But if we let people with depression eat without being wage slaves then everyone will get depression...
Yesterday the government announced a shiny new hoop that sick and disabled people need to go through before they can pay the rent. See here, here or here. The short version is that Work and Income wants to 'help' more sickness and invalids beneficiaries back to work. It plans to do this by paying for extra treatment, initially for those with mild mental health conditions and who are waiting for relatively simple operations, and by trying to get doctors to focus their care on getting people back to work.
Access to medical treatment should not be contingent on whether or not you're available for paid work. Students, retired people, full-time caregivers should have the same access to treatment as people who would be in paid work were it not for the depression. According to nine to nooe only half of the people who are hospitalised for suicide attempts even get a follow up phone call - let alone better treatment. So there are quite a few gaps in our mental health provisions as it is.
But I have a bigger problem than that with this change. Let's be clear here the sickness and invalids benefit exist because we structure work around the needs of business, not around the needs of people. If work was structured around people's needs then almost everyone would be able to do at least some useful work every week. Sickness and Invalid beneficiaries exist because we throw people on the scrap heap and decide we can't use them if they don't meet the very specific needs of business (can work the same number of hours each week, can operate in a workplace environment without modifying that environment, can deal with stress, and so on).
Our economic system is set up so that paid work is only available to people whose bodies meet certain criteria and the sickness and invalids benefit is what we do with the rest. But now the government is saying - hey that's not enough it's not just that we won't modify the work to meet the needs of your body, we want to modify your body to meet the needs - and we have the right to do so.