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:
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.
From July 2004, Invalid’s Benefit recipients wishing to undertake paid work have been able to:
Clients with high earnings from employment may still be subject to a stand-down period.
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 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:
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:
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 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|
|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|
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|
|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|
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|
|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|
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.
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|
|Accident, trauma, entry of foreign bodies||4,932||4,331||4,015||3,806||3,711|
|Psychological or psychiatric conditions||23,294||24,328||24,968||25,309||25,594|
|Total received by working-age clients||82,879||84,544||85,382||84,836||83,652|
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.