BIG NEWS

Friday, May 09, 2008

Record number working while collecting the Invalids Benefit


This quarter's benefit numbers are here. Unemployment has gone up but this increase has not translated to the unemployment benefit as the majority of the 29,000 people who left jobs in the past quarter don`t qualify for a benefit as they have a working partner or are not looking for work.

One thing hasn't changed. Just as many people are working while collecting a benefit. Those on the Invalids Benefit are supposed to be on it because they are unable to work more than 15 hours a week, although they can trial out a job for more than 15 hours a week for a limited time. Yet more than 11,000 people are collecting income on the Invalids Benefit -the most ever. In fact 67% more people are working while collecting the Invalids Benefit than those working and collecting the Unemployment Benefit and Sickness Benefit combined.

Someone should ask how many Invalids beneficiaries have been working for for more than 15 hours a week for longer than a month, and if so, why they are on the Invalids Benefit. Some of them will be blind, which is fine, others should be on the sickness or unemployment benefit. I have a friend who was on the Invalids Benefit and got a full time job. She was no invalid - she was studying towards her PhD.

Meanwhile the Household Labour Force stats are here. Of these aged 20-24, there's is an 7000 increase in unemployed, up from 11,000 to 18,000 in just one quarter. Given that December and March has the highest employment growth of any quarter, why this year is there a 29,000 drop in employment in seasonally adjusted terms?

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