Media Release 16th May 2018

BAS’ Vision for Beneficiaries (part 4):

Individual Benefit Entitlement

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

In addition to raising benefit levels, we advocate for individual benefit entitlement (not tested on a partner’s income), which gives clients more independence and options.

Joseph and Diane were both working, but neither was on a high income.  Diane worked 40 hours/week (and was receiving minimum wage of 15.75/hour).  Joseph, who had been working 20 hours/week (at $18/hour), lost his job due to economic downturn.  Whilst they were able to receive more from their family tax credits and accommodation supplement, he was not eligible for any benefit on his own and they suddenly had to survive on ~$150/week less than they had previously.  They didn’t know how to cope with this sudden loss or where to trim their budget of necessary costs.

This sort of situation is becoming more common and could be solved by individual benefit entitlement, which would enable Joseph to receive an unemployment benefit until he was able to find another paying job.  Not having enough money for weekly costs causes incredible stress and reduces people’s chances of securing work, meaning the cycle gets worse.

 

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 on (03) 379 8787 or 377 3560, bas.cprc@gmail.com or facebook: @BeneficiaryAdvisoryService ; website: bas.org.nz ; Office in Christchurch Community House, 301 Tuam St, Chch Central 8011