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AIBU time to change New Zelands Broken Child Support System

(1 Post)
HeadSpace1 Wed 05-Apr-17 00:57:45

I am curretnly lobbying support from as many places as i can over the desperate situation of the child support system here in New Zealand

Firstly about the national living allowance that the child support calculations are based on, they say that it is deemed by the Sole Parent Rate of the Domestic Purposes benefit from the previous year, and that it is what the government deems as the minimum level of income necessary to cover a parents own living expenses.

I want to point out, and speaking from personal experience, that people who receive the Sole Parent Benefit are also entitled to and receive the Accommodation Allowance, to go towards their rent, on top of the base rate benefit.

Sole parent Benefit recipients are also entitled to apply for a Temporary Additional Support to help cover the costs of any household appliances, furniture, TV’s, whitegoods for example that they may be paying off via Hire purchase agreements.
Benefit recipients are also entitled to a certain number of grants whereby The Ministry of social development provide them with white goods at a reduced rate that they pay off without interest. The same goes to the availability of Clothing Grants, Dental Work Grants, Bond Advances for Rentals and a certain amount of unrecoverable Food Grants per year.

So as you can see I don’t think that there is many people out there on the Sole Parent Benefit that actually live on that $19,396, that’s only $373 per week to live on. Given that the median rent for a 2 bedroom home at the moment (in Westland) is $230 per week, that’s $143 left or $11,960 annually before you even consider the basics of power phone and food for the Parent and the Dependant. Elsewhere in the country the median rent is upwards of $350 for a 2 bedroom home or flat I ask what do those people do?

So considering all the extra’s available for Beneficiaries to make the amount of benefit they receive more liveable every week how do the government justify that the Liable parents especially ones with other Dependants and Financially Dependant Partners are only allowed that flat rate of $19,396 to live on per year when there is so many other options available for Beneficiaries?

The way the system stands it punishes liable parents for trying to get ahead in their careers and or fields of work because they are continuously penalised for earning more and more. If the government is able to cap the living allowance for the calculations there surely should be a limit to how much a liable parent has to pay per child. As I certainly do not spend $95 per week on each of the Three dependant Children in our household, I know that a lot of people certainly pay a lot more per week than that too.

As for the issues regarding the lifestyle choices of the receiving carer in my Husbands case if Inland Revenue cannot concern itself then why is there the option when going for a review on Ground 8? “The assessment doesn’t take into account the other parents earning capacity and / or ability to work” Does this not give indication that Inland Revenue can look at the individual case and consider the Age of the child, and the physical ability of the receiving parent to go out and be in outside employment.

In this case there is nothing physically stopping the receiving parent from doing this and think that she should have to prove otherwise, as she was able to go out and volunteer with the toy library and Various Salvation Army run playgroups during school hours, so it is effectively deemed as her choice, therefore the Liability should reflect this. However I think because the money is not going to the Receiving parent but to the government there is certainly no motivation for them to look at doing anything about it.

I thought it was a requirement of the Sole Parent Domestic Purposes Benefit that one made an effort to obtain paid employment of some description after the child was a certain age.

While I am aware that the technical team and review officers can only make a decision based on the information provided by both parties I think that you could also argue that it is not just, equitable or otherwise proper when they are presented with information and evidence proving that beyond a doubt, placing this liability on a Parent with other Dependants, and in a situation where the wife cannot find work, could well put that family in danger of not being able to pay their monthly bills or put food on the table and provide for their Children.

it is unfair that years in the future are able to be reviewed, and that at no point in the process was this pointed out to my husband. It should be a right to a review for each new financial year or new assessment as it is not often people can predict the future and often circumstances can vary massively from one year to the next. To a certainty this rule should be abolished completely.

While the system may have had updates recently it certainly hasn’t improved it for the better and I think in many cases it has made things worse, I know it is also directly causing a lot of child poverty, hardship, Mental Health, Relationship Health and household debt issues for Blended families all over this country.

I strongly suggest you have a look at the Facebook support pages to be aware that the child support department is tearing otherwise happy families apart unnecessarily over money.

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