Contents

Overall trends in the use of financial assistance

Numbers receiving assistance

Summary

Numbers receiving financial assistance decreased between July 2010 and June 2012

This decrease (see table OT.1) was apparent both for the number receiving a main benefit and for the number receiving one or more supplementary benefits. Changes in the number receiving supplementary benefits historically reflect changes in the number receiving main benefits.

table OT.1: Numbers receiving a main benefit or a supplementary benefit

Client group and assistance received at the end of June Clients receiving financial assistance from Work and Income1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
All recipients of a main benefit2 268,972 321,694 344,332 338,544 330,514
Working-age recipients of a main benefit2 258,317 310,296 332,924 327,817 320,041
Recipients of one or more supplementary benefits, Temporary Additional Support or a Special Benefit3,4 466,645 520,807 548,824 537,238 529,370

Notes

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving assistance from Work and Income at the end of June.
  2. All counts of recipients of a main benefit in this report exclude spouses, partners and children of people receiving a main benefit.
  3. Includes some clients receiving one or more supplementary benefits as well as Temporary Additional Support or a Special Benefit. Also includes some clients receiving only an Unsupported Child’s Benefit or an Orphan’s Benefit.
  4. These clients may have been receiving a pension or a main benefit, or may have had a low income from paid employment or from some other source.

Decreased use of financial assistance largely reflected increased cancellations

The decreased use of main benefits and of supplementary benefits arose from increases between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 in the number of main benefits being cancelled. The number of main benefits granted fluctuated over this period.

These patterns reflected a combination of:

– supporting clients to get and stay in paid work without requiring benefit assistance
– ensuring carers were receiving the assistance to which they were entitled.

Around one in eight working-age people received a main benefit

In 2012, an estimated 11.7% of working-age people were receiving a main benefit (down from 12.3% in 2010). In 2012, an estimated 15.7% of those aged 18 or over were receiving a supplementary benefit (down from 16.6% in 2010).

The number receiving a pension or New Zealand Superannuation increased between 2008 and 2012

This increase (see table OT.2) reflected increased grants, while cancellations remained relatively steady. This pattern reflects the ageing of the New Zealand population.

table OT.2: Numbers receiving a pension or New Zealand Superannuation

  Clients receiving New Zealand Superannuation or a pension1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Total recipients of New Zealand Superannuation or a pension2,3 525,012 541,774 561,053 581,292 608,482

Notes

  1. The number of clients recorded in SWIFTT as receiving New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension at the end of June.
  2. All counts in this report of recipients of New Zealand Superannuation and pensions include qualified recipients and non-qualified spouses, but exclude other dependants.
  3. All counts in this report of recipients of New Zealand Superannuation and pensions exclude recipients of a War Disablement Pension. This is to avoid double-counting people receiving both a War Disablement Pension and another benefit or pension.

Virtually all people aged 65 or over received New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension

Between 2008 and 2012, an estimated 95% to 97% of those aged 65 or over were receiving New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension.

A small number of people aged 65 or over did not receive New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension. This group mainly comprised people who:

Policy changes were reflected in the number receiving main benefits

Policy changes during 2010/2011 (collectively referred to as Future Focus) affected clients receiving many benefits. Under these changes:

– recipients of a Domestic Purposes Benefit – Sole Parent whose youngest child is aged 6 or over were required to meet work obligations
– there was an increase in the amount of income that recipients of a Domestic Purposes Benefits, a Widow’s Benefit or an Invalid’s Benefit could earn before their benefit is abated
– clients receiving an Unemployment Benefit were required to apply for their benefit every 12 months
– clients receiving a Sickness Benefit were required to complete a reassessment for their benefit every 12 months
– part-time work obligations were introduced for clients who were receiving Sickness Benefits and assessed as able to work part-time.

More detailed information about Future Focus initiatives concerning particular benefits, and about the impact of these initiatives on the use of those benefits, is given in the relevant sections of this report.

Use of financial assistance since 1940Top

Table OT.3 shows trends since 1940 in the number of clients receiving financial assistance.

table OT.3: Historical summary – numbers receiving financial assistance, 1940–20121,2

Year3 Unemployment Benefits, other unemployment-associated benefits and Emergency Benefit4 Independent Youth Benefit5 Sickness Benefits6 Invalid’s Benefit Miner’s Benefit Domestic Purposes Benefits7 Widow’s Benefit Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Orphan’s Benefit8 Family Benefit9 Transitional Retirement Benefit10 NZ Super-annuation11 Veteran’s Pension12
1940 4,053   2,565 11,811 988   10,174 330 11,053   93,262  
1945 198   4,233 12,205 783   10,965 421 24,251   158,332  
1950 12   4,931 9,476 636   14,198 366 254,9209   186,512  
1955 19   4,277 8,110 481   12,197 300 298,370   199,236  
1960 312   4,064 8,024 353   13,049 277 343,193   204,036  
1965 208   4,681 7,951 184   14,529 316 376,824   214,659  
1970 983   5,876 8,342 98   15,663 315 408,397   241,772  
1975 2,894   7,830 9,414 45 17,231 16,738 376 452,389   289,348  
1980 20,850   7,504 15,647 21 37,040 16,120 413 460,897   405,834  
1985 38,419   9,627 21,464 11 56,548 13,557 365 455,961   459,813  
1990 149,078   19,511 27,824 6 94,823 12,676 5,239 446,373   495,500 3,428
1991 158,204 2,538 20,147 30,746 3 97,000 10,989 2,931     506,047 3,130
1992 174,542 3,682 24,093 31,831 1 96,722 9,873 3,135     504,561 5,393
1993 176,872 4,364 28,729 34,957   96,335 10,259 3,539     488,893 6,117
1994 166,703 3,313 31,535 37,030   100,256 9,012 4,093   6,540 477,400 6,278
1995 148,161 2,891 34,037 39,686   104,027 9,007 4,280   7,327 469,239 6,380
1996 142,539 3,020 33,332 42,423   108,790 9,043 4,655   7,832 481,565 6,687
1997 149,058 2,755 34,194 46,160   112,283 9,132 4,833   7,953 474,451 7,176
1998 158,412 2,867 35,291 49,468   113,329 9,372 5,078   8,151 469,307 7,277
1999 165,722 3,481 33,022 51,173   109,516 9,178 5,383   8,743 461,137 7,334
2000 155,594 3,566 32,294 55,392   108,939 9,104 5,799   8,856 453,401 7,248
2001 141,214 3,635 33,620 59,812   107,821 8,900 6,075   9,012 446,706 7,425
2002 126,934 2,998 36,380 64,529   108,009 8,774 6,332   5,118 450,435 7,587
2003 113,495 2,702 39,902 68,507   109,295 8,659 6,789   2,110 457,278 7,872
2004 83,425 2,287 44,128 72,342   109,526 8,413 7,051     464,624 8,465
2005 64,811 2,011 45,646 74,796   106,330 7,795 7,279     475,215 8,871
2006 55,448 1,676 47,559 77,046   102,331 7,181 7,502     488,825 9,472
2007 39,029 1,294 48,587 79,077   97,111 6,471 7,587     502,717 10,065
2008 32,683 1,242 46,710 85,197   97,157 5,983 7,773     514,276 10,736
2009 66,678 1,750 54,892 87,158   105,182 6,034 8,034     530,758 11,016
2010 76,450 1,711 59,216 88,413   112,383 6,159 8,586     550,520 10,533
2011 70,090 1,191 58,895 88,134   114,039 6,195 8,465     571,239 10,053
2012 63,050 1,006 60,361 87,187   112,828 6,082 8,595     598,933 9,549

Notes

  1. An historical summary of the number of people receiving New Zealand Superannuation, a pension or a main benefit before 1940 is included in the 1990 New Zealand Official Yearbook, p 210. Since 1975, the number of people receiving an Emergency Benefit or a benefit granted because of hardship has been included in the number receiving a pension or main benefit in the group concerned.
  2. All figures given, apart from those for New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension, exclude spouses and partners who receive a share of the main benefits paid to their spouses or partners. Figures for New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension include non-qualified spouses from 1996.
  3. Before 1990, the year ended 31 March; from 1990 onwards, the year ended 30 June.
  4. Excludes people receiving an Independent Youth Benefit. Includes Unemployment Benefit, Unemployment Benefit – Hardship, Unemployment Benefit – Training, Unemployment Benefit – Hardship – Training, and Emergency Benefit. Includes persons aged 55 or over receiving an Unemployment Benefit. Includes Emergency Unemployment Benefit from 1991 to 1998 and Job Search Allowance from 1991 to 1995. From 1996, includes Unemployment Benefit – Student Hardship. From 1998, includes Young Job Seeker’s Allowance and Emergency Benefit. From 1 October 1998 until 30 June 2001, the main benefit in this group was known as a Community Wage – Job Seeker, and since 1 July 2001 it has been known as Unemployment Benefit.
  5. Includes Job Search Allowance from 1996 to 1998.
  6. Includes Sickness Benefit and Sickness Benefit – Hardship.
  7. Includes Domestic Purposes Benefit – Sole Parent, Domestic Purposes Benefit – Care of Sick or Infirm, Domestic Purposes Benefit – Women Alone, and Emergency Maintenance Allowance.
  8. Recipients of an Unsupported Child’s Benefit or an Orphan’s Benefit may or may not be also receiving New Zealand Superannuation, a pension or a main benefit. Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Orphan’s Benefit are not income-replacement main benefits.
  9. Family Benefit was paid without a means test from 1 April 1946 and was abolished from 1 April 1991. Ongoing problems with data and programmes used to extract the statistics relating to Family Benefit have meant that these statistics are of uncertain accuracy.
  10. Transitional Retirement Benefit was introduced on 1 April 1994, and its phasing out was completed on 1 April 2004.
  11. Up to 1975, superannuation and age-related pensions were combined. From 1976 superannuation and aggregated pensions were replaced by National Superannuation. For the period 1 April 1990 to 31 March 1992, this pension was called Guaranteed Retirement Income. Between 1 April 1992 and 31 March 1994, it was known as National Superannuation, and since 1 April 1994 it has been known as New Zealand Superannuation. The age of eligibility was raised to 61 years on 1 April 1992, and was raised progressively to reach 65 years on 1 April 2001. This table excludes non-qualified spouses before 1996, but includes them for 1996 and for later years.
  12. From 1996, includes non-qualified spouses receiving a Veteran’s Pension, but excludes all clients receiving a War Pension. Since 1 July 1999, Veteran’s Pension and War Pension have been funded from Vote Veterans’ Affairs – Social Development.