Saturday, October 18, 2014

Welfare dependence due to disability artificially high

There are just over 150,000 people reliant on either the Suported Living Payment or Jobseeker Support (HCD).

In response to my saying 5% of working age people dependent on a 'disability' benefit is high, a commenter says,

"Disability affects 10% of the population. About half of those, are not so affected as to prevent them working, but the other half are.

Whats wrong with these numbers?"

In fact according to Statistics NZ:
"Almost one in four New Zealanders were identified as disabled in 2013, according to the New Zealand Disability Survey released today by Statistics New Zealand. This was up from 20 percent in 2001.

A total of 1.1 million people (24 percent of the population) were identified as disabled. The results show that 11 percent of children and 27 percent of adults were limited in their daily activities by a range of impairments."
Perhaps the dependency rate is too low!

Anyway MSD was sufficiently interested in the growth rate of disability benefit dependence for the following reason,

"The proportion of working-age people receiving a Sickness Benefit, an Invalid’s Benefit or ACC weekly compensation rose from around 1% in the 1970s to 5% in June 2002."

And the Welfare Working Group also investigated.

Broadly speaking, the growth in Sickness Benefit and Invalid’s Benefit numbers was not caused by the population getting sicker or more disabled. A comparison of New Zealand health surveys show that between 1996 and 2006 more people rated their health as excellent or very good; fewer people rated their health as fair or poor; people on average reported better physical functioning scores and better role limitation scores. Overall, general health was improving as measured by steadily improving levels of life expectancy and health expectancy across all major population groups.
The following graph shows (black column) shows what the number dependent would be (40,000) if the prevalence rate  stayed commensurate with 1982. In fact it grew to more than 3x this number.