...Sara, a 35-year-old West Auckland mother in her second year of an applied science degree at Unitec, gets $517 a week in welfare but needs $668 a week to pay rent, drive to her classes and run a home for herself and her 12-year-old daughter - a shortfall of $151 a week.
Her doctor advised her to go to the Waitakere office of Social Development Minister Paula Bennett because her weight had dropped from 59kg to just under 50kg since early last year as a result of her not being able to afford food.
Ms Bennett's office made an appointment for her with Work and Income's Westgate manager, but the agency could come up with only an extra $4 a week.
She cannot use her surname in print because she is afraid of a violent ex-partner. But the Herald supplied her full details to Ms Bennett and to Work and Income's head office in Wellington, which confirmed that she is receiving her "full and correct entitlement".
Beneficiary advocate Pam Apera said cases like Sara's were common and she was fielding a growing number of calls from beneficiaries who could see no way out except suicide...
Click through for the whole thing.
I don't have time to write about it properly, so hope one of the others will if they can, but in the meantime check out Idiot/Savant's post about how this goes back to the benefit cuts of the 1990s which deliberately went 20% below subsistence level.