• Open letter to Work and Income

    I’ve had it up to here.

    I simply don’t understand WHY it is you continue to make life so damn complicated for us. Yet, you seem perfectly content to keep doling out money to people (including members of BF’s family) who, frankly, do nothing productive with their lives, apart from occasionally pop out another child.

    From the beginning to now, dealing with you has been nothing but a headache. First you refused to even see BF. You fobbed him off with excuses, like how backlogged you were and how long it would be before there were any free appointments.

    There was a whole brouhaha about the fact that I study and work, and should therefore be able to support the both of us singlehandedly.

    Then came the letter stating that we had failed to comply with their request for further information and his claim was denied. Only, you had never even SENT a request for any information. That was just a lie, an attempt to deny him any help he might have been entitled to. And of course, it took another couple of weeks to straighten that one out too, because you can’t just call up to make an appoitment to sort out misunderstandings. It always takes about a week before you can get in to see a case worker.

    Then it finally all seemed to come together. You gave a little, we gave a little, you were impressed with his ethic, and wanted to help him as much as possible because he wasn’t like the other lazy bludgers on your books.

    And then came a letter saying that BF had failed to attend an appointment for LSV (whatever that might be) on Monday the 22nd, and a letter had been sent to inform him about this appointment on Monday the 8th.

    Again, lies. No such letter was ever received. Nothing of the kind was even mentioned to him at his appointment on Thursday the 11th of June, when he went in to discuss his enrolment in the New Start programme at Auckland Uni.

    Now you say a “work test” has been issued for him and his entitlement will be compromised if he does not contact his case manager with a “fair and sufficient” reason for not attending.

    A reason, like…. No such appointment was ever relayed to me?

    And anyone who’s ever dealt with WINZ knows they shunt you around case managers; he’s never seen the same person more than once. Who knows who his supposed case manager is at this point.

    I can only assume they will now take it upon themselves to suspend his payments, and add to my stress.

    Work and Income, it’s time to start playing fair.

  • I’ve had around $35 sitting on my rewards card for awhile, and haven’t been sure what to do with it. The smart thing would be to prepay my Visa fee for the next six months, but that’s so…boring. By the time that fee is due I should have accumulated enough dollars again to pay for that.

    Anyway, last night BF wanted to go to a movie, and I figured, why not put some of those dollars to good use? So he got a good night out for free, and found out that he also has a free movie on his movie club member card for next time.

    There’s still $22 on it which I think I’ll use towards groceries (Countdown accepts the card) given how tight things are.

    We’re still waiting to hear back from Work and Income. I’ll be grateful with whatever measly amount they qualify him for. As for helping with the job hunt – ha! Unlikely. They are so disorganised; the times he’s been in and gone through the database, the staff null and void most of the jobs as they’ve already been filled. Well, hello, take them OFF the list then! Apparently it’s not that particular lady’s job. RIGHT. Whatever, SOMEONE should be doing it, cause it’s a waste of time for jobhunters, as well as the case managers who have to go through and turn them down because nobody bothered to keep the database up to date. He’s also been advised to go to another branch office as their job hunting facilities are better, but I really don’t see how that can be.

    Also, we sold that car service voucher (the $40 one we got for $20) to a friend, for $30. And with any luck he’ll let us use anything on it he doesn’t.

  • Yay – second day of work for BF today. He was super excited to actually be going off to work like a normal person again..it sounds like a dull job, and he has to stand all day (he’s used to being on his feet all day, but this job doesn’t allow for much moving around).

    Some people don’t mind sitting at home. I do. He does too.

    It’s pretty rude that HF (hellish flatmate) quit his job for no good reason and is now on the sickness benefit. This gives him much more time to create messes around the house for others (me) to clean up. He apparently gets $250 a week for nothing. He’s not impaired, hasn’t got any broken limbs, is perfectly able bodied.

    I support the welfare system, but I hate leeches. I DESPISE people who receive money they don’t deserve. I’m paying taxes and I want them to go to good use – to areas in which money’s NEEDED.

    That’s why I’m glad we won’t have to go to WINZ now that BF’s employed. Granted we probably could get a little bit from the accommodation supplement, but not enough to matter and justify him taking time off work to go in, not to mention the hassle, frustration and paperwork.

    What WAS frustrating was the fact that alone (though student allowance and PART TIME wages) I made pretty much the benefit amount for a couple under unemployment, basically disqualifying BF for any assistance. He was told he might get $70 or so. All this, for someone genuinely in need of help due to redundancy.

    Meanwhile, HF sleeps and watches TV and drinks and smokes and gets handed $250 a week.

  • Tuesday

    Jeez, we’re really getting the runaround here. I’ve called up Work and Income far too many times. The first time the girl informed me I should call Studylink and get BF added onto my allowance (apparently, despite the fact he doesn’t study). I called Studylink. A machine informed me that the contact centre was overloaded and not operating as normal. It then directed me to their website, and HUNG UP on me!!! A machine!!!

    I checked the site. Right. Of course. We’re under 23 and our relationship isn’t recognised by them anyway. OK – back to WINZ.

    This time I merely explained I was working and studying, leaving out mention of Student Allowance. For some reason, BF was asked if he had ever been in the armed forces. Don’t know if that affected anything… The guy then told him he might receive $74 a week. Better than nothing, which was what I was expecting given I make more than the unemployment rate for a couple net anyway. Isn’t that ridiculous? $305 after tax for two people.

    BF wasn’t happy. The guy had initially told him $360, but after deducting my pay from that, somehow left him with just over $70.

    He’s going to some seminar there tomorrow, so maybe by some wild stroke of luck he’ll land a random job. He’s fairly bummed to not have heard back from any of the jobs he applied for (plus the many more I applied for on his behalf…) I explained he shouldn’t feel bad at all, even at the best of times you rarely hear back from anyone. It’s certainly not a reflection on him! With the marked in the toilet, it could be awhile. I think back on all the jobs I’ve applied for in my lifetime; it’s probably in the hundreds, but you just gotta keep going. BF’s just been really lucky so far with work. Everything has been through contacts/word of mouth; he’s never got a job through responding to an ad.

  • What a day….

    what a day it’s been.

    FINALLY, got my restricted licence…passed the test with a lovely instructor, who DIDN’T make me do a three point turn, but did make me reverse round a curve (which I totally flunked) and parallel park at the end.

    03-driving-us-course_l2_w728_h340

    Far cry from the douche I had the first time, who belittled me, patronised me, and said my nervousness was NOT his problem and he couldn’t do anything about it. Fair enough, but he was the one who mentioned being nervous FIRST, why bring it up to make snide, pointless comments? He also (after telling me I wasn’t allowed to wear sunglasses) rudely asked if I minded him wearing his…refused to call out my name in the waiting room, like all the other instructors – obviously didn’t even want to attempt to pronounce a ‘foreign’ sounding name, and told me “you’re trying…you’re trying hard, and you’ve got some points, but we’ll see if you can keep them, if that’s enough to get through”.

    WANKER.

    winz_232

    Anywho, after that brilliant start to the morning, popped into Work and Income with the bf. Turns out, seeing as I’ll be receiving student allowance (a whopping $183) and making maybe $150ish from work a week, Bf is INELIGIBLE for any assistance. No unemployment. Doesn’t matter, he could have nothing saved, be starving on the street, nope – my $330ish will just have to sustain us! Doesn’t matter that rent alone is $205, and the rest will just cover food – no transport, bills, clothing, emergencies, savings, debt repayments. Doesn’t matter we’ve been paying taxes. Even if I quit my measly job (which I wouldn’t, it’s an amazing foot in the door) he STILL wouldn’t be able to get unemployment. I’m sensing some disparity with their definition of unemployed here…

    What fucks me off most is that Studylink DO NOT recognise us as partners. It’s only a ‘relationship’ if you’re 24 or over (or 25?). Not so for WINZ. But wtf – they are both govt departments, why the different rules? Why such discrepancies? Get your shit together and get it straight, you can’t have it both ways. You need to align your policies. Obviously if he is to squeeze a cent out of them we’d have to break up or one of us move out and live separately. How fucked up is that?

    How am I supposed to support us on student allowance and my paltry earnings? I pointed this out, politely, to the receptionist. She shrugged. Repeated that she couldn’t help. Stopping work would not help. Jesus fecking Christ. BF’s brother and sister get money every week for their children. And they won’t give him a bleeding dollar; nevermind that he has been out there WORKING, contributing to our economy, and has now been made redundant.

    I read the other day that less that 800 people nationwide were receiving assistance under the ReStart package. I thought that was shockingly low. Not so, anymore. Not after this afternoon. And according to fellow Kiwis in strife on the TradeMe message boards, the unemployment figures are far higher than what’s been released.

    I plan to be writing to Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett. This ‘policy’ is ridiculous.

  • Not a democracy

    university is not a democracy.

    the one thing I despise about AUT is their policy on timetables. at least, within the communications faculty. they assign our classes. we take them. we can try and swap classes with other students of our own accord, sign forms, etc. it’s not always easy though, when you’re trying to pawn off an 8-10am media comm tutorial – people were resorting to monetarial bribes last year! Strangely, haven’t seen any such requests this year.

    i’m just waiting to hear back about my two shorthand classes to finalise my schedule. they run 8-10am, tuesday through friday. unfortunately, the only two days where i DON’T already have a class in that block, are wednesday and thursday. so unless that gets changed, my shorthand classes will be on wed/thur – only problem is I have a four hour class lined up from 10-2 on wednesdays. Making 6 hours straight, 8-2.

    please, kill me now!

    four hours of photography last year on friday afternoons was painful enough, despite my love of the subject, the 2pm short break and that we were allowed to leave early (it was very much self directed). so I can’t imagine how shorthand followed by news reporting is gonna be.

    i can’t wait to finish and be shot of their undemocratic scheduling. and to NEVER have to deal with studylink again. or have six hours straight of classes.

    i do, however, plan to write a lovely letter to the scholarships office thanking them for my fortune and allowing me to graduate debt free. see, i’m no pessimist. silver lining!

  • Student allowance – for the last time ever!!!

    I’ve just finished the excruciating process of applying for my student allowance! YESSS!!!

    Honestly, if nothing else, the horror of dealing with Studylink is enough to deter me from ever undertaking further study. That, and the bloated fees charged for post grad.

    It might be worth it after the age of 25. I think that’s when the new limits kick in – they get over $300 per week, instead of less than $200. Why? I dunno. Maybe they think someone older will have more financial obligations. Still, isn’t that something for us to handle ourselves? It’s not Studylink’s job to cover our visa payments, car loans, HPs, etc.

    What bugs me is the sheer repetitiveness of the application process. I have to enter the same info every year. DOB, date I arrived here, date I became a citizen (I don’t know any of these dates; I just hazard a rough guess), etc. Thankfully I shouldn’t have to send in paperwork as they should have it on file from the last two years.

    I also have to enter how much I’ll be earning during the semester. Get this: I don’t even have my timetable yet. I don’t know what hours I’ll be working or how much I’ll earn. That will probably change from the $190 i entered and I’ll have to frantically call their 0800 number in the last week of Feb to recalculate my allowance entitlement. And get a letter signed by my boss to say I’m not lying.

    I really don’t have any faith in Studylink. Last year I didn’t get approved until the second week of uni (but they backpaid me, yay!). I never got the forms I needed despite calling week after week. I think it was the postman’s fault actually, but whatever. I still despise them; they’ve a govt. operated agency and the sheer bureaucracy is unbelievable!

    In 2007 about 2/3 through the year some smart alec staff member was poking around the system and noticed that I’d applied in 2006. Yes, at the END of 2006, for the 2007 year. So as to be ahead of the game.

    But they took no notice of that. No, they assumed that despite applying in December of 06, I must have been applying for the 2006 accdemic year, and therefore should not have been receiving payments for the whole of 2007. And they took it upon themselves to suspend me. The first I knew was when I checked my balance and had NOTHING in my account.

    Fuckwits.