Last week the government announced reforms that they say will simplify the benefit system and get people off welfare and into work. 

Three new benefits – Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, and Supported Living Payment – will replace the current benefits.  Legislation will be introduced in early 2012; changes will be phased in from July 2012 and all changes will be implemented by 2013. The government has said benefit rates will remain at current levels and continue to be increased annually for inflation.

Supported Living Payment includes:

  • Invalid’s Benefit
  • DPB Care of sick and infirm

Jobseeker Support includes:

  • Unemployment Benefit
  • Sickness Benefit
  • DPB Sole Parents – with youngest child 14 years and older
  • Widow – with youngest child 14 years and older
  • DPB Women Alone

Sole Parent Support includes:

  • DPB Sole Parents with children younger than 14 years
  • Widows with children younger than 14 years

IHC welcomes the renaming of the Invalid’s Benefit – something that disabled people have been demanding for a long time – but what will the changes mean for people’s lives? The limited information available so far gives some indications but without more detail there are many unanswered questions. 

IHC will continue to ask questions and raise issues with government about the planned changes to the benefit system. IHC’s submissions to last year’s Welfare Working Group’s papers identified a number of major concerns. These remain until there is reassurance that people with an intellectual disability will not be disadvantaged by any changes. There need to be guarantees for people’s rights to work, support for employment and security of income

Read information on the welfare reform on the Ministry of Social Development website

http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/newsroom/media-releases/2011/welfare-reform.html 

Read IHC’s submission to last year’s Welfare Working Group’s papers