READER REPORT:

Disabled workers need more support

SALLY CHAMPION
Last updated 10:30 12/05/2014

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What's it like living in New Zealand with a disability? We asked Stuff Nation readers to share their experiences.

I made the decision to stop the benefit and start working part-time, but I still remain in an non-viable financial situation.

I have a physical disability that stops me working full-time, so should I receive a tax break similar to Working for Families?

I can't work full-time and get through the work at the required rate, because of my particular physical disability (every person is different in this regard).

Working part time I feel I am making a real contribution to New Zealand. I love my job but I still feel hounded by everyday adult financial commitments.

There are also some non-negotiable expenses I have because of my disability. For instance, I need to run a car to get around, that's a necessity rather than an extravagance for me.

Every time I buy shoes I need to have work done to them which adds an extra $70 to the cost.

Because I am now working I no longer qualify for any help from Work and Income. I can't use a community services card and I'm too wealthy for social housing.

I'm at the stage in my life when I should be saving like mad for my retirement, but because I can't save I'm denied the dignity of making provisions for my own future.

At times I berate myself for not having secured an 'earning' husband while I still had my looks. Still that's not a sure thing either, although in the event of divorce, I'm sure I could make a great case for getting more than 50 percent of our accumulated wealth because of my inequitable earning capacity.

At the end of the day all I really want is to be able to live my life with independent integrity. I want to enjoy my job, work hard and reap a similar reward to others for contributing to my capacity.

Maybe I, and others in similar situations, deserve a tax break along with families, and those others, not quite as deserving, who buy in good accountants.

Sally Champion is the Communications Co-ordinator for Disabled Persons Assembly.


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