Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio,tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.
In regard to my last post questioning what children learn from beneficiary mothers with ingrained helplessness and over-developed senses of entitlement, a commentor, Sam, asked “What happens to children of beneficiaries when they become adults?”
I am aware of various NZ research which answers the question.
Broadly speaking, the longer the parent is dependent, the worse the risk of inter-generational dependence becomes.
While Bill English was Finance Minister there were multiple actuarial reports into the benefit system.
“New analysis this year shows that just under half of all children born in 1993/94 and 1994/95 with a parent on benefits during their childhood went on to become beneficiaries themselves before age 23; 75% of those from long-term benefit families.”
About three quarters of current clients aged 16 to 25 (for whom data is available) had a parent who received benefits during their childhood. 45% of the overall liability for all beneficiaries under age 25 is associated with children from families that received benefits for 80% or more of their teen years.
Perhaps most telling, the following graph shows the probability of a child entering the benefit by the number of years their parent is on welfare (SPS = Sole Parent Support).
A child who has spent all or most of their life dependent on their parent’s benefit is very likely to migrate onto their own benefit as a young adult. In my experience as a volunteer it wasn’t uncommon to find the parent encouraging this event as it upped the household income.
The occurrence of inter-generational benefit receipt is now well-documented.For other research see links here.
But a happy story to finish with. One of my clients (then on a benefit but now working) was very unhappy when WINZ advised her son he’d be better off on a benefit than working part-time. This because of the board she was making him pay. She was trying to instill a different set of values, while I was helping him produce and print a decent CV. That was maybe 14-15 years ago. Last year the same young man and his partner bought their first home.
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