Posts by Roland Askew

  • Hard News: On benefit fraud, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It's possible they never considered.

    Anecdotal word is, when ms Ruthanasia herself wanted minimum subsistence levels measured for benefits and was told of the findings, she said "cut them by 25%, that will get more people into work!" And they were, and despite recent rises in some benefit levels they've never returned to that minimum level.

    Additionally, the effective inflation for people earning low incomes has been around twice the average inflation rate, meaning the recent benefit rises actually made no real gain in reaching adequate subsistence levels.

    To my knowledge the Invalids Benefit, which I receive, has had no effective increase, and has been adjusted at the average inflation, so now some welfare recipients with disabilities are living at least 30% below what they need to subsist (and many need more than that for medical costs).

    Auckland • Since Dec 2015 • 3 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: The inflation adjustment…,

    This is a step in the right direction. Thank you Graeme.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2015 • 3 posts Report

  • Up Front: Cui bono?,

    Your recommendations are right on the mark, Emma.

    I have an aquaintance who was working in their call-in help centre until they quit in disgust. Apparently WINZ's funding is tied (in some complicated manner) to the number of beneficiaries in their books - if the official number drops, their overall funding drops. My aquaintance and his intake team was bullied by their boss' superiors into giving minimal time and hanging up on existing beneficiaries, and focus on signing up new beneficiaries. They received calls from women escaping abusive relationships, to people unable to read and write and thus unable to succeed at getting work (because they cannot read WINZ letters or fill out forms) having their benefits cut, and they were forced to hang up on them mid conversation. The daily quotas were very high too.

    The sad irony for WINZ is this funding approach incentivises increasing the numbers on benefits - in contradiction of the national mandate to reduce benefit numbers.

    This may have implications for other things like the Mainstream programme, which rely on that diminished pool of funding.

    Additionally, if case managers help beneficiaries find work, then the work brokers should be ethical and up to the task. I've had to deal with being placed with abusive employers who tried to underpay me and when I said I wanted to leave it the broker threatened a stand down, and in one case a broker prejudicing my employment chances by letting slip I had depression at the time, without my permission, and without opportunity for me to explain that I had been dealing with a difficult flatting situation.

    While I've only had to 'prove' once that I am still autistic and have co-morbid GAD and Depression, that was 2012 and my case was marked 'reassess 5 years', so I'm not looking forward to next year.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2015 • 3 posts Report