Career Champion: “Career in waiting”

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 6: “Career in waiting”

Over the last six weeks I have been trying to rest after two years of full-time work and build a small platform of safety from which to find work to launch a part-time business.

My plan to create this safety platform was to:

  1. get the Invalid’s Benefit while I rested and gradually built up a little bit of work (total earnings are calculated over a year on Invalid’s Benefit, rather than a week),
  2. withdraw some of my savings from my KiwiSaver, on the grounds of hardship, to live in the interim and
  3. apply for self-employment assistance from Work and Income.

This plan has gone so wrong I’m expecting something to happen to me – like a heart attack or a thunderous religious experience – in response to the stress I’ve generated trying to put my plan into action.

What has happened with the Invalid’s Benefit?

I was refused the Invalid’s Benefit and put on the Sickness Benefit because I had been working full-time before I applied for a benefit. I explained that I was exhausted after this period of work and needed to rest before I started working, in a part-time capacity, again. This explanation wasn’t understood although it was verified by my doctor. I have asked for a benefit review and now I need to go before a Work and Income designated doctor. If the doctor doesn’t agree with my explanation (and my doctor’s) a medical panel will need to review my case.

What has happened with my request to withdraw some of my savings from my KiwiSaver on the grounds of hardship?

It was such a bad idea throwing all my money into KiwiSaver. Now that hardship has struck, though, you would imagine it would be easy enough to get it out.

In my application the figures outlining my financial situation were blood curdling and the documentation verifying each expenditure, irrefutable. I made the necessary bottom-line calculation, in line with the legislation, and asked for that.

Next week, apparently, I will be receiving HALF the amount I asked for. In the real world half the amount I asked for won’t improve my situation one iota.

I have asked for a review of this decision.

What happened when I applied for self-employment assistance from Work and Income?

Last week I went to a seminar run by a great woman who administers the Enterprise Allowance or Flexi-Wage programme. She explained that, to be eligible, candidates were required to go to a short business course and write a business plan, which will be evaluated.

She explained that one business course had been funded and she was trying to get another funded. She acknowledged there were a lot more people at the seminar than there were places on the course.

She asked us to fill in a short business plan template, then to meet and go over it with her this week to see if she thought our ideas were sound. When I presented her with my plan, she said she thought it was intelligent. She also agreed with me that it was important for me to try and get on the Invalid’s Benefit because it is a way to start building up an income stream. “…If you don’t get on the course,” she told me.

I didn’t get on the course. There were just too many people needing the same opportunity.

I am now on a wait list.

Sally says today she was rung and told she had got on the Enterprise Allowance business course after all. She looks forward to telling you all about it in upcoming posts.

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4 thoughts on “Career Champion: “Career in waiting”

  1. when I was on the Invalids Benefit not that long ago, I had to report any earnings in the week I received them and an immediate deduction from my Benefit was made. It was mostly not financially worth the working, but it is still better than doing nothing and feeling out of touch with the world.

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