Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:
Work and Income is using “chequebook doctors” to move sick claimants off welfare, advocates say.
State insurer ACC has been criticised for paying medical assessors to examine long-term clients, and lawyers and claimant groups have questioned the assessors’ independence, calling them “hatchet men and women”.
Now those charges are being levelled at Winz. Critics say it is operating a similar system by employing almost 300 “designated doctors” to assess beneficiaries.
Advocates will of course have a negative view of anyone who disagrees with their clients getting the benefit they want. They often have a philosophical view that anyone should be able to get welfare, with no work testing.
A key difference with ACC is there is legitimate criticism that some of the ACC designated doctors do nothing but ACC cases, and are dependent on ACC for most of their income. WINZ has 300 designated doctors who reviews 3,000 cases a year so the average doctor does one case a month.