Another sign that something’s rotten in the welfare state: couples are splitting to get extra benefit.
A community leader in New Zealand’s “DPB capital” of Kawerau says 70 per cent of those claiming the benefit in the town have partners “round the back door”.
Kay Brereton of the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation said couples who might be getting $200 below their living costs on the $324 weekly couple unemployment benefit were being tempted to split.
One could then get $278 on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB) and the other could get $194 on the single dole – a total of $472, and almost $150 extra a week.
“In the current financial reality, more and more couples will be looking to maximise their income,” Ms Brereton said.
People living separately and claiming two benefits would get more than if they lived together. That’s because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be lower for one household than two.” But they’d spend more too because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be higher for two households than one.
Couples who deliberately arrange their affairs by living apart to maximise benefit payments are committing fraud. But as Lindsay Mitchell says: Forget illegal. What about immoral?
Her post DPB – same story, different decade is also pertinent as is Deborah Coddington’s column time to wake up to reality of child-bashing shame.
The benefit which was designed to give temporary help to women and children leave hopeless relationships, still does for some. But it’s a trap for others and is one of the factors in our appalling record of child abuse.