Friday, March 23, 2007

One in five on the dole have been on a benefit for more than four years

Those who know me offline will know that I used to have contact with beneficiaries. I can say that most beneficiaries I had contact with were either Maori or older single men - most who were on benefits for a long time - because these are the groups that WINZ case managers find hardest to get into work.

These groups are proportionally increasing in benefit numbers despite the low unemployment rate and this release backs that view up. Unemployed middle aged men and Maori are not part of this booming economy. I would say that they are a big proportion of the 18 percent of those on the dole who have been on a benefit for more than four years. Staggeringly enough 40 percent of people on the sickness benefit have been on a benefit for more than four years, and nearly half the people on an invalids benefit have been on a benefit for more than 10 years. That's because many of them couldn't or wouldn't get work so they feigned sickness - and that's easy to do, just claim you are depressed - and went on the sickness benefit to avoid being work tested.

But what I`d like to know is what the Government is doing to stop people having kids on the DPB, when those on the DPB are not supposed to be living with partners as they are "sole parents". More than 11 percent of all those on the DPB have been there for more than 10 years. Some of them are having kids and not declaring their partner's name because they are either living together, or the partner is working full time and getting the In Work Payment off IRD as well. Or both. If Work and Income was to find out, their benefit will either decrease to the amount of the unemployment benefit, or be cancelled due to their combined earnings.

Some people go on the DPB not just because they have kids, but because they can get more than they do on the dole as the abatement rate for earnings is smaller, the benefit amount is greater, and they can get a training incentive allowance to go to university. This means they don't need a student loan for course fees and they don't need a student allowance for living costs as Work and Income pays it all. Have kids, hide your partner, and get a free education!

I even know people who have gone on the sickness benefit because they are pregnant to their live-in working partner, only to have a tax-payer-funded abortion before going back on the dole.

All stats are here

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