Why is this OK?

It’s quite something that the only way I can get proper support from a government department is to publicly shame them every time they do something wrong.

It’s a shame because a government department our vulnerable people rely on is so  ridiculously incompetent.

It’s also a shame because they do wrong things a lot, and I am getting tired of writing about this. I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about it.

So. I took a “check-in” phone call from my case manager on Friday 9 May.

My benefit is actually made up of several different payments – the benefit itself, the accommodation supplement, the disability allowance, and a portion called Temporary Additional Support (or TAS) which you can apply for when you have nothing else to fall back on. You can qualify if you have no assets.

I was finally told I qualified for this 4 months ago. I applied and was granted it for a 13 week period. It’s been helping a lot.

I knew that it was due to end so I asked my case manager about it during that phone call. She said that, despite the fact I had been sent a letter with a reapplication form, there was no need for me to reapply. I repeatedly checked with her that there was nothing I needed to do. She told me to ignore the letter. So I did.

Let’s get something straight right now. If she had told me during that phone call two weeks ago that I needed to fill in the form I had been sent, otherwise I would lose about $60 a week – I would have done it. There is absolutely no reason for me not to do it, and many reasons why I would have.

I noticed this week that my benefit was less. I emailed my case manager to ask why. She replied that my TAS had indeed been removed and I needed to reapply.

I tried to say that she had advised me otherwise. She told me WINZ don’t record phone calls. Which is interesting because their website says they do.

I guess I will be doing so from now on.

I’ve filled out the form. I will have to take it into the office and I will try to deliver it to her directly so it does not get lost.

I do not understand why things like this are being allowed to continue. This may be just one tiny incident, but I have heard hundreds of stories of people having the exact same frustrating, infuriating, tiring, demoralising experiences.

This is “one tiny incident” that effects my life, because that is money that I need to live.

Why is it that every single time I have to talk to WINZ, I am left in angry tears? Why is it that their incompetence results in me losing money I’m entitled to and need? Why is that ok?

Here’s the answer.

It’s absolutely not.

19 Replies to “Why is this OK?”

  1. Gloria

    The bureaucracy is so complicated even they don’t understand it & don’t administer it correctly. Most of us see this when we deal with government. We shrug & sort it. But is not OK to subject vulnerable people to this especially when it threatens their only means of support. It’s not OK to put anyone through this really. Unacceptable WINZ!

  2. Fiona

    I hope things change when we get rid of this vile government with such vile people in it. My sone has had hell over the last year trying to get the UB and still doesn’t have it. The BRC are just a huge waste of Taxpayers money with such morons sitting in judgement. So much evidence to support his application and they still upheld the local offices decision.

  3. Geoff Lye

    Yes this sucks.

    I have a diabetic 22 year old who has been screwed over by winz, doctors, medical professionals in more was than one.

    How winz can expect a 18 year old to pay for medicine some subsidised and some not pay for accommodation and food and still have enough money to get to work and buy enough meds to be able to do so when the basic benefit including extras is less than $250 a week is just bloody cruel and unusual torture.

  4. Richard Wiig

    “Why is it that their incompetence results in me losing money I’m entitled to and need?”

    You haven’t lost it if you didn’t have it to begin with. Why do I lose money that I worked for, money that is mine, and that I need, before I even get to see it? If there was benevolence in action it would be me giving money straight to you, because I either know you and care about you, or to a charity that I trust, who then helps you. When the cold hand of the state steps in and compulsorily takes peoples money from them it severs the benevolence from social relationships. There is nothing benevolent about taxation and welfare. It establishes a state of pressure group warfare, a war that you have now joined.

    1. Remy

      Because we pay taxes to a government, who we elect, to spend it on the public good. It’s not “your” money – from the moment it leaves your paycheck, it’s the government’s money.

      Taxation is what we pay to live in a decent country.

    2. Stephanie

      I’m staggered at the lack of compassion you must have to ignore the actual harm Sarah is talking about in order to whinge about how terrible it is to live in a liberal democracy where taxes are levied to ensure a basic level of public services – services which you personally benefit from directly (because you drive on the roads, use the hospitals, and get to call the police when you experience ACTUAL theft) and indirectly (because the community you live in is healthier, safer, and more stable).

      At least you haven’t *lost* your compassion because you clearly didn’t have any to begin with.

    3. Megapope

      You sound like a greedy arsehole. Your taxes go to people who need support, ABLOO HOO HOO it must really tear you up inside seeing people get your hard earned tax moneys.

      You know what severs benevolence? People like you coming in and complaining about the miniscule amount of help that beneficiaries are getting.

      I’m sure you’ll be complaining just as hard about your pension payments and free health care in the future.

    4. Vish

      Research does not support your contentions. In fact research shows women are more likely to increase men’s contributions to philanthropic causes, so while you may claim to be charitable and address inequality I assure you, that is your opinion and not backed up by sociological investigations.

      Research also suggests that facts don’t change people’s minds and that by responding to your comment I will further entrench you in your position. I do however feel that in commenting others might benefit from seeing the rebuttal and be equipped to counter your kind of argument.

      Here is a link to why our tax goes to help people achieve equality when illness and other circumstances disadvantage them:

      I hope people will take the time to read The Spirit Level which discusses inequality and how it hurts society.

      Anyone commenting on this blog should at least consider looking up social justice issues that affect society. Sociology is a broad field that offers myriad solutions to problems far broader than what our media and politicians might put forward. When commenting on disability or illness we should all be aware that illness is random and not deserved. It is a very clear disadvantage that needs to be countered for the good of us all.

      1. Stacey

        Well said, Vish. Sociology should be standard inclusion from primary up. Spirit Level is a great article.

    5. Kasper

      Richard – maybe you’re trolling, but if you’re serious, is there an instance from history that supports your world view as being functional?

  5. Richard Wiig

    Kasper, slavery doesn’t work, never has worked, and is morally wrong. Can you give me an instance where it has ever been a good thing? As for trolling, if you mean that in being an enthusiastic follower of the Nelson Mail opinion pages I took an interest in a new columnists blog and care enough about the issues raised to make some reasoned comment on it, then I guess you can say I’m trolling. If you mean anything other that though, then I’m not trolling.

    1. Kasper

      You didn’t answer the question so I’ll take that as a no. Good luck with the Ayn Rand fan fiction.

    2. Stephanie

      You have a funny definition of “reasoned comment”, Richard. You derailed the conversation to your own pet topics and accused Sarah of being part of a “war” to “pressure” you into paying taxes towards the society which supports you.

  6. Richard Wiig

    I think I have answered your question. People act with goodwill towards each other all the time on a daily basis without anyone forcing them to, and works well. Those who are nasty to others are actually in the minority. I asked by what right a claim can be made to enslave others. Its a valid question and reasonable question that, being the advocate of slavery that you are, you should be able to answer.

    1. verbscape

      If you genuinely believe taxation to be slavery, you lack the critical thinking skills to comprehend the answer.

  7. Richard Wiig

    Stephanie, I wish people would actually read what I wrote properly. What I said to Sarah is that she’s taking part in pressure group warfare. Thats how the welfare system works. Government takes peoples money from them before they even get to hold it in their hands (something that common criminals can only dream of) and then pressure groups fight over it to get what they consider to be their share. I have derailed nothing. I’ve simply looked at it from a different perspective to you.

  8. ben

    I am 30 years old in 2010 i began losing my fight with asthma to the point where i woke up in hospital with my partner standing over me in tears as the doctor had just told her i was not looking good. The asthma society lady told me to move some where warm so we moved our family to Brisbane Qld. I got a job my asthma virtually dissappeared and I began to excel at my job and was soon offered a managers role following a physical. I failed the eye exam so alarmingly I was sent to an eye specialist. Iwas diagnosed with Keratoconis and some 3 months later was almost totally blind. I have had one corneal graft and it has improved my vision little and that has been a three year process i am on a waiting list to repeat the process. I had to bring my family home and did so in december 2013 and reguardless of every hoop jumped through and every humiliation suffered every debt I gathered along the way for repeated doctors bills I am still no closer to having the support i am legally and morally entitled to. I had to tell my four year old that we would have to wait a year for santa as looked at my empty account where my winz payment was abscent. And now in june im still being asked to prove my blindness (My wife is taking dictation to complete this) even after all the proof i have given my asthma Is worse than ever due to stress and im afraid they may very well whitness me choke to death infront of them before this is resolved.


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