It’s No Joke Living On A Low Income – A Beneficiaries Story

As you know, I’m living on a Job Seeker Benefit. Yes I’m lucky to have social security. I know that. But being on such a low income I can barely afford the essentials. I get $233.95 NZD per week. To pay for everything.

These benefits have not risen in years unless you count a dollar rise as a significant increase. I’m moaning because the increases of the price of food and living costs far exceed the income increase I receive. So each year I effectively live on less. The price of a cabbage is approximately $3 where the price of chips is merely $2. Guess how I’m living. Aside from the odd meal of potatoes and peas I effectively live off rations. Not only that but I eat once per day. Don’t feel sorry for me though. I learned how to eat one meal a day many moons ago and I rarely feel hungry. But choosing healthy options is not realistically within my budget. I have rent, power, phone bills and internet to pay as well as Dr’s bills. Let alone things like clothes, shoes, underwear, sanitary pads and cleaning items.

Luckily I live with a flatmate. In fact I cannot afford to have the luxury of living alone. And without significant employment in a small rural town with not a lot of job opportunities, I am unlikely to better myself. You’re probably wondering why I have this website then and why I have broadband. I have these things to seek work and to be able to talk to my family in the UK. Internet access and computer technology IS a necessity these days to keep up with all pillars of society from online banking to applying for work.

I’m up to my eyeballs in debt from being on a low income. I’m paying that debt off slowly. It’s painful to see your credit worthiness and look at the amounts owing and quite DE-humanizing to know you’re not keeping your head above the waters. It sucks but that’s my reality.

When the current parties in Government talk about increases to the benefit they always forget the single people, the elderly or the sick people. They solely talk about families. And even though I fully support their initiatives with families I also believe taking a look at ALL benefits are needed.

I’d love to see a politician rummage through an endless supply of part time jobs at minimum wage. A lot of them don’t even have that experience. All power to them but I don’t really respect that.

I’m attracted to those who have compassion and a deep seated interest in the people. There are still quite a few politicians who I think are incredible and give to the community a lot.

I don’t lay blame with the Government entirely. I am as much to blame as anyone else. Poor choices have lead me down this path. But my circumstances weren’t always so black and white. This has happened for a number of reasons far too complex to comment on it its entirety but my illness plus the fact I cannot drive and do not have transport contributed to it.

However, the increase to any social welfare is considered UN-affordable and this becomes an election bullet. Any party consorting to doing a shake up with social welfare will be met with quite a lot of opposition from the middle and upper classes. The middle and upper classes vote in droves which is a far cry from the working class who do not. By not voting in the parties who can help we’re ruining any chances of ever getting things changed. However, the result of higher living costs means that the middle class is slowly depleting. It won’t be long before there is no middle class and only the poor or the rich.

I challenge ANY minister to budget on $233.95 NZD per week. Is this considered a reasonable income to live on. This budget includes $30.00 Accommodation Supplement. Personally I think this is disgraceful. I know of plenty of people who can’t work because of illnesses, living on sums like this. We’re forced into living conditions that are either not healthy or not liveable.

Yes I am lucky for my friends and family who help out. I do feel blessed I am loved and supported. But a little bit more income will go a long way. Anyone on a benefit who sees this as a career for life is really misguided. This myth is perpetuated by right wing supporters. This is not a career. This is a life worthy of more opportunities. I welcome change and I welcome any increase whether I work for it or not. And I don’t mind working for it at all.

 

About Jane 9 Articles
I am an ordinary Kiwi with a passion for our country. I'm keeping an eye on what's happening in New Zealand and calling for action to help our most vulnerable people. I'm a blogger, a student, an animal lover and a mad coffee addict. Just a cog in a VERY big wheel. Let's stick together.

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