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Better personal service promised for Sole Parents

Better personal service promised for Sole Parents

The Ministry of Social Development’s Work and Income service will begin working in a new way with sole parents as part of the Government’s abolition of the work test for people on the Domestic Purposes and Widows Benefit.

The Social Security (Personal Development and Employment) Amendment Act 2002 comes into effect on Monday 10 March 2003.

From this date the age of the youngest child in a family will no longer determine whether sole parents on DBP and Widows Benefit are required to work, and whether they work part or full time.

Instead people on these two benefits will participate in a planning process that promotes goal setting and planning for the time when their circumstances allow them to successfully combine parenting and work.

DPB/WB clients will work with their case managers to develop a Personal Development and Employment Plan that identifies barriers to employment and opportunities to improve their skills and participation in the community. Clients will also set their own goals and be supported to achieve these by specially trained case managers who will have strong local knowledge and community connections.

This change to a social development approach is supported by the introduction of a new single abatement rate for DPB/WB clients allowing them to keep a greater proportion of any income they receive while on the benefit.

DPB/WB clients will be able to earn up to $80 a week on top of their benefit with no affect on their main benefit, and income between $80 and $180 reduces the benefit by 30 cents for every dollar received and by 70 cents for every dollar received over $180.

“Work and Income has been working with clients in readiness for the changes and case managers have reported that they and clients prefer this new collaborative approach that recognises the diversity of sole parents and provides tailored support that meets clients’ individual needs,” said Peter Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development.

“Case Managers been specially trained in the new model and caseloads for DPB and Widow Benefit clients have been reduced to a national average of 150 per case manager in order to ensure they receive an enhanced service.

“Work and Income is committed to working with sole parents and their families to help them prepare and move on to an independent and financially secure future,” concluded Peter Hughes.

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