Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Growth In Sickness And Invalid Benefits

Media Release

Growth In Sickness And Invalid Benefits

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just released Ministry of Social Development figures show a further increase in the numbers of people reliant on sickness and invalid's benefits. Totalling over 123,000 the figure is now three times the number on the unemployment benefit.

Asked by Kathryn Ryan, on yesterday's Nine to Noon show, if evidence exists that people are moving from the dole to sickness benefits, welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell confirmed there is.

"There is a constant flow between benefits. Taking this into account the net gain from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit over the five years to April 2005 was 20,870. Over the same period the net gain from the sickness benefit to invalid's benefit was 26,302, bearing in mind the same beneficiary may have been transferred more than once.

The pathway itself is no new thing. But a yearly breakdown reveals that since 1999 the net gain from the unemployment benefit to the sickness benefit has increased steadily and significantly each year, decreasing slightly in 2005.

The increasing duration of stay on these benefits is also contributing to their growth. For instance in 1990 seventy one percent stayed on a sickness benefit for less than one year. Today that has dropped to 47 percent.

Other contributors to the growth are increasing rates of psychiatric and psychological illness (including stress and depression), de- institutionalisation, change in family structure and change in eligibility.

"The fastest growing household in New Zealand is the single household. Fewer people have partners to rely on if they fall sick or have an accident so more people rely on the state. And before the seventies, when the growth began, people not of 'good moral character and sober habits' and those whose incapacity for work was self-induced, did not qualify."

The reason most commonly given for the growth is the ageing population. But given the number of sickness and invalid's benefits have increased eight-fold since the early seventies, while the most relevant demographic, the over 40s, has not even doubled, ageing isn't high on the list of factors. Also, there are 6,800 more under-40 year-olds on these benefits than five years ago.
GP, Dr Richard McGrath, also interviewed on Nine to Noon, remarked on the increasing number of young people needing to go on a sickness benefit due to drug and alcohol problems. Statistics show since 2001 there has been a 50 percent increase in people aged 19 and younger going on a sickness benefit.

A Dominion Post editorial today says that most sickness and invalid benefits are legitimate. The OECD on the other hand estimated that across western countries only one third of people on disability payments were suffering disabilities severe enough to make paid work difficult or impossible.

"The problem for the government is this. When New Zealand last had unemployment as low as today, around 1986, there were 140,000 working age people on benefits. Today there are 282,000 while the population has only increased by a quarter. While they can claim success for overseeing a strong economy providing thousands of new jobs, they cannot claim success in stemming the growth of sickness and invalid benefits."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Winston Peters’ Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

So in the latest 3News-Reid Research poll, New Zealand First and the Conservatives have been the big winners. It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other’s vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist...

Poll fixation though, is a symptom of horse race journalism. To date, the focus has been on the poll numbers for New Zealand First – at 6.3% in this latest poll – and the power that this puts in Peters’ hands. Few are questioning how he’s got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. Yet as sure as night follows day, Winston Peters is once again peddling bile at the immigrants in our midst. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour On Climate Change: Focus On The Now For The Future

A Labour Government will put in place a comprehensive climate change strategy focusing on both mitigation and adaptation, establish an independent Climate Commission and implement carbon budgeting, says Labour Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Housing Assistance Plan

So, as many as 90,000 people could derive some benefit from National’s housing assistance plans for low and middle-income earners... Yet in reality, the benefits seem likely to be insignificant, and they will be skewed towards those at the top end of the income group that’s supposedly the target. More>>

ALSO:

Election Data Consortium: National’s Worst Case Scenario At Stage One?

A month out from the general election and ipredict traders are still forecasting National’s vote to slip below current polling levels and there is potential for it to fall further. More>>

ALSO:

From The Scoop Video Archive: PM Says SIS "Told Me" About OIA Release

In a press conference immediately following an controversial OIA release of notes on an SIS briefing to then Labour leader Phil Goff, Key said "at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ...". Since the release of Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Politics' Key has denied being personally informed and said references by officials to 'the PM' being told briefed referred to his office. He now says the same about his own statement. More>>

ALSO:

  • Scoop Video in the news - New questions over Key claims | NZ Herald News - Stuff.co.nz
  • Earlier - Felix Marwick: Laying out facts over SIS documents - Newstalk ZB
  • Labour - Director’s letter contradicts Key’s claims
  • ACT - The Letter - 26 days to go
  • TV3 Video - Housing issue nudges Dirty Politics aside - David Cunliffe: Key's SIS explanation 'defies belief' - SIS leak came from Key's Office - Goff - Key 'categorically denies' Slater OIA discussion - Video: Key faces more Dirty Politics questions

  • TVNZ - Winston Peters: ‘Dirty Politics' is a new low
  • The Nation - Debate Between Grant Robertson And Russel Norman
  • NZ First - “The Words Mean What I Say They Mean”
  • Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

    Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

    This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

    Earlier:

    Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

    National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news