Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Quickie: National's welfare policy

Many thanks to GG for the link to the speech notes from John Key's launch of National election welfare policy earlier this afternoon.

The only thing I've heard so far (and haven't had time to read the speech yet) is that there is a 50% cut to benefits for people who don't find a job within a specified time.  And that those who have an additional child while already on the DPB will only have the obligation to find work waived until that additional child is 1 year old.

Please consider this an open thread for discussion of it.

UPDATE:  Further to Deborah's comment below, here is a quote from the current Work & Income policy on sanctions:
Sole parents on Domestic Purposes Benefit may face part-time work obligations depending on the age of their children. This means, if they don’t meet the requirements to be actively looking, or preparing, for part-time work of at least 15 hours or more, their benefit may be reduced or stopped.

Partners of beneficiaries face full-time or part-time work obligations depending on the ages of any children they have in their care.

People on Unemployment Benefit face full-time work obligations. This means, if they don’t meet the requirements to be actively looking, or preparing, for full-time work, their benefit may be reduced or stopped.

People receiving Sickness Benefit who have been assessed as able to work at least 15 hours a week may also face part-time work obligations.

Invalid's Beneficiaries, Widow's Beneficiaries, and people receiving Domestic Purposes Benefit - Care of Sick and Infirm and Domestic Purposes Benefit - Women Alone, don’t face work obligations.

If you have work obligations, you’ll face the following sanctions:
  • a 50% reduction in your benefit payment the first time you don’t meet your obligations (currently people face a 100% suspension)
  • a 100% suspension the second time you don’t meet your obligations, as is currently the case, and
  • a 100% cancellation for the third time, as is currently the case.
Sole parents and couples with dependent children face a maximum 50% reduction, suspension, or cancellation of their main benefit.
What appears to be changing in National's policy is that there will now be three benefits,divided on different lines from previously, and with increased work expectations:
  • Jobseeker (current UB, Sickness, DPB Women Alone, DPB & Widows with children over 14) - full time work expectation as default, part time or temporary exemption if you make a case for it
  • Sole Parent Support (current DPB & Widows children aged 0-13) - part time work expectation
  • Supported Living Payment (current DPB Care of Sick & Infirm, Invalids') - no work expectation
Does that make sense? Have I understood it properly?  Comments clarifying welcome.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I can't see anything about the 50% cut for people who don't find a job, either in John Key's speech, Paula Bennett's speech, or their Q&A FAQ sheet. However they do say that existing sanctions will continue to apply to people who refuse work. I don't know what those sanctions are, I'm sorry.