Disabled workers need more support

Last updated 10:30 12/05/2014

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Do New Zealanders accept difference?

The silent victims of disability issues The problem with looking 'normal' 'You wouldn't know my brain was misfiring' Disabled face discrimination, hardship Be thankful for your benefits Disabled workers need more support My disability cost me my dream job Disability? I've got a DIFFability Being disabled isn't a disaster I'm disabled, and everything's fine

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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