Saturday, July 28, 2012

Getting around the DPB work-test rules

The table below shows that most grants of a DPB are to people transferring within the system or who have been on welfare previously - 71 percent to be precise. I asked the Minister under the Official Information Act:

1/ In 2011 how many second-time or subsequent grants for the DPB were to a caregiver with more than one dependent child; a youngest child under 12 months old and who had been off benefit for between 12 - 48 months? Their answer:
The point of my question? I am trying to ascertain how many people will qualify for a further 5 years of welfare before work-testing because they had a subsequent child off welfare. 437 is a starting figure.

Not included in this figure is for instance someone who left under 12 months ago and returned with a newborn.

The Ministry also qualified my 'off benefit' as 'off DPB-related' which also narrows the field.

The point is, as it stands, as long as a baby isn't added to a benefit the caregiver won't be work-tested until the baby is 5. Some people are clever. They have already forced the Ministry to pay the DPB to both parents if the parents split custody of their children. So there are two benefits to play around with when considering which one to 'add' a subsequent child to.

As in any group of people, there are those who will abide by the rules because they are honest and well-motivated, and that includes people on welfare. But there are others who will play the system for all it's worth. Ironically those are the very people these new rules are supposed to positively influence.

table DP.3: Periods since clients last received any main benefit
Period since client last received any main benefit 2006/2007 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011
Domestic Purposes Benefits granted to working-age clients1
None (clients transferring within the benefit system)2 9,447 10,035 10,654 11,416 11,071
Under 12 months 9,900 10,567 10,876 9,683 9,963
1–2 years 3,289 3,938 4,483 3,656 3,198
2–4 years 3,061 3,393 4,365 4,201 3,307
Had not received a main benefit in the previous 4 years 7,774 8,561 11,433 11,660 10,533
Total granted to working-age clients 33,471 36,494 41,811 40,616 38,072
Domestic Purposes Benefits granted to other clients1
Total granted to other clients 940 1,054 1,100 942 799
Total Domestic Purposes Benefits granted1
Total 34,411 37,548 42,911 41,558 38,871

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Forget "fair" and focus on the fiscal restraint

David Shearer says that Mondayisation of public holidays and longer Paid Parental Leave are "fair to families".

But these bills aren't fair to employers and most taxpayers. They are both an additional cost on the economy. And the timing is bloody awful.

Leaves me in no doubt that National was the better governing party to weather a protracted recession. That's not to say they couldn't do  better.

The passage of these bills would indicate that New Zealanders are no better than other head-in-the-sand Europeans.

Two coroner's reports

The NewstalkZB 9 o'clock news (Wellington - not the Network because I have checked the replay) reported that Gary Evans found Macsyna King "had no involvement in the death of her twins."

Contrast that to a coroner's report last week that found two good Samaritans had contributed to the death of Iraena Asher.

I am going on media hearsay but these findings seem utterly incongruous.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Using a benefit as camouflage

Here's a perfect example of people using a benefit as camouflage (albeit not a very successful one). I mean they surely didn't need the money.

Three solo mothers, one of whom is known locally as "the queen of green" and is seven months pregnant, have been sent to prison for a cannabis operation that netted them up to $340,000 in four months last year for selling "tinnies" from a state house in Napier.
A "tinny" is a small tinfoil-wrapped package containing between 0.6 and 1.2 grams of cannabis, which sells for about $20.
Business was so good during the four months that they sold a $20 tinny every minute and the number of customers so great that their cars would clog up the street...... The four offenders, who are all beneficiaries, appeared for sentencing before Judge Tony Adeane in Napier District Court last week.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Truth column July 13

My Truth column for July 13 is now on-line.  

Some people on the dole fail drug-tests and subsequently miss out on a job. So they stay on welfare. Is that OK?  The current government doesn’t think so. That’s why new legislation proposes sanctions – a reduction in benefit – when it happens. 

The legislation does not propose drug-testing all beneficiaries as a condition of eligibility for ongoing support. That’s jungle drum stuff. There’s another problem with benefits and substance abuse though.

Read more

Other Truth columns here