Broken WINZ benefit system triggers PTSD. Financially trapped.

My name is Xanthe Wyse. Diagnosed bipolar 1 disorder (rapid cycling on meds) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I am affected severely enough that I am not able to work full-time, nor in the careers I originally trained in (in science and education).

I am on a low income with my part-time minimum wage job plus a benefit which is adjusted for any income I earn. Had to do the yearly reapplication with WINZ – Work and Income New Zealand – a frustrating process, especially as they cut the benefit because of issues at their end. They did not contact me as they said they would and it has been stressful repeatedly chasing it up.

The system is broken, how WINZ will cut a benefit because of not doing their part of the reapplication process. I did everything they required – medical certificate etc.

There is not anything to help people in my situation – with long term moderate to severe mental health issues with disability. It is very stressful to try to be heard, to not end up homeless on the streets.

It is very triggering with PTSD. I feel financially trapped. But a toxic ‘relationship’ with a benefits office is preferable to a toxic relationship with a man who abuses power financially. The latter is far more dangerous for a vulnerable person.

The unnecessary extra stress has an impact on the bipolar and PTSD and my overall health.

I am the founder of Oz Kiwi. Not recognised as such as I was behind the scenes. I felt vulnerable as a NZ citizen in Australia when I found out that I was on an unprotected visa. The rules changed and it was not made well-known.

I was listening to It’s My Life (Bon Jovi). Music helps me manage.

The painting behind me is my most recent. Phoenix Kereru.

Source: Youtube