An Emergency Benefit is available to people who are ineligible to receive any other main benefit, but are:
Decisions about whether a client is eligible to receive an Emergency Benefit consider:
Residency criteria for an Invalid’s Benefit and for New Zealand Superannuation were reduced from 1 July 2007, to match those for the other main benefits. This resulted in an increase in the proportion of those receiving an Emergency Benefit who were working-age people.
Income and asset tests apply.
The number of clients receiving an Emergency Benefit decreased between 2009 and 2012
This decrease (see table EB.1) reflected, at least in part, the reduced residency criteria from July 2007 outlined above for New Zealand Superannuation and some other benefits. This change reduced demand for Emergency Benefit, particularly among those aged 65 or over.
Many of the clients receiving an Emergency Benefit did so because they were not residentially qualified to receive another pension or main benefit.
table EB.1: Numbers receiving an Emergency Benefit
|Client age at 30 June||Numbers receiving an Emergency Benefit1|
|Working-age clients receiving benefits||2,639||2,719||2,557||2,603||2,629|
|Other clients receiving benefits||5,636||5,344||4,832||4,388||4,015|
|Total clients receiving benefits||8,275||8,063||7,389||6,991||6,644|
This decrease reflected an excess of cancellations over grants
An increase between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012 in Emergency Benefits granted (see table EB.2) reflected demand for benefits arising from the economic recession followed by a slow recovery.
table EB.2: Numbers granted an Emergency Benefit
|Client age when benefit granted||Grants of Emergency Benefit1|
|Benefits granted to working-age clients||5,681||6,613||8,579||9,237||11,313|
|Benefits granted to other clients||1,531||1,361||1,040||913||857|
|Total benefits granted||7,212||7,974||9,619||10,150||12,170|
Numbers of Emergency Benefits cancelled increased
Increases between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 in cancellations of Emergency Benefits (see table EB.3) were driven by increased cancellations of Emergency Benefits by working-age clients. This largely reflected increases in Emergency Benefits granted to working-age clients, combined with the short-term nature of this assistance for most working-age recipients.
table EB.3: Numbers cancelling an Emergency Benefit
|Client age when benefit cancelled||Cancellations of Emergency Benefit1|
|Total cancelled by working-age clients||6,468||6,244||8,605||9,149||10,961|
|Total cancelled by other clients||1,906||1,765||1,611||1,363||1,327|
|Total cancelled by all clients||8,374||8,009||10,216||10,512||12,288|
Very small numbers of working-age people were receiving an Emergency Benefit
Between 2008 and 2012, an estimated 0.1% or less of working-age people were receiving an Emergency Benefit.
Emergency Benefit recipients aged 65 or over did not qualify for New Zealand Superannuation
A large majority of Emergency Benefit recipients were clients aged 65 or over who did not qualify for New Zealand Superannuation (usually because they did not meet residency criteria). Once granted an Emergency Benefit, these clients tended to remain on an Emergency Benefit until they had fulfilled New Zealand Superannuation residency criteria, at which point they transferred to New Zealand Superannuation.
Working-age recipients of Emergency Benefits became younger
In 2011 and 2012, 58% of working-age Emergency Benefit recipients were aged 18–40 (see table EB.4). This compared with 44% in 2008.
In 2011 and 2012, around 25% of working-age Emergency Benefit recipients were aged 50–64 (see table EB.4). The use of Emergency Benefits among those aged 50–64 declined after the July 2007 change in residency criteria of other assistance reduced demand for Emergency Benefits in this age group.
table EB.4: Ages of working-age clients receiving an Emergency Benefit
|Age of client at the end of June||Working-age clients receiving an Emergency Benefit1|
|Total working-age clients||2,639||2,719||2,557||2,603||2,629|
Nearly two in three of those granted an Emergency Benefits were aged under 40
Sixty-three percent of working-age clients granted an Emergency Benefit between 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 were aged under 40 (see table EB.5). This includes around 27% aged 18–24.
Increases between 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 in grants of Emergency Benefits were most apparent among 18–40 year olds.
table EB.5: Ages of working-age clients granted an Emergency Benefit
|Age of client when benefit granted||Grants of Emergency Benefit to working-age clients1|
|Total granted to working-age clients||5,681||6,613||8,579||9,237||11,313|
Around one in two clients cancelling an Emergency Benefit entered paid work
From 2007/2008 to 2011/2012, between 48% and 52% of working-age clients who cancelled an Emergency Benefit entered paid work.