregory's Australian research which found sole parents spend an average of 12 years on welfare not including benefits they may move to when they no longer had dependent children.

People have derided me for it in public forums. For instance Marilyn Waring sneeringly telling an audience I had included time spent on Super. Time and again politicians, welfare advocates, bloggers etc have sought to convince the population that the average time spent on the DPB is, most commonly, only about 3 years. They look at the available data but don't understand it.

This official finding only covers benefits up to age 65. It backs up what Gregory found. I can think of no reason why Australian and NZ sole parents would be markedly different.

Now I will go and read the latest actuarial valuation report to understand how the calculation was made (if my struggling lap-top can find the resource to open it.) It may not be rock solid. I don't know. But we are getting closer to the truth all the time.


Anonymous said...

This is a heck of a long time but doesn't surprise me.

Brendan said...

Lindsay, It's great to see your research and intuition vindicated. Albeit, it would also be great to see the number of dependents significantly reduced!

With approximately 100,000 on the DPB, the cost to NZ for the present grouping is a mere $23,400,000,000

Is that 23.4 Billion dollars?

We could afford to be stupid when the numbers were small - not any more.

JC said...

Some scary stuff in the report, for instance a sole parent entering the system with a child aged 0-2 has an average of 17.7 years on the DPB with the report hinting they then go on to some other benefit.

Also the response of women to unemployment during the recession was to get pregnant. Thats rational I suppose but its also offensive.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Yes JC, and I also had Maharey (see latest post) insisting to me back in his day that the DPB was not a lifestyle choice. I still have the letter. For the group you have identified it is exactly that.

Anonymous said...

The dpb is not a lifestyle choice for everyone that has recieved replaces the support families were once able/willing to give to
relatives who were in trouble.

Anonymous said...

If its a lifestyle I personally found it not one I would like to repeat.
Being ostrisized for being a single mum by all and sundry. Being hit
on by your friends husbands endlessly.Being absolutely broke all the time.Not been able to go out to a movie, dinner, hairdresser, buy nice clothes,fix appliances, and millions of other things.for three years in my case.Having 3 young children to look after alone with no support from family.Not being able to take my children to their own school fair because you have no change at all.Being on the fringe of society.If thay is a Lifestyle Id rather have a Deathstyle Lindsay

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon. We agree. Not a lifestyle choice for everyone on it.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I am not unsympathetic to your circumstances. What I've always tried to get people to understand is that there are distinct groups of people who rely on the DPB. And I don't personally have a problem with people using it temporarily. There's a good paper linked to below about the sub-groups reliant on the DPB which clearly shows the very different circumstances of their lives and their children's. The disadvantage amongst what are described as 'early starters', disproportionately Maori, the largest group, with the largest number of children, has long been my major concern.

I hope life is happier for you now.

Anonymous said...

Good evening Lindsay,wrote to you 3 years ago about my ex who had claimed benefit whilst I was working around the world and paying for our 2 children.
She was eventually caught for claiming DPB at the same time.
As her sister is a judge in rotorua

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Yes, I do remember despite hearing about quite a few similar cases. Pleased to know that WINZ have caught up with her. Thanks for the catch-up.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"She was eventually caught for claiming DPB at the same time.
As her sister is a judge in rotorua"

Did her sister being a judge have something to do with being "caught"?