Contents

Hardship assistance

Use of lump-sum hardship assistance

Overall trends

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
Benefit advances 299,552 371,432 434,574 387,327 327,508
Total recoverable assistance 347,849 442,018 504,452 455,994 390,735
  All lump-sum hardship assistance1
Total 710,354 968,891 1,147,064 1,097,562 852,452

Note

  1. The number of lump-sum hardship assistance payments recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

Use of Special Needs Grants and benefit advancesTop

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
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Unemployment Benefits 51,200 96,798 158,492 149,245 117,884
Domestic Purposes Benefits 260,799 346,224 410,680 385,141 283,178
Sickness Benefits 108,693 150,451 178,374 169,749 138,580
Invalid’s Benefit 116,242 144,478 156,953 148,864 116,881
Other main benefits2 26,987 35,550 39,458 35,462 30,980
New Zealand Superannuation or
Veteran’s Pension
26,968 35,460 43,025 43,921 37,129
None of the above assistance3 91,150 125,068 125,222 134,245 98,613
Total 682,039 934,029 1,112,204 1,066,627 823,245

Notes

  1. The number of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.
  2. Comprises Unemployment Benefit – Training, Unemployment Benefit – Hardship – Training, Unemployment Benefit – Student Hardship, Independent Youth Benefit, Widow’s Benefit and Emergency Benefit.
  3. Includes clients receiving other supplementary benefits, an Unsupported Child’s Benefit or an Orphan’s Benefit.

Reasons for hardship paymentsTop

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
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Advances 8,040 10,450 11,522 9,216 6,892
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
Driver licence 0 2,884 5,646 6,172 7,099
Effluent treatment 0 346 410 352 317
Food 285,460 432,902 549,204 553,854 382,105
Health-related assistance 14,629 17,368 18,907 14,083 9,122
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
Re-establishment grants 11,480 11,758 11,989 11,602 10,917
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
Other reasons3 528 163 317 113 254
Total 682,039 934,029 1,112,204 1,066,627 823,244

Notes

  1. The number of Special Needs Grants and benefit advances recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.
  2. These payments were created as Special Needs Grants but were later transferred to another payment code.
  3. Includes items (Home Help payments and terminal benefit arrears) which were created as Special Need Grants but were later transferred to other payment codes.