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Urgent correction to work-testing claims

27 October 2006

Urgent correction to work-testing claims

Many media are reporting the Working New Zealand package as requiring work testing of all beneficiaries aged over 60.

This is incorrect, and has resulted in confusion and concern among some older New Zealanders who are getting a Sickness or Invalids Benefit. It is also resulting in misleading commentary.

Yesterday's Ministry briefing, the Cabinet paper, and the Working New Zealand factsheets are all clear that Sickness or Invalids Benefit clients of any age will not be work tested.

Please publish a correction if you have reported this matter inaccurately.

Here is a summary:

- Invalids and Sickness Benefit clients are currently exempt from work testing. This exemption will continue.

- Unemployment Benefit clients aged over 60, and beneficiaries' partners aged over 55, are currently exempt from work testing. This exemption will be removed.

- Working New Zealand will introduce new planning requirements, and one-to-one case management, for Sickness and Invalids Benefit clients. This will support them to plan for a return to work if appropriate. Depending on the person's circumstances and requirements, it could involve things like attending a seminar or work-related training.

- People who have a terminal illness or a very severe disability will be exempt from these planning requirements.


ENDS

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