Contents

Main benefits

Trends in the use of main benefits

Numbers receiving main benefits

The number receiving a main benefit decreased between July 2010 and June 2012

This decrease (see table MB.1) reflected a combination of:

table MB.1: Numbers receiving a main benefit

Client age at end of June Clients receiving a main benefit1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Working-age clients receiving benefits 258,317 310,296 332,924 327,817 320,041
Other clients receiving benefits 10,655 11,398 11,408 10,727 10,473
Total clients receiving benefits 268,972 321,694 344,332 338,544 330,514

Note

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving a main benefit at the end of June.

Increased cancellations drove decreases in the number receiving main benefits

Cancellations of main benefits increased (see table MB.2), while grants of main benefits fluctuated (see table MB.3).

table MB.2: Numbers cancelling a main benefit

Client age when benefit cancelled Cancellations of a main benefit1
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Benefits cancelled by working-age clients 187,630 189,492 241,709 263,043 274,378
Benefits cancelled by other clients 7,441 7,259 7,405 7,062 7,015
Total benefits cancelled 195,071 196,751 249,114 270,105 281,393

Note

  1. The number of cancellations of main benefits recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

table MB.3: Numbers granted a main benefit

Client age when benefit granted Grants of a main benefit1
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Benefits granted to working-age clients 185,158 243,999 265,075 259,504 267,983
Benefits granted to other clients 7,662 8,119 7,769 6,266 5,581
Total benefits granted 192,820 252,118 272,844 265,770 273,564

Note

  1. The number of successful applications for a main benefit recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June.

Transfers within the benefit system increased

Transfers within the benefit system increased between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012 (see table MB.4). This increase was driven by transfers to pensions or to different types of main benefits, reflecting changes in the clients’ circumstances.

A transfer within the same group of main benefits is recorded when a client’s benefit is cancelled then resumed as part of reviewing the client’s needs and entitlement to assistance.

table MB.4: Transfers within the benefit system by working-age clients

Type of transfer Transfers from a main benefit by working-age clients1
2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Transferred to New Zealand Superannuation, a pension or another type of main benefit 48,445 51,776 59,239 60,900 71,596
Transferred within the same group of main benefits 6,472 7,327 8,600 10,157 10,495
Total transfers 54,917 59,103 67,839 71,057 82,091

Note

  1. The number of transfers within the benefit system by working-age clients recorded in SWIFTT during years ended June. The dates of these transfers reflected the dates at which a new benefit was granted, not the dates at which a former benefit was cancelled.

More information on recipients of main benefits

Decreased use of Unemployment Benefits drove falling benefit numbers

The decrease between 2010 and 2012 in the number receiving main benefits was driven by changes in the number receiving an Unemployment Benefit (see table MB.5).

The numbers receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit or a Sickness Benefit both fluctuated between 2010 and 2012 (see table MB.5).

In 2011 and 2012, three in five working-age main benefit recipients were receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit or an Invalid’s Benefit

In 2011 and 2012, 35% of these clients were receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit (see table MB.5), while another 26% were receiving an Invalid’s Benefit. Around 16% were receiving an Unemployment Benefit.

table MB.5: Types of main benefits received

Type of main benefit received at the end of June 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Working-age clients receiving a main benefit1
Unemployment Benefits 17,710 50,855 62,085 56,264 49,622
Domestic Purposes Benefits 96,440 104,400 111,689 113,429 112,260
Sickness Benefits 46,271 54,352 58,465 58,009 59,413
Invalid’s Benefit 82,879 84,544 85,382 84,836 83,652
Other main benefits2 15,017 16,145 15,303 15,279 15,094
Total working-age clients receiving benefits 258,317 310,296 332,924 327,817 320,041
  Other clients receiving a main benefit1
Total other clients receiving benefits 10,655 11,398 11,408 10,727 10,473
  All clients receiving a main benefit1
Total clients receiving benefits 268,972 321,694 344,332 338,544 330,514

Notes

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving a main benefit at the end of June.
  2. Comprises Unemployment Benefit – Training, Unemployment Benefit – Hardship – Training, Unemployment Benefit – Student Hardship, Independent Youth Benefit, Widow’s Benefit and Emergency Benefit.

Most working-age recipients of a main benefit were aged 25–59

From 2008 to 2012, between 39% and 42% of working-age clients receiving a main benefit were aged 40–59 (see table MB.6). Another 31% to 33% were aged 25–39.

table MB.6: Ages of clients receiving a main benefit

Age of client at the end of June 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Working-age clients receiving a main benefit1
18–24 years 38,985 57,346 61,690 58,880 54,915
25–39 years 85,933 101,361 107,525 103,647 99,886
40–49 years 57,938 67,269 72,491 71,817 70,265
50–59 years 47,185 54,193 59,354 60,903 62,627
60–64 years 28,276 30,127 31,864 32,570 32,348
Total working-age clients receiving benefits 258,317 310,296 332,924 327,817 320,041
  Other clients receiving a main benefit1
Total other clients receiving benefits 10,655 11,398 11,408 10,727 10,473
  All clients receiving a main benefit1
Total clients receiving benefits 268,972 321,694 344,332 338,544 330,514

Note

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving a main benefit at the end of June.

Clients were less likely to have received their benefit for less than one year

Between 2009 and 2012, the proportion of working-age main benefit recipients who had received their benefit for less than one year decreased from 40% to 33%. Over the same period, the proportion receiving their benefit for over two years increased, from 46% to 53%. Both changes resulted from a combination of:

Over two in five of working-age beneficiaries were New Zealand Europeans and around one in three were Māori

During this period, around 44% of working-age main benefit recipients identified as New Zealand European, while around 32% identified as Māori.

Unemployment Benefits drove fluctuations in grants of main benefits

Grants of Sickness Benefits, Domestic Purposes Benefits and Invalid’s Benefit decreased between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 (see table MB.7).

Over the same period, grants of ‘other main benefits’ increased (see table MB.7). This largely reflected increased grants of Unemployment Benefits – Student Hardship (between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011) and of training-related benefits (between 2010/2011 and 2011/2012). Grants of these benefits increased in part because of restrictions from January 2011 on access to successive training courses. These restrictions meant that clients undertaking multiple training courses had to apply for a new training-related benefit each time.

table MB.7: Types of main benefits granted

Type of main benefit granted 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Grants of a main benefit to working-age clients1
Unemployment Benefits 56,094 102,367 117,783 109,480 110,165
Domestic Purposes Benefits 36,494 41,811 40,616 38,072 36,258
Sickness Benefits 49,518 55,848 55,426 52,207 51,282
Invalid’s Benefit 15,007 11,024 10,520 9,303 8,892
Other main benefits2 28,045 32,949 40,730 50,442 61,386
Benefits granted to working-age clients 185,158 243,999 265,075 259,504 267,983
  Grants of a main benefit to other clients1
Benefits granted to other clients 7,662 8,119 7,769 6,266 5,581
  Total grants of a main benefit1
Total benefits granted 192,820 252,118 272,844 265,770 273,564

Notes

  1. The number of successful applications for a main benefit 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.

Cancellations of other main benefits drove the increases in the number cancelling main benefits

Increased cancellations of main benefits (see table MB.8) were driven by increased cancellations of ‘other main benefits’. Cancellations of Unemployment Benefits also increased between 2008/2009 and 2010/2011.

Increased cancellations of ‘other main benefits’ reflected increased cancellations of Unemployment Benefits – Student Hardship (between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011) and of training related benefits (between 2010/2011 and 2011/2012). Growth in these cancellations reflected the greater use of these benefits, in part because of the restrictions on access to successive training courses referred to earlier. These restrictions mean that training-related benefits are cancelled at the end of each course.

Over two in five of main benefits cancelled were Unemployment Benefits

Between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012, Unemployment Benefits comprised around 43% of main benefits cancelled (see table MB.8).

table MB.8: Types of main benefits cancelled

Type of main benefit cancelled 2007/2008 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Cancellations of a main benefit by working-age clients1
Unemployment Benefits 61,240 65,940 106,105 115,783 116,311
Domestic Purposes Benefits 36,873 34,566 34,110 36,895 37,231
Sickness Benefits 51,207 47,620 50,327 50,721 50,610
Invalid’s Benefit 8,530 8,730 8,660 8,613 8,698
Other main benefits2 29,780 32,636 42,507 51,031 61,528
Main benefits cancelled by working-age clients 187,630 189,492 241,709 263,043 274,378
  Cancellations of a main benefit by other clients1
Main benefits cancelled by other clients 7,441 7,259 7,405 7,062 7,015
  Cancellations of a main benefit by all clients1
Total main benefits cancelled 195,071 196,751 249,114 270,105 281,393

Notes

  1. The number of cancellations of main benefits 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.

Transfers from Unemployment Benefits and Sickness Benefits dominated transfers between main benefits

Transfers from Unemployment Benefits were mainly to other unemployment-associated benefits (usually Unemployment Benefit – Training or Unemployment Benefit – Hardship – Training). Transfers from Sickness Benefits were mainly to Unemployment Benefits or Domestic Purposes Benefits.