Families of children with disabilities are struggling unnecessarily when Government support is only theoretically, but not practically, available, the Green Party said today.
Child Poverty Action Group’s report out today Barriers to support – Uptake of the Child Disability Allowance in Otara found that many parents of children with disabilities are not currently receiving the Government Child Disability Allowance (CDA) available.
“Families are struggling unnecessarily to ensure that kids get the care that they need, and Government systems should make that better, not worse,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.
“Whether it is transport to appointments, prescription charges or parents needing to take time off work to look after their child, there is Government support available through a CDA, but it is underutilised.
“A third fewer parents are receiving the CDA than in 2009, despite the Government eligibility rules not changing. Even though policy hasn’t changed, Government practice, and how it is being applied, clearly has.
“The National Government isn’t telling families about the allowance, and families feel the process of applying is too hard so they're missing out. That's not right. This allowance was created for a reason; our children need that help.
“The Child Disability Allowance (CDA) needs to be made more available for parents of children with disabilities, rather than the Government continuing to cut back the number of people receiving it.
“There needs to be a Government-backed drive to ensure that people who need this support are aware that they can apply for it.
“The process of applying for a CDA needs to be made significantly easier, with both doctors and Work and Income increasing how easy it is to navigate their services.
“Māori and Pasifika parents also need culturally appropriate services to be available so that they are aware of the help they can get,” Ms Logie said.