Career Champion: “The benefit of the benefit”


Sally Champion

Sally Champion continues her weekly blog about the process of setting up a part-time business as a writer. She had polio as a child and after years of working nine to five, she is now having to think differently about how to earn her living. Sally invites your comment and advice.

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Episode 3: “The benefit of the benefit”

Today I filled out yet another form and delivered it to my local Community Link office.

The Benefit Review Form asked me to write down why I thought I should be on an Invalid’s Benefit (the type of benefit I originally applied for) rather than the Sickness Benefit which was the type of support I was granted.

Before I explain why I decided to ask for a review, I want to mention Minister Bennett’s speech to medical professionals given in September last year.

You should read it. It’s a truly wonderful speech. In the speech Minister Bennett talks about work as the pathway to wellness.

From July this year, she says, welfare reform will give  a larger proportion of New Zealanders an opportunity to find work and the support they need to do that.

I agree one hundred percent with what Minister Bennett says. But, back to why I put in the review form.

My plan has always been to:

  • get the Invalid’s Benefit for a short time to rest
  • start doing a little bit of work as I regain some energy
  • get some evidence that my services are in demand, finish my business plan, and apply for self-employment assistance  from Work and Income.
  • build-up my work until I don’t need any help and I become a self- supporting, tax-paying New Zealander, once again.

So does it really matter what benefit I’m on now? Well, yes, sort of.

It’s all to do with the practicalities of how to manage on a small amount of money while I’m still in the early stages of my plan. On the Invalid’s Benefit any money you earn is looked at on a yearly basis, while on Sickness Benefit any earnings are looked at weekly.

I’ve been on the Invalid’s Benefit, briefly, before and it works best for contract work. You don’t need to pay to go to the doctor to get a medical certificate all the time, either.

I’ve discovered trying to find work can be pure speculation. It can cost money and have no guaranteed return. Sort of like playing the pokies, but not nearly as much fun. I put a tender in the other day for my services and that process cost me $40 for photocopying, binding, etc. That is one sixth of my present weekly income of $259. Yikes!

I feel worn out today Minister Bennett. At times trying to do this feels like a game of ladders and snakes. Still, let’s hope I’ve made a good case for getting on the Invalid’s Benefit.

Meanwhile, I am making slow progress. I have arranged an appointment later in the week with someone at Work and Income to get more information about self-employment assistance; and Kiwi Saver officials tell me I will have their decision about whether they will release some of my savings back to me in a week’s time.

Sally asks readers to keep their fingers crossed for her and to visualise abundance coming her way – like a ten-tonne truck.

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3 thoughts on “Career Champion: “The benefit of the benefit”

  1. Thanks and you are right Trish re nobody wants to be on a benefit. At the moment I’m having to put SO much energy into trying to create some sort of platform to live on while I look for paid work that creating that platform threatens to be my work.

    I need to get out of that space. It will get me no where.

  2. It’s a great plan Sally! I’m visualizing for you – the bureaucracy is melting, good sense is rising over the Wellington hills, and the mantra “a hand up, not a hand out” is being sung by the dawn chorus.

    Most people don’t want to be on a benefit. Why would they? Enforced poverty is not fun. Having the chance to contribute is what most of us want, but the sheer extra energy required when living with a disability is one of the great unacknowledged areas that impact on that.

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