Media release 23rd April 2018

BAS’ Vision for Beneficiaries (part 2): Benefit Levels

This is our second segment in our series of suggestions for the future based on our vast experience helping people on benefits.

Our main & most urgent suggestion for changes in the system would be to raise benefit levels immediately.

Katarine cares for her children by herself and really struggles to meet all her weekly costs.  One of her young children has asthma, which has occasionally involved urgent trips to the doctor and hospital, with associated costs.  Last year, she got behind with her WOF and Rego.  When she was parked outside the doctor’s office, she was given a ticket for $400, which she was also unable to pay.  This fine increased dramatically before she had the option to pay by installment and now it will take years to pay this off.  She needs her car for her family’s health and still struggles with its upkeep costs.  She often goes hungry trying to ensure her children have some nutritious food every week.  We are able to help people like Katarine receive food grants (if they have trouble), apply for TAS if they are eligible or temporarily reduce advance repayments to WINZ so they have a bit more money each week.  But the truth of the matter is that benefit levels are just not high enough for many people’s basic needs and the juggling of finances and impossible decisions they have to make will only make matters worse for them.

Rebecca Occleston is the Speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

BAS is a Christchurch based Community Group who help people on benefits and low incomes with their problems with Work and Income, providing FREE advice, information, support and advocacy.  Contact BAS by phone: (03) 379 8787 or 377 3560, email: bas.cprc@gmail.com or facebook: @BeneficiaryAdvisoryService ; website: bas.org.nz ; Our Office is in Christchurch Community House, 301 Tuam St, Chch Central 8011