Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Stress, substance abuse benefits determined by Drs

19 March 2006
Media Statement

Sickness and Invalid's Benefits for stress, substance abuse determined by doctors

Eligibility for Sickness or Invalid's Benefit due to stress or substance abuse is determined by medical professionals, says Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope.

Responding to National's Judith Collins Mr Benson-Pope reminded her that it was the National government in 1995, which introduced the ‘stress’ and ‘depression’ categories as distinct categories of mental health condition for benefit purposes, recognising them as legitimate problems.

"There is now recognition of a wider range of mental health conditions, which weren’t always addressed in the past," said Mr Benson-Pope. "However, Work and Income staff assessing applications for Sickness and Invalid's Benefits are absolutely reliant on the professional medical opinion of clinicians. They are not doctors and operate under strict instructions that it is the role of medical professionals to determine the state of a client's health as it might relate to that client's benefit application."

For example, to qualify medically for an Invalid's Benefit a client needs to be assessed as having a sickness, injury or disability expected to continue for at least two years which prevents the person from regularly working 15 hours or more. Where it is likely these clients would improve within two years as a result of counselling, treatment or rehabilitation, the person will not qualify for an Invalid's Benefit.

"I am not surprised that Judith Collins continues to attack beneficiaries, but her latest outburst is nothing short of an attack on the integrity of medical professionals. It is very disappointing."

Mr Benson-Pope also noted that in the latest year to December the growth rate of both Sickness and Invalids Benefit fell to 2.7 percent: "Sickness and Invalid's Benefits grew at a rate of 69 percent and 84 percent respectively under the National government. We are getting on top of a trend that was out of control under National," said Mr Benson-Pope.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election