WINZ Deputy Chief Executive stretches truth in Dominion Post
Patricia Reade, Deputy Chief Executive of Work and Income stated in a letter to the Dominion Post this week that there is no link between the number receiving an unemployment benefit, and a sickness or invalids benefit.
She felt the need to do that because a former staff member pointed out that there was indeed a link and people were going to the doctor claiming depression so as to go on sickness and invalids benefits. Unfortunately for Ms Reade, most of the figures of benefit transfers are in the public arena, and nearly a quarter of new applications for the Sickness and Invalids Benefits are made by people already recieving a main benefit.
Of those who were on an Unemployment Benefit last year, 193 transferred to the Invalids benefit and massive 8579 transferred to the Sickness Benefit. That’s just last year. Of those who were on a Sickness Benefit, 5968 transferred to the Invalids benefit, including probably some of the ones that were transferred from the Unemployment Benefit earlier in the year, hence the link to the Unemployment Benefit. That’s the highest amount since 2002. Fewer than 300 transferred the other way off the Invalids benefit.
So now we have a little bit of an idea as to why the Invalids Benefit numbers have increased. For Ms Reade to say that there is no link is simply untruthful. Even her own Ministry does not agree with her. From the Ministry’s research:
Through disillusion with their prospects as job seekers, or as a result of being moved by the employment services or by benefit administrators, [people] progressively moved on to incapacity-related benefits.