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Our Mission is to: Provide a free accessible service which ensures quality expert support, information and independent advocacy for beneficiaries & low income people, and their families.
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NEW FOCUS on those receiving the Sickness Benefit for "Addiction"
Are you receiving/ going onto/ working with...someone requiring a Sickness benefit for an " addiction"?
if so we would like you to keep an eye out and be aware of a new directive that has come through requiring those people to fill out a questionnaire with a WINZ case manager about their addiction, recovery & work plan.We have huge concerns about this approach.
Our concerns include the lack of empathy, understanding & medical experience of the case manager. The stress, disclosure, embarrassment, privacy, anguish etc that this may cause the client. This as we know is all about the focus to get people off benefit and back to work ASAP. The sickness benefit is not designed to be a long term benefit anyway so if someone has been authorized by a medical professional and qualifies for a Sickness Benefit due to their addiction, then they should be being followed by that medical professional as far as recovery, support programmes & their ability to re enter into work.
We know that the medical professionals have had extensive training from Work & Income when it comes to not just filling out medical certificates, not feeling pressured by beneficiaries to keep supplying medical certificates etc so why are those medical certificates with "addiction" indicated as a reason for Sickness benefit, now required to go to the Work & Income Regional Health Assessors for their opinion. We thought Medical Professionals were just that....... Medical Professionals.
We totally agree that if someone with an addiction has had no assessment, ongoing support, or is given up on .... then sure its great to identify who these people are so that they can be assisted with some intervention. But an addiction is a life long disease/illness and should not be targeted as being something someone can "just get over" and get back to work.
NOTE: That if an illness or disability is likely to last for 2 years or more and it prevents someone from working for at least 15 hours or more in open employment.... then it qualifies for Invalids Benefit!
Assistance for working people (non-beneficiaries) available
It is important to note that many working people (non beneficiaries) NOT receiving a main benefit - i.e. Unemployment, DPB, Sickness etc are more often than not actually entitled to receive non beneficiary assistance from Work & Income NZ.
This may include assistance with accommodation costs ( mortgage, rates, house insurance, rent, board) , Disability Allowance to help with ongoing medical costs. Recoverable Assistance to help with the cost of Bonds, rent /Mortgage arrears, repair/ purchase of white ware etc (Recoverable assistance does have to be repaid at a low interest free rate).
All of the above are income tested so dependent upon their income, outgoings and family situation they may in fact be entitled to non-beneficiary assistance.
We advise people that it pays to check out if they do have any entitlements before allowing themselves to get into serious financial hardship.
Get in touch with BAIS and let us have a look into it for you!!
Did you know that you can now ring the Work & Income
Call Centre - ph: 0800 559-009 from a mobile phone!!!
News headlines highlight a growing plight
Prices rise again as families continue to struggle
"This government is failing our families. It doesn't have an economic plan to create jobs and increase wages- in fact earlier this week the Minister of Finance, Bill English, celebrated New Zealand's low wage economy. I don't think Mr English will find one low paid Pacific worker willing to celebrate the minimum hourly wage they receive." says Labour's spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su'a William Sio
Tough times for Auckland renters
"In the past three months in cities like Tauranga, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington the number of properties up for rent has outstripped demand from prospective tenants. 'Average weekly rent across the city is up 7 per cent on a year ago and it's inevitable that will continue to rise if demand stays crazy and supply stays low.''
Read full article here
Claims superannuitants are better off don’t stack up
"Superannuitants are among a growing number of Kiwis floating on a rising tide of hardship, while the Government manufactures misinformation", says Labour’s spokesperson for Senior Citizens Steve Chadwick.
Who knows best? Superannuitants themselves or a government detached and disengaged from rising food, fuel and electricity prices. “It is not poor choices that are letting seniors down, but a high tide of hardship, with no helping hand in sight,” Steve Chadwick said.