September 07, 2015
Hidden benefits sign of welfare war
A Maori welfare advocate says politicians need to stop playing politics with the welfare system and create a simple system that works.
The Child Poverty Action Group is holding a summit in Auckland today, bringing to together, economists, health and social policy experts from here and overseas to discuss the sort of reforms that would make welfare suitable for families in the 21st century.
Hirini Kaa says with a quarter of a million children in poverty, a disproportionate number of them Maori, the system should be a backstop for families.
Instead they struggle to get what they are due.
Fox example the number of whanau getting the child disability allowance has halved since 2008, despite the number of children with disabilities has increased.
"That’s because Work and Income make it really hard to find information to access. Parents find it really difficult to get what they're entitled to. I mean we're citizens, we're entitled to these benefits, the government puts them forward but making it hard to find is one of the tricks that's used," he says.
Reverend Kaa says the principles of simplicity that apply to superannuation system should apply to other benefits.
Moira Lawler says the panel looking at modernising Child Youth and Family is capable of making a recommendation to cabinet to increase the age at which people who have been in care can access support.
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