May 7, 2021

Beneficiaries and WINZ

Many beneficiaries are getting letters from WINZ that are very concerning. Here are some of the concerns from these letters:

I have, today, received a letter from winz stating that one of the requirements of me receiving the new sole parent benefit is that my children are enrolled in and attend school?? I am confused and alarmed. Do you have any information about this? Neither of my children attend school and neither have been immunised.

and

I received the letter and pamphlet today also and am left feeling crushed and distraught, although I’m sure a little more research etc. will hopefully shed some light on what it all actually means. My 2 yo turns 3 in Oct and I VERY MUCH do not want to enrol her in an early childhood centre (I currently homeschool her school-aged brother and sister) but I do wonder, if I am forced to enrol her somewhere, whether Play Centre is included in the approved programmes? At least then we could maybe get away with the one short session a week…

Firstly take a look at this link: https://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

and this link:

You can home school and get the benefit. The Select Committee said that you would be able to do both.

 http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/BA3A8C04-EA05-454D-8875-EA715B021E0B/269438/DBSCH_SCR_5776_SocialSecurityBenefitCategoriesandW.pdf

Exemptions for home schooling

Many submitters raised the right of parents to home school their children.

We wish to assure them that this bill does not propose changes to policies on home schooling school-age children. The Ministry of  Education currently issues a Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School to parents who have met the criteria for home schooling, and the Ministry of Social Development does not intervene in decisions regarding schooling exemptions made by the Ministry of Education. However, because the legal requirement for school attendance begins at 6 years of age, the Ministry of Education does not currently provide exemptions to home school a child aged 5.

 We recommend amending clause 25, new section 60RA(3) by inserting paragraph (ab), to allow home schooling to meet the social obligation for school attendance by children aged 5 years until they turn 6 years old if the parent meets the additional criteria set out in regulations for an exemption from work test obligations for home schooling. This would recognise that school attendance is not legally required during this year, and a Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School cannot be obtained until a child is 6.

However, once the child turned 6, an exemption certificate would still be required.

The proposed change should make it clear that it is not our intention to remove the ability for children aged from 5 to 6, or older, to be home schooled.

We also wish to note that a beneficiary can be exempt from meeting some or all of their work test obligations if they hold an exemption certificate and are home schooling a dependent or foster child who could not reasonably be expected to attend school because of, for example, learning or behavioural difficulties.

I am at a conference at the moment will add to this as soon as possible

 

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