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Mind the Gap forum highlights financial vulnerability

Mind the Gap forum highlights the financial vulnerability of families when long term illness strikes

Each year in 54,800 Kiwi households (a Tauranga-sized city) the main earner’s income is lost through long term illness. More than half lose it for six months or more. Unexpected long term illness is the most likely source of financial hardship for New Zealand families.

The Financial Services Council (FSC) is hosting a half day forum in Auckland on Tuesday 17 November entitled Mind the Gap to highlight the financial vulnerability of families when a main income earner is unable to work because of long term illness.

FSC CEO Peter Neilson said the key findings of in-depth research will be presented at the forum including that the average household needs $683 a week after tax to make up for the loss of a main earners income. By comparison, the maximum benefit for a couple with children is $348 after tax.

“The research revealed disturbing knowledge gaps about benefit entitlements – for example, few New Zealanders are aware that if their partner earns $30,000 or more, they probably won’t be eligible for a job placement benefit” (formerly known as the sickness benefit).

Mr Neilson said the forum will cover:

• New research detailing how much Kiwis value and protect their incomes

• First-hand experiences from patient support groups of the financial cost of long term illness

• Explanations from Government agencies of the limits of the benefit safety net

• Affordable options from the insurance industry for Kiwis to protect their incomes

• Real life stories of people who have benefited from income protection insurance

Presenters will include representatives from patient advocacy groups the Cancer Society, Stroke Foundation and Heart Foundation; representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and Accident Compensation Corporation; and FSC members representing the financial services industry.

The event will be of interest to personal finance, health and political reporters and columnists.

Mr Neilson said attendance is free for: Journalists, Personal finance advisers, Political spokespeople/policy advisers, Employer/employee organisations, Government agencies, Healthcare organisations and Iwi, hapu, whanau.

Mind the Gap Income Protection Forum details

Time and Date: 9am – 1pm, 17 November 2015

Venue: Robb Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Park Road, Grafton

(Directly across the road from the main entrance to Auckland Hospital)

Registration: www.mindthegap.co.nz/forum

Enquiries: fsc@fsc.org.nz

ENDS

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