UPDATE I often take a while before I get around to posting on comments. I like to see what direction they are heading. Sadly the direction isn’t good in this case.
I was not actually able to post this comment. The reason is that the comment section on the article on both Stuff’s website and Sarah’s website has been closed. According to a latter article on Sarah’s blog, the reason her comments were turned off was she was getting overloaded with negative comments. I suspect Stuff closed the comments on their story for the same reason. Latter in my actual post I say we don’t have a river of slime yet. I’m starting to think I’m wrong.
There was a post on the Stuff website a few days ago, about a beneficiary (Sarah), and her dealings with a (Nelson, NZ) WINS office. This was started by a post on her blog.
The Stuff article is linked at http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9861755/Sick-writers-beneficiary-fight
The article on her personal blog is linked at
A few downright hurtful and unhelpful comments have been posted both to the Stuff article and to the original Blog article.
I feel like responding, not to the articles themselves, but rather to the feedback, as I do.
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There has been some pretty hateful comments bother here and on the stuff comment section. Not actually as many as I was expecting. We’re not in need to call on the Ghostbusters to combat a river of slime running under our country caused by hatred yet, but there are some people with issues, and I’m not talking about the ones visiting WINZ.
I wish to address some of the hurtful or negative comments posted, even though many others have already contributed.
These aren’t being addressed in any particular order, rather in the order I remember them I guess.
1:Some people believe that if Sarah can run a blog and post 17,000 tweets, then she is able to work.
I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t compute in so many ways. Working on a personal blog, you don’t need to meet deadlines, you can research the topic as much or as little as you want, and you don’t have to meet any standards other than those set by yourself.
It is a personal endeavour. You could be fainting, or lying in bed for 58 minutes for every hour and still manage to get an article out. This by no means you could possibly do a job and make a living at it.
As for the 17,000+ tweets! they are tweets! a sentence or two, even less effort. So seriously, if you have a part time, paying job which can support a person, and can be sufficiently completed inside those parameters, please let us know.
2:Help, I have to do all this work again as they lost my paperwork
Now I understand the need for paperwork. I also understand the need for people to meet certain conditions to get payment. And let’s be realistic about the fact, there really needs to be proof, and audit trail. So paperwork needs to be gathered and presented.
Now gaining this paperwork can be a pain at the best of times, and sadly a lot of people who are facing this are really not at their best of times. So there is no excuses to lose paperwork! Come on guys (WINZ) this stuff is hard, stressful, time-consuming, and sometimes cost consuming to collect. There is absolutely no reason in today’s modern electronic age why a single piece of paperwork should go missing short of a fire or natural disaster happening minutes after it being filed.
I have heard many people saying that they request that any document that is handed in be stamped, dated, signed for, and a copy handed back to the client. This sounds like a good solution to protect the client. It shouldn’t be necessary, but from the number of people reporting lost forms, maybe it needs to be until WINS put in place a proper document management system.
One person suggested using a camera, filming the event of handing in every document.
NO NO NO ! This is not the answer. For starters, a film isn’t a helpful way to present a document. Secondary it only proves that something was handed in. Lost or not, documentation is still needed. And lastly, do not make this a personal thing. The person you are handing your form into is just doing their job. They are not WINZ, they are just a drone. If something goes missing, it could have been lost by anybody at anytime. Ranting that you have proof on a camera, or posting on YouTube will victimise a poor worker just trying to do their job.
I would hope that if anybody brought out a camera in the WINZ office that security would have them removed for the privacy of both the staff, and the other clients at the office.
So filming, no, don’t do it. Requesting copies, yes, do that, good idea. As for you guys at WINZ, somebody in a position of power has to put in a good document management system. Every document which is requested and then presented by a client should be scanned (while the client waits), that scan should be linked to the customer record, and to the case file. The customer should then be given a receipt for that scan, which includes the date scanned, the request it is trying to comply with, and it’s unique document code.
This type of document management isn’t rocket science guys. If you (WINZ) need help setting up a system, heck if your IT department can’t create a solution and add it to your existing systems within 3 or 4 months, and have it working a few months latter, heck contract outside, I’ll tender if you really can’t find somebody who can do a simple (but very large scale) system for you.
The client should be able to log on remotely 24/7 and view every document they have submitted.
3:WINZ staff trying to determine your level of need or sickness
Ok, this makes me mad! WINZ staff aren’t trained medical staff. If the medical certificate says something, that needs to be taken as fact. Let the medical staff make the medical decisions. If for some reason you believe that the form is fake or has been tampered with, don’t confront the client, take it at face value, and have audit/compliance or who ever they are called review the information. If necessary they can fax it to the medical practitioner to confirm it is legit.
If you have reason to believe that the client is not as sick as the form says, once again not your call. If you believe the Doctor is not doing his/her job correctly, request peer review by the medical council. Do not question the client and make your own decision, not your call. If the decision is going to be reviewed, it has to be peer review, not yours.
The staff should be trying to find everything their client is applicable for, and getting it for them. It is not the front line staffs job to try and keep the budget down. If the government have problems, they need to adjust the criteria. The staff at WINZ job should be to try their best to give every client the most they are legally entitled to. Treat your clients as clients, who you are trying to do the best for, not as scum who you are trying to see how little you can manage to give to them!
4:Clapping, the entire office?
Really, that is pretty degrading. A good handshake should do. Even if you are suppose to clap, show a little common sense, if you are dealing with a crying client, skip the clapping, and then try to gently explain the reason why everybody in the office was clapping. But really, just cut it out!
5:No holiday for you, I’m paying for you to live
I’m paying for her to live as well, and I have no problem on her going on holiday. I only read the article once, and I think she said she was going to Wellington (not even really that far from Nelson). I don’t know if she mentioned holiday. Even if it is a holiday, what’s your problem. There is a reason that we have holidays, it is to relax, change environment, try to help cope with the daily grind. Sounds like somebody like her needs this a heck of a lot, it will probably make her feel better, which may even help her recover or return to the workforce faster. So go take a holiday. I’m a tax payer and I have no problems with that!
6:Be grateful, in other countries you’d be dead
Man, are you our of touch with reality. In other countries I’d probably be dead. I was born with a heart defect, doesn’t effect me now, never really has. But in other countries I wouldn’t have made the first month of my life.
I’ve also been through the window of a car after a crash. I suspect in a lot of countries I wouldn’t have survived the medical procedures after that as well. I have. I work five days a week, I pay my taxes, and part of my taxes pay so I and others can survive things that other people in other countries may not.
So yes, in other countries she may not survive, thankfully we’re in one of the countries that she will survive. I’m a tax payer, and I’m pretty darn happy about that!
7:I feel like I will commit suicide if I have to deal with them again
Please don’t! To the person who made that comment, and to others who may feel that way as well, I hope reading Sarah’s blog has shown that you are not alone in your struggles.
I hope you are doing OK now, and if you ever have to have dealing with them (WINZ) again in the future, please try to find a family member or friend to assist you. If you are unable to find either of those, there has been many suggestions of other places to seek support with them, and I’d urge you to seek one of them out rather than trying it alone again.
You are not alone in your struggle with the WINZ, there are people out there willing and able to help you.