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Govt cut-backs hit families of children with disabilities

Govt cut-backs hit families of children with disabilities

The Green Party is demanding an urgent explanation from the Government about why the number of disability allowances for children has been slashed, despite the number of children with disabilities increasing.

The Child Poverty Action Group’s (CPAG) latest report shows that the number of child disability allowances has dropped by a quarter under National, from 43,185 in 2008 to 34,968 in 2013.

“The National Government must urgently explain why it has cut access to the child disability allowance for the most vulnerable children in New Zealand,” said Green Party disability issues spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

“This allowance is essential for households with a disabled child, when often one parent has to remain at home to care for the child, instead of working.

“How is it possible that fewer parents are now getting access to the child disability allowance at the same time as the number of children with disability has actually increased, to some 95,000 in 2013?

“The Government needs to heed the recommendations from the CPAG’s report and immediately reassess the criteria for parents of children with disabilities for receiving financial assistance, to ensure that every family gets the support they need.

“CPAG’s report shows the Government is failing our nation’s most vulnerable families and their children.

“CPAG points out that it is disabled children, the most vulnerable children in New Zealand, who are bearing the brunt of this Government’s devastating welfare reform policies.

“How are the families of those children, who need financial assistance to meet the extra cost of caring for a disabled child, but either don’t reach a bureaucratic threshold or can’t access their entitlements, making ends meet?

“The short answer is they’re not. Anecdotally, we know that, and now this report from the CPAG has confirmed it.

“It’s not okay to make it so hard for parents of children with disabilities to receive the child disability allowance just to help the Government’s books look good.

“The CPAG report is entitled “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard”. They’re right, it shouldn’t be.

“But unfortunately, the National Government’s heartless policies are making day-to-day life very hard indeed for children with disabilities and their families,” said Ms Mathers.


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