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Preview: Comments on Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty: Sickness, injury, disability or pregnancy

Comments on Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty: Sickness, injury, disability or pregnancy

Updated: 2017-06-04T10:45:19.557+12:00


I am 35 years old, married with 1 child, and anoth...


I am 35 years old, married with 1 child, and another one on the way. I can say some people like myself have ended up on the sickness benefit because the stress, & possibly resulting depression that has been incurred by the Government by using the WINZ department, to harrass, harang, bully, pickon etc. I am not what some people who have always had been in permanent work, would would call a dole bludger or long term unenmployed. I have worked every crap job under sometimes up to 10 a year. All the winz department has offered me is there solution to keep people in the poverty trap & screwing with there heads through the brainwashing work & 4 you seminars. Perhaps the real phrase that the government uses under there breath is work or otherwise we'll fxxx you with our policy.

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I literally just came off the Invalid's benefit la...


I literally just came off the Invalid's benefit last week.

It is a fucking relief to finally be off it. Being on the Invalid's benefit is a living hell in my experience. The meetings, the threats to cut your benefit all the time, the hoops you have to jump through... and THEN last year when I was terribly unwell, I was told that WINZ would not provide me with any 'extra assistance' (I literally couldn't do any housework and was afraid to walk outside - yet my daughter still had to get to kindy etc and live in this house safely while my husband was at work full-time). Anyway - I was told I did not qualify for even a tiny amount of extra assistance because my 'legs work'.

What-the-fuck-ever. Why was I on an Invalid's benefit if I did not need the help?? And what on earth is the Invalid's Benefit for if it is not supposed to assist people in times of great need?

Anyway, I can say right now that if they start work-testing people on sickness/invalid's benefits, people on those benefits will DIE as a result. Mainly from the utter stress they will experience. I'm pretty sure it happens already.

So WINZ is now officially going to be in the business of tipping people over the edge. I guess that means a few less people for them to 'look after'. It makes me totally sick.

I completely disagree with work-testing for people on sickness/invalid's benefits. If someone on a sickness/invalid's benefit COULD work, chances are they would work. There are enough fucking doctor's visits assuring WINZ that the person is indeed unwell... surely that is enough??

Why put people who are sick through even more shit in order to get the piddly amount of money which barely enables them to pay the bills anyhow? DO THEY THINK PEOPLE ENJOY LIVING LIKE THAT???

For me, not being able to pay the bills makes my psychological problems even worse. Going in to WINZ makes things worse. Going to see the doctor and talk about personal and upsetting things over and over makes it worse. Having the benefit cut out of the blue for no particular reason makes it worse. Being told we owe $500 despite doing everything WINZ asked us to, and THEN having the case-worker magically 'write it off' so we don't owe anything makes things worse - AND it thoroughly pisses me off. Being told when I am terribly unwell and utterly desperate that I do not 'qualify' for any extra help that the Invalid's benefit is SUPPOSED to provide in dire situations nearly tipped *me* over the edge. That was a low fucking day.

Sorry for the rant.

I am so glad I am off the Invalid's benefit and I will be keeping my beady eye on the news to find out if the government are further abusing people on sickness/invalid's benefits.

I just wish there was something I could actually DO, to make a change. Nobody cares about what a 'crazy' has to say.

Now I wonder how on earth I would fare if I was suddenly not with my husband anymore and had to go back on the Invalid's benefit. There is no way in hell I could cope with work testing. The stress would drive me absolutely insane and no doubt the government would then take my daughter away from me.

I certainly don't like that scenario.

Take care,


The government presumably believes that people wor...


The government presumably believes that people working as opposed to being on a benefit is a good thing - so if there is an incentive to work (e.g. changing that marginal income to lets say $2ph) then it might create an extra dollar or two for the country somewhere in the economy, that could then, theoretically, be used to pay larger invalid benefits or whatever.

No since there are jobs that almost anyone can do - one of these is telemarketing. Some people can and are good at this BUT don't want to do it for 1 dollar an hour or whatever they are left with after the marginal tax rate. So they create the incentives above - which seem unfair but may be "win-win"

> There is a huge amount of unreasonable prejudice against hiring people who are sick, disabled, or injured.

There should be (and I presume is) some sort of benefit subsidy for employing a sickness beneficiary?

> Why do we let our economic system dictate our participation in society

Because we don’t have the power to enforce otherwise. The problem is that would require the ability to read peoples minds (would you have hired this person if they were not disabled?)

> Almost everyone can do some useful and meaningful work, if they're allowed to do it on their terms.

The economy is complex nowadays, so it is hard to tell what actually adds value in many industries - but you could have an argument for paid community service (i.e. pay charities for working with people to find nominal work, which would otherwise be on benefits or in prison or whatever).

How do you think changing the Reserve Bank Act wou...


How do you think changing the Reserve Bank Act would be effective in reducing unemployment? What specific changes would be necessary?

Incidentally, the Progressive distribution workers' lockout ended over a month ago. Why are you still displaying the ad on your blog?

I agree with weka regarding the increase in sickne...


I agree with weka regarding the increase in sickness benefit numbers - part of it will also be that I suspect mental illness is more likely to now be recognised by doctors (as it should be) and thus those suffering end up on the sickness benefit (where they should be) instead of the dole.

I can vouch secondhand for the stress of being on a benefit. I was unable to work for three years due to ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) and depression (each feeding the other). Luckily my family was able to support me and I did not have to seek WINZ support. However I encountered many others without my luck. Without exception they were sicker than me and sick for longer. Their tales of the stress of constant WINZ work-testing and pressure to get back to work of some sort, when they had a chronic illness that looked deceptively like laziness, made me very grateful for my own good fortune.

The increase in sickness beneficiaries has been go...


The increase in sickness beneficiaries has been going on for a long time. There was a big shift of people off the dole and onto sickness when the govt was wanting to seriously get the unemployment figures down. Can't remember if that was the Nats or Labour... I'm thinking 90s so I guess it was the Nats originally?

However this doesn't mean that people on sickness shouldn't be there. If you spend long enough on the dole (i.e. being poor) then your chances of getting ill are much higher than if you had enough money ti live on and keep yourself well. It ain't rocketscience.

I haven't seen the figures, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if there ARE more people ill now than say in the 90s simply because of the accumulating effect on the population of long term unemployment. Not to mention the other factors like increase in food prices, GP visits etc.

We also know that chronic illness is on a significant rise in the West, including health issues associated with depression (the reason for the most GP visits). It's not hard to see both a general increase in people being unable to work, and the previously mentioned increase in people on other benefits becoming unwell.

The other reason the sickness benefit figures have gone up is because it's now harder to get on the Invalid's Benefit.

As for the 'genuinely sick', there is a system in place for determining who is eligible. You have to go to Med school for more than 5 years in order to approve someone for a medical benefit. Getting on the IB is much harder than it used to be. But even getting on Sickness, doctors still have their professional reputations to think of and while there are some doctors of conscience out there who will cut strugglin people some slack (thank god) I don't see a whole bunch paving the way for the 'ungenuinely' ill.

In fact WINZ seems to be engaging in a lower level version of what ACC have long been masters at. Using conservative doctors to redefine what 'ill' actually means. Hmm... maybe one could also consider the big push of the last decade by ACC to dump its clients and those clients ending up on sickness benefits instead...

Your analysis leaves a very relevant fact unmentio...


Your analysis leaves a very relevant fact unmentioned: the number of sickness beneficiaries has increased rapidly the last few years.

That means that either a: the number of NZers falling sick is aso increasing rapidly, or b: there are people on the sickness benefit who shouldn't be. Option 'a' seems rather less likely than option 'b'.

I have no idea whether this comes down to bludgers working the system, overanxious doctors, WINZ reducing unemployment by recategorising the unemployed, or a combination of the three. Whatever it is, we can either have a Labour-led govt do something about it, or a National-led govt do something about it. Not doing something about it isn't on the agenda - that would offer a govt's political opponents way too much ammunition.

It's basically a question of who we'd prefer to tackle the job - Labour or National. I'm picking Labour as marginally less likely to biff genuinely sick people off the benefit.