Contents

Main benefits

Invalid’s Benefit

Eligibility

An Invalid’s Benefit is available to people aged 16 or over who are either:

A ‘permanent and severe’ restriction is defined in the Social Security Act 1964 as one that:

– is expected to last at least two years, or
– is terminal and the client is not expected to live for more than two years.

Income and residency tests apply. The income test applies special conditions for people receiving an Invalid’s Benefit because of blindness. People with a severe disability may have some or all of their personal earnings exempted from an income test.

Facility for clients to undertake paid work

From July 2004, Invalid’s Benefit recipients wishing to undertake paid work have been able to:

– is agreed in advance with the client’s case manager
– does not exceed six months

Clients with high earnings from employment may still be subject to a stand-down period.

Work obligations

Since September 2010, Invalid’s Benefit recipients have had to fulfil the obligations of the employment planning process if required to by their case manager. Clients could be exempted from these requirements if it would be inappropriate to require them to participate in planning.

Between September 2007 and September 2010, Invalid’s Benefit recipients were obliged to fulfil the requirements of the Personal Development and Employment planning process if required to by their case manager.

The spouses and partners of recipients are also work tested

The type of work test for a spouse or partner depends on the age of the couple’s youngest dependent child.

From September 2007, a spouse or partner is subject to:

– aged over 18, or
– aged 18 and not engaged in full-time education or training
– aged 6–17, or
– aged 18 and engaged in full-time education or training.

If the couple’s youngest dependent child is aged under 6, the spouse or partner is (if required to by their case manager) obliged to fulfil the requirements of:

Recent administrative changesTop

From July 2007, the residency requirements for an Invalid’s Benefit were reduced to match those for other main benefits. Further administrative changes from September 2007 aimed to ensure that clients received the assistance most appropriate to their needs. These changes consisted of:

These decisions by case managers are to be based on:

From September 2010, there was an increase (from $80 a week before tax to $100 a week before tax) in the amount of other income Invalid’s Benefit recipients could earn before their benefit was affected.

Numbers of clients receiving an Invalid’s BenefitTop

Numbers receiving an Invalid’s Benefit decreased slightly between 2010 and 2012

This pattern (see table IB.1) reflected changes over the same period in grants and cancellations of Invalid’s Benefits. Grants of Invalid’s Benefit decreased between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012 (see table IB.2), while cancellations remained relatively stable (see table IB.3).

table IB.1: Numbers receiving an Invalid’s Benefit

Age of client at 30 June Clients receiving an Invalid’s Benefit1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Working-age clients receiving benefits 82,879 84,544 85,382 84,836 83,652
Other clients receiving benefits 2,318 2,614 3,031 3,298 3,535
Total clients receiving benefits 85,197 87,158 88,413 88,134 87,187

Note

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

Operational changes have reduced the number of Invalid’s Benefits granted

Decreased grants of Invalid’s Benefits since 2007/2008 reflected in part the impact of operational changes introduced in September 2007. These changes resulted in a decrease in the number of transfers from a Sickness Benefit to an Invalid’s Benefit.

table IB.2: Numbers granted an Invalid’s Benefit

Age of client when benefit granted Grants of an Invalid’s Benefit1
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Benefits granted to working-age clients 15,007 11,024 10,520 9,303 8,892
Benefits granted to other clients 1,344 1,094 1,079 1,018 953
Total benefits granted 16,351 12,118 11,599 10,321 9,845

Note

  1. The number of successful applications for an Invalid’s Benefit recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

Stable cancellation numbers largely reflected patterns in the use of Invalid’s Benefit

Most cancellations arose from clients becoming eligible for New Zealand Superannuation or from the death of the client. This reflected the serious and ongoing nature of the conditions these clients have.

table IB.3: Numbers cancelling an Invalid’s Benefit

  Cancellations of an Invalid’s Benefit1
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Benefits cancelled by working-age clients 8,530 8,730 8,660 8,613 8,698
Benefits cancelled by other clients 1,225 1,467 1,541 1,698 1,925
Total benefits cancelled 9,755 10,197 10,201 10,311 10,623

Note

  1. The number of cancellations of an Invalid’s Benefit recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

Relatively small numbers of working-age people were receiving an Invalid’s Benefit

Between 2008 and 2012, around 3.1% of the working-age population were receiving an Invalid’s Benefit, with those aged 40–64 more likely to do so than younger working-age people.

See table OT.3 for trends since 1940 in the number of clients receiving an Invalid’s Benefit.

More information about working-age recipients of an Invalid’s Benefit

Nearly two in five Invalid’s Benefit recipients had a systemic disorder

Between 2009 and 2012, 38% of working-age Invalid’s Benefit recipients had systemic disorders (see table IB.4). Another 29% had a psychological or psychiatric condition.

table IB.4: Incapacities of working-age clients receiving an Invalid’s Benefit

Client incapacity at the end of June Working-age clients receiving an Invalid’s Benefit1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Accident, trauma, entry of foreign bodies 4,932 4,331 4,015 3,806 3,711
Cancer 2,340 2,264 2,180 2,069 2,016
Congenital conditions 3,297 3,640 3,861 3,995 4,142
Disease2 635 725 821 827 799
Intellectual disability 11,028 11,110 11,041 10,933 10,819
Psychological or psychiatric conditions 23,294 24,328 24,968 25,309 25,594
Sensory disorders 2,267 2,345 2,415 2,403 2,393
Substance abuse 1,577 1,707 1,703 1,648 1,578
Systemic disorders3 32,704 33,008 33,013 32,338 30,973
Unspecified/ill-defined conditions4 805 1,086 1,365 1,508 1,627
Total received by working-age clients 82,879 84,544 85,382 84,836 83,652

Notes

  1. The number of working-age clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving an Invalid’s Benefit at the end of June.
  2. Encompasses circulatory system diseases, infectious diseases and parasitic diseases.
  3. Encompasses disorders of physiological systems (eg musculoskeletal systems, metabolic systems).
  4. Includes incapacities not coded and ill-defined conditions.

One in two Invalid’s Benefit recipients were aged 50–64

Fifty-one percent of the working-age clients receiving an Invalid’s Benefit in 2011 and 2012 were aged 50–64. Another 23% were aged 40–49.

This reflected both population ageing and the relationship between ageing and the incidence of permanent and severe health and disability conditions. Older working-age people were more likely to be receiving an Invalid’s Benefit.

Nearly one in two of the clients granted an Invalid’s Benefit had a systemic disorder

Of the clients granted an Invalid’s Benefit between 2008/2009 and 2011/2012, around 45% had a systemic disorder. Around 26% had a psychological or psychiatric disorder.

One in 10 clients cancelling an Invalid’s Benefit between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 entered paid work

Between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012, 10% of clients cancelling an Invalid’s Benefit entered paid work. This compared with 19% in 2007/2008. This change largely reflected the impact of changes in economic conditions on work opportunities for people with permanent and severe health or disability issues.