Contents

Main benefits

Emergency Benefit

Eligibility

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.

Numbers receiving an Emergency BenefitTop

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
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
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

Note

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving an Emergency Benefit at the end of June.

This decrease reflected an excess of cancellations over grants

Between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, cancellations of Emergency Benefits exceeded grants of Emergency Benefits (see table EB.2 and table EB.3).

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
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
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

Note

  1. The number of successful applications for an Emergency Benefit recorded in SWIFTT in years ended June.

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
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
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

Note

  1. The number of cancellations of an Emergency Benefit recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

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.

More information about Emergency Benefit recipients

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
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
18–24 years 368 476 508 586 574
25–39 years 783 900 860 932 941
40–49 years 442 474 466 432 427
50–59 years 540 450 389 352 376
60–64 years 506 419 334 301 311
Total working-age clients 2,639 2,719 2,557 2,603 2,629

Note

  1. The number of working-age clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving an Emergency Benefit at the end of June.

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
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
18–24 years 1,280 1,724 2,389 2,591 3,124
25–39 years 2,201 2,452 3,051 3,314 3,998
40–49 years 1,124 1,270 1,636 1,677 2,117
50–59 years 736 807 1,082 1,206 1,516
60–64 years 340 360 421 449 558
Total granted to working-age clients 5,681 6,613 8,579 9,237 11,313

Note

  1. The number of successful applications for an Emergency Benefit from working-age clients recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

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.