Govt to ensure traumatised victims can get financial help

9:11 am on 16 May 2019

Two months after the Christchurch terrorist attacks the government is making changes to ensure victims who are too traumatised to work can get financial help.

Minister of Government Digital Services Megan Woods announced that hundreds of pages of documents regarding Derek Handley have just been released.

Labour minister Megan Woods says the extra help will also be available to the adult children or siblings of a victim. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Strict ACC rules mean mosque survivors who aren't physically injured but who are struggling mentally are not eligible for compensation.

The government is now making it easier for them to get social welfare benefits.

Labour Minister and local MP Megan Woods said the extra help will also be available to the adult children or siblings of a victim.

It will also include people who are eligible for the Christchurch Response Visa but who have not yet applied.

Dr Woods told Morning Report the support would be available in the coming weeks after a change was made to the eligibility criteria.

The family of those killed and anyone present or injured in the attacks were eligible for the Christchurch Response Visa.

"There's also a small number of people who were already permanent residents but they haven't been resident here for two years.

"Normally to be eligible for MSD payments you've got to have been a resident for more than two years," Dr Woods said.

These people would also be eligible.

"The full force of income support will be eligible to these people."

She said a waiver would be in place to make sure payments from Victim Support were not taken into account by MSD.

"Normally there's a cash asset test that's put in place for people before you can receive a benefit but we're waiving that too because a number of these people will have received their VIctim Support payments, which would render them ineligible."

She said emergency assistance had been available but now was the right time to move away from that.

Dr Woods also said a range of non-monetary assistance would be available.

"Learning to drive, financial planning, support around finding a house, English language lessons.

"Maybe even getting work-ready, these women who now don't have a breadwinner, they want to know that the support's going to be there so they can think about entering the workforce."

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