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Govt urged to act on disability support

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

The government is being urged to make sure vulnerable families are getting the help they need after a report found many were not receiving what they were entitled to.

The report found that only a small number of children living with disabilities in poverty are getting the financial help on offer.

The Human Rights Commission has called on the government to urgently look at what is being done to inform families living in poverty about allowances available to them, and says they're missing out due to red tape.

A Child Poverty Action Group study focused on families in Otara, south Auckland, who have children with disabilities or chronic illness and whether or not these households were receiving a Child Disability Allowance.

Of the 1084 households surveyed, 10 per cent had at least one child with a disability or chronic health condition, but only 7.6 per cent of those families were receiving the allowance.

It is payable to those under 18 years with a serious disability or health condition to help pay for the extra care and attention required for that child.

"It's disturbing that only a very small proportion of Otara families who were possibly eligible for the allowance were receiving it, most didn't know about it or had found the application process too difficult," said Disability Rights Commissioner David Gibson.

The commission says the government needs better promotion, simplification and increased funding of the allowance, and the fact that so few Otara families knew about it was a communication issue.

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