Numbers receiving benefits and other financial assistance affected the numbers receiving hardship assistance
Trends in the number receiving hardship assistance were affected by changes in overall incomes and costs faced by individual families.
Since October 2004, the introduction and expansion of the Working for Families package contributed to a reduction in the use of hardship assistance by families with children. This occurred at the same time as the levels of assistance available for childcare costs (eg the Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy) have risen.
The maximum amount available for food grants was increased in August 2008. This allowed clients to receive larger grants at one time, and may have slowed increases and reinforced decreases in the number of these payments.
Numbers of lump-sum hardship assistance payments decreased between 2010/2011 and 2011/2012
This decrease (see table HA.3) followed increases between 2007/2008 and 2009/2010. This pattern was driven by changes in non-recoverable Special Needs Grants and benefit advances, and reflected a combination of:
Over one in two of the lump-sum hardship assistance payments were non-recoverable Special Needs Grants
Fifty-four percent of the lump-sum hardship assistance payments provided in 2011/2012 were non-recoverable Special Needs Grants (see table HA.3). This compared with 58% in 2010/2011.
There was a corresponding increase (from 35% to 38%) in the proportion which were benefit advances, which are recoverable.
table HA.3: Types of lump-sum hardship assistance payments made
|Type of lump-sum hardship assistance||2007/2008||2008/2009||2009/2010||2010/2011||2011/2012|
|Non-recoverable lump-sum hardship assistance1|
|Special Needs Grants (non-recoverable)||362,505||526,873||642,612||641,568||461,717|
|Recoverable lump-sum hardship assistance1|
|Special Needs Grants (recoverable)||19,982||35,724||35,018||37,732||34,019|
|Recoverable Assistance Payments||28,315||34,862||34,860||30,935||29,208|
|Total recoverable assistance||347,849||442,018||504,452||455,994||390,735|
|All lump-sum hardship assistance1|
The combined number of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances decreased between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012
This decrease (see table HA.4) followed increases between 2007/2008 and 2009/2010. This pattern largely reflected changes in the number of clients receiving a main benefit.
Over one in three recipients of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances were receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit
In 2011/2012, 34% of recipients of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances were receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit (see table HA.4). This compared with 37% in 2009/2010. Over the same period, another 30% were receiving Sickness Benefits or an Invalid’s Benefit.
table HA.4: Financial assistance paid to clients receiving a Special Needs Grant or benefit advance
|Financial assistance paid when Special Needs Grant or benefit advance provided||Payments of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances1|
|Domestic Purposes Benefits||260,799||346,224||410,680||385,141||283,178|
|Other main benefits2||26,987||35,550||39,458||35,462||30,980|
|New Zealand Superannuation or |
|None of the above assistance3||91,150||125,068||125,222||134,245||98,613|
A decreasing proportion of the Special Needs Grants and benefit advances provided were for food
Forty-six percent of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances in 2011/2012 were for food (see table HA.5). This compared with 52% in 2010/2011. The proportion of these payments for ‘other emergency situations’ increased from 30% to 33% over the same period.
This pattern largely reflected changes in the number of clients receiving main benefits.
table HA.5: Purposes of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances
|Purpose of Special Needs Grant or benefit advance||Number of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances1|
|Ambulance subscription fees||0||0||0||504||1,353|
|Disabled civilian amputee2||161||162||166||222||121|
|Domestic violence programme||0||0||0||310||464|
|Medical and associated costs||82,822||96,567||110,976||104,469||89,202|
|Other emergency situations||248,273||321,167||354,874||316,547||274,312|
|People affected by benefit stand-downs||548||2,778||3,453||8,681||7,754|
|Re-establishment accommodation element||647||754||746||722||748|
|Rural sector (including Civil Defence emergencies and drought relief)||240||617||556||660||18|
|Sickness Benefit/Invalid’s Benefit assessment travel||100||145||145||141||163|
|School education costs||26,158||32,206||38,811||34,904||28,697|
|Transfer to New Zealand Superannuation||166||316||454||680||1,207|
|Urgent house repairs and maintenance||2,787||3,446||4,028||3,395||2,499|