Bennett on welfare reforms

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

As the second round of welfare reforms come back before Parliament Social Development Minister says the 650 children born to women already claiming a benefit in January are reason enough for her tough reforms. …

There were 659 subsequent children born to parents already claiming a benefit this January, she said.Under changes introduced last October, they will have to return to work when that child is 12-months-old, if their older children are aged over 5.

Bennett said Work and Income staff used discretion to excuse 22 of those parents from the work requirement, largely because of timing around the announcement and implementation of the policy.

Meanwhile, in 2010 more than 7.5 per cent of live births – 4800 of 63,900 – were babies born to sole parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) and Emergency Maintenance Allowance.

And between 1993 and 2011, 29 per cent of sole mums on the DPB had another child.

”It does tell us that those that are already on benefits with children are still having subsequent children,” Bennett said.

I think there is a fundamental difference between having a child, and then ending up on welfare (because your partner leaves you, turns violent, dies etc) and already being on welfare and choosing to have further children.

Bennett admits work testing for sole parents was among the ”tougher” reforms.

But in 10 months of last year there were less people going onto the DPB that coming off. A feat which has only been achieved twice in the last 16 years, once when Working for Families was introduced.

A good start.

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