2 Feb 2010

Woman denied benefits after ACC payment

8:13 am on 2 February 2010

A Te Puke woman is demanding answers from Social Development Minister Paula Bennett after being denied welfare benefits because she accepted an ACC lump sum payment.

Kathy Taewa received $35,000 after tax in 2007, following the death of her husband in 2006 from leptospirosis, which he contracted at the AFFCO meat works at Rangiuru in the Bay of Plenty.

Ms Taewa, 55, spent most of the money on her husband's funeral and paying debts.

Six months later, she fell ill and applied for a sickness benefit, but was told the compensation payout was considered income, making her ineligible for any benefit for five years.

Ms Taewa says the implications of the payment were never explained to her. She says ACC should have told her what it would mean if she accepted it.