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Working and Welfare: how do they mix?

Working and Welfare: how do they mix?

Rebecca Occleston of Beneficiary Advisory Service states that she read another article recently on “Generous welfare benefits make people more likely to want to work, not less” and she agrees with this statement.

“Research has consistently shown that when more jobs are available, more people are working and when there are fewer jobs, there are more people on welfare. It is pretty simple stuff. However, the culture encouraged by the previous Government that there was something wrong with people receiving welfare benefits has infiltrated society so widely that even many people on benefits have believed it!” Rebecca says.

“When people on benefits are not receiving enough money for their basic needs, this affects their ability to even look for work. Their lives can be so stressful just living day-to-day, that trying to plan for anything further than this week can feel impossible. Once we are setting welfare payments at a level where people can afford everything they need, that is one huge level of stress that is reduced and people are more able to concentrate on other matters in their lives.

“I would also stress that paid work isn’t the ideal for everyone at every point in their lives,” Rebecca adds. “People may be busy working as parents or volunteers in the community; they may be studying or working through (physical, mental or emotional) issues. But regardless of this, there are many people on benefits right now that would prefer to be in work, so concentrating on helping them should be the priority for the work broker part of Work and Income.

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“What is stopping people from finding work may be another whole different issue: it could be society’s attitude or assumptions on what certain people can or can’t do. I have heard many times people saying someone will “never get a job” because of some medical issue they have. Well of course they won’t if everyone believes they can’t! I would hope employers will look at what people can do, regardless of their age, race, sex, mobility issues or atypical thinking.

Rebecca Occleston is the Speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

Beneficiary Advisory Service is a Christchurch based Community Group who help people on benefits and low incomes with their problems with Work and Income. We are specialists in Welfare Law and provide advice, information, support and advocacy to hundreds of people every year. We can be found at Christchurch Community House, contacted on 03 379 8787 and bas.cprc@gmail.com or visit our website at bas.org.nz or find us on facebook: @BeneficiaryAdvisoryService

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