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50% of solo parent households with children are living in poverty.
Source: Ministry of Social Development.
This is a HUGE percentage of individuals who are struggling to afford the basics in looking after their children.
As a child, I was brought up below the poverty line, but I'm sure that 2011 must bring different challenges and solutions. Years ago we didn't have access to food banks, so a week without buying groceries literally meant a week without food at all.
If you’re a single parent experiencing poverty please take a moment to share your experiences and share what it’s REALLY like in 2011. I'd really like to know.
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Thursday, 7 July 2011 11:54 p.m.
Tuesday, 6 September 2011 7:50 a.m.
What bugs me most is that the cost of living has gone up HEAPS in recent years but the benefit doesn't seem to have at all. I'm raising two kids on my own, studying full time to make a better life for us and struggling to make ends meet (because if you're doing tertiary study you're not elegible for anything extra while you're studying, which I think stinks, it would be nice to have some help with my petrol, internet, after school care (yes we get oscar subsidy but it doesn't cover it by a long shot). I have just started doing some casual work and called winz to declare my earnings, they told me how they work out what they deduct and I made a spreadsheet, basically after tax, the MOST i can possibly be better off by is... wait for it... $92 per week, whether I work 12 hours or 35 hours, by the time they have deducted from my benefit I will only be $92 better off. In my case though I have a student loan so am paying secondary tax with student loan repayments from this income, plus I get TAS which is immediately cancelled any week I work so it might not be so bad for others. It really bugs me though that no matter how hard I work, I can't make too much of a difference.
Is it just me that remembers John Key walking around with a beneficiary's son before the last election promising to make things better? He forgot that promise in a hurry.
Sunday, 7 August 2011 12:00 p.m.
I'm glad I managed to buy all my baby stuff before these payments started coming out since I'll be paying them right up to the birth!! I have no idea how I'm expected to buy everything on my own in this state without any help.
Sunday, 7 August 2011 11:57 a.m.
I was able to pay the bills, buy the food and have a little left over on the DPB but as soon as unexpected costs come up, there is just no money for it. I recently applied for a firewood grant after moving to a new house (I had never had a fire before and this was a sudden emergency move for health reasons) they have bumped my repayments to them up to $20 to recover this so-called "grant". They also wouldn't give me an advance to pay for the letting fee for my new house so I am also paying the real estate agent back at $20 a week and on top of that they are making me see a budget advisor. My budget is just fine...it's my income that isn't! There is only so much you can do when you have such a limited income. At this present time, I only have $100 a week for petrol, food and any other cost that may arise...the rest is going on bills and repayments.
I did get a part time job at the start of the year when one was finally available during school hours and being newly pregnant I wanted to prove that I wasn't just having a baby to stay on the DPB and I also wanted extra money to pay things off and buy things for the new baby but I actually ended up getting LESS because of the cuts WINZ made to my benefit after I started work. It was such a struggle to even work because I has horrid morning sickness and they punished me for it. It was cheaper to not work at all! They certainly don't help you get off the benefit at all but seem to like to make it harder and harder no matter which path you choose.
I know it's only temporary while making these payments but it is a struggle right now and there doesn't seem to be much i can do about it. Not only is it a struggle for food but there is no extra money to pay for the one afterschool activity my son wants to take part in. I'm going to have to take that out of our limited food money.
Thursday, 4 August 2011 3:40 a.m.
$496 a week. - rent - expensive - winz repayments - petrol = $68 - food = $0.00 - clothes, things for study, etc. = :( I need more money!!! I am studying which is why my expensives are higher then others & because I am working my butt off to get off the benefit, I feel we are penalised. It is horrible! And My sons childcare is going up $5 a week! my mum has to pay for things like WOF etc. And my sister & mum buys my son clothes. Without this, he'd be naked or hungry... Fun choices. His father has nothing to do with us & pays about $450 a month in child support (i dont get any of it) and has heaps to live off from that. NOT fair!!!!
Saturday, 9 July 2011 10:46 p.m.
Sadly there is lots of research which says the same thing. And it's about to get a lot worse for single mothers who do get child support ($14.98 a week wow) and work like me. Peter Dunne (IRD Minister) is introducing later this year legislation which supposedly makes the child support system "fairer". If you've been following this over the past couple of years you'll be as worried as I am. Mr Dunne has a fairly right wing outlook on life and of late, seems to have been held hostage by angry mens' rights groups - the kind that blame the family court and women for every bad thing that ever befell them. The changes Dunne wants to make include assessing the mother's income ( to reduce the amount payable by the father) among other things which means the gap between going back to work and staying in poverty on the DPB is going to get wider. You can bet that there will be nothing in this legislation that helps abandoned women and children. It's Dunne's swansong as he is so useless ( the press gallery nickname for him is "Dunne nothing") he'll be hardpressed to make it through the next election. Dunne justifies these changes by alluding to a bunch of mythical women living with wealthy partners and bleeding their exs dry with child support - they must be 0.00000005 % of the gene pool because I've certainly never met one. And even if they do exist, or a woman is earning a decent salary, why should the father of her children be absolved of his responsibility, benefit from her hard work or the kindness of a new step-father who's willing to take on another man's job. And to all the angry new partners who leap to their keyboards to abuse me over this and tell me about their partner's evil ex, just stop and take a minute to think about the kind of man you've inherited. Just my two cents worth.
Saturday, 9 July 2011 12:40 p.m.
I am a single parent and I would NOT say that I live in poverty, but ...
I live with my mother and we have come to an arrangement where I pay her board of $250 per week (for both myself and DD, not each) which covers food and utilities ... and is supposed to cover rent, but as you can imagine there is not really anything left over from $250 once food and utilities are taken care of. I am not eligible for the accommodation supplement as my assets are too high (haha, they're not things that I can live off or sell) and I do not get child support from my daughter's father as he is overseas in a country which does not have a reciprocal arrangement with NZ. I work 15 hours per week and my income is supplemented by part-payment of the DPB. The only other benefit that I receive is the childcare subsidy but this covers less than a third of my daycare fees.
Now, I am fully aware that the only reason that DD and I do not live in poverty is because of my mother's generosity. If she were unable or unwilling to help, who knows where we would be? There is absolutely no way that I could rent my own place, and pay for food and bills, for $250 per week. No way. But right now I do that and yet I don't have any spare income at all.
What really annoys me is people like John Key (or "dick" as 21-month-old DD calls him) saying that people need to manage their money better so that they can afford the basics. Well John, my budget is pretty easy to manage - one payment for food/rent/bills, fixed transportation costs for work, etc - doesn't get much easier. But many people find they can budget to cover their costs and then don't have anything left over. On my budget I have $40 per week left over after fixed costs - but a doctor's appointment costs $50.
I think the fact is, the cost of living in NZ has become ridiculous and living below the poverty line is not going to be a problem encountered by single parents only. It is going to be affecting more and more families. This is why we're seeing such huge numbers of people emigrating to Australia. I definitely plan to be out of here within the next two to three years.
Friday, 8 July 2011 12:11 p.m.
Before I started working to bring in extra money, the income I got from WINZ went straight on bills - and I mean all of it... That was rent, and all the weekly utilities such as phone, power, gas, debt repayment etc split into weekly payments - there was NOTHING left for food, clothing, medical expenses, travel and so on. In the amount I was given from WINZ, it included $55 towards disability costs for my DS, but because our income was so low it got eaten up by bills instead. I managed to get by with Temporary Additional Support for a while - but they won't grant it forever and that amount was only enough to cover basic groceries.
I would love to go back to study - but unfortunately, I have to work to live - No work = No food.
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