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Third Of DPB Parents Not Interested In Work


Third Of DPB Parents "Not Interested In Looking For Work"

According to a recently published Ministry of Social Development report, one third of surveyed sole parents receiving the DPB expressed no interest in looking for work. The report, The 2002 Domestic Purposes and Widow's Benefit Reform: Evaluation Report also found that since the controversial removal of work testing in 2003, the 'exit rate' for recipients whose youngest child is 14 or older has dropped.

"There is no surprise that other factors associated with the fall in this group's exit rate (the rate at which people leave the benefit) included being a teenager when the oldest child was born, having already spent a large proportion of their time in the benefit system and being Maori or Pacific. What should worry the Ministry, " said welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell, "is the number of very young newcomers has not decreased. In September 1999 there were 2,687 18-19 year-olds on the DPB. By September 2007 the number had increased by 15 percent to 3,093. Additionally there are typically six or seven hundred 16 and 17 year-old teenage parents receiving the Emergency Maintenance Allowance at any given time."

"Most of the Work and Income's resources have been focussed on getting more amenable cases into work or training, Meanwhile nothing has been done to discourage the inflow of those mothers who will stay the longest in the system."

"Some case managers reported that the Personal Employment and Development Plans, which replaced work-testing, have made little impression on women who have been on the benefit for six to twelve years who use the new system 'to their advantage'. Others said that their clients showed no interest in keeping a copy of their plan or binned it on the way out. The report states, 'There was a general feeling among case managers that for many people, having a copy of their PDEP was not something they valued highly.' "

"While the number of sole parents on the DPB has dropped, the reasons are complex and may have little to do with the reforms. This is acknowledged by the authors of the report. The drop may be an effect of low unemployment, the Working for Families incentives and the ageing population. Certainly the removal of full-time work-testing for those with children aged fourteen or older has had a negative impact."

ENDS

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