Earlier changes

What's new

26 July 2021

Initial stand-down

Initial stand-downs for all clients have been reinstated from 25 July 2021. These were temporarily removed due to the impacts of COVID-19 from 23 March 2020 until 24 July 2021.

See:

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1 July 2021

Increase to benefit rates

A one-off increase has been made to benefit rates. The following benefits have been increased by $20:

  • Jobseeker Support
  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • Young Parent Payment
  • Youth Payment

Transitional Assistance Payment - Benefit Rate Increase

The Transitional Assistance Payment - Benefit Rate Increase has been introduced for clients getting Temporary Additional Support and who are financially worse off overall on 1 July 2021 as an unintended consequence of either:

  • the increase to main benefit rates on 1 July 2021 or
  • the change to the calculation of the disability exception amount in the Temporary Additional Support formula on 1 July 2021

The payment is non-taxable and paid for up to 12 months. Clients will automatically get the Transitional Assistance Payment, and they do not need to apply. See:

Childcare Assistance - Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy

Changes have been made to chargeable income for Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy from 1 July 2021. See:

Orphans Benefit and Unsupported Childs Benefit

Caregivers no longer need to be caring for a child for a minimum of 12 months to get Orphans Benefit or Unsupported Childs Benefit. When caregivers are expecting to provide care for less than 12 months they are a principal temporary caregiver.

See:

Best Start tax credit

Clients getting a main benefit and Orphans Benefit or Unsupported Childs Benefit, can choose to get Best Start tax credit from the Ministry of Social Development if they meet the qualifications.

Caregivers getting an Orphans Benefit or Unsupported Childs Benefit but not getting a main benefit need to apply to Inland Revenue for Best Start tax credit payments. See:

Rent Arrears Assistance - Advance Payment of Benefit and Recoverable Assistance Payment

From 1 July 2021 Rent Arrears Assistance cannot be paid when a client can get an Advance Payment of Benefit or a Recoverable Assistance Payment for their rent arrears.

When a client needs help with rent arrears they need to apply for an Advance Payment of Benefit or a Recoverable Assistance Payment, before considering any Rent Arrears Assistance.

Also the amount of Rental Arrears Assistance that can be paid has reduced to the previous maximum of $2,000.

See:

Residential Care Subsidy

The Residential Care Subsidy asset thresholds, income from assets exemptions, and Territorial Local Authority maximum contribution rates increased on 1 July 2021. See:

Training Incentive Allowance

Training Incentive Allowance is now available to support degree level study for sole parents, carers and disabled people for clients studying at levels 4 - 7. This includes sole parents getting Young Parent Payment, or Jobseeker Support with children who are studying part-time from 1 July 2021.

This assistance is provided to help increase their skills and improve their employment opportunities and income.

The Training Incentive Allowance current maximum payment is $4,567.60 per year, or $114.19 per week.

Training Incentive Allowance replaces the Sole Parent Support Study Assistance Loan. Clients can no longer apply for Sole Parent Study Assistance Loan from 1 July 2021.

See:

Temporary Additional Support - Disability exception amount

How the disability exception amount is calculated in the Temporary Additional Support formula is changing from 1 July 2021. The change will:

  • provide additional support to people with high disability costs by increasing the amount of disability costs covered by the disability exception amount. The first $100 of costs will be covered in full, and the remaining costs will be subsidised at 30%
  • remove the double counting of disability costs, so the disability exception amount reflects a person's actual costs
  • remove the need for Transitional Assistance Payments for clients as they will not be disadvantaged by benefit rate changes

See:

Legislation

The following ministerial directions have been updated, effective from 1 July 2021:

These are also available in a hard-copy (PDF) format. See ministerial directions.

The following welfare programmes have been added, effective from 1 July 2021:

These are also available in a hard-copy (PDF) format. See welfare programmes.

The following welfare programmes have been updated, effective from 1 July 2021:

These are also available in a hard-copy (PDF) format. See welfare programmes.

For Orphans Benefit or Unsupported Childs Benefit, the principal temporary caregiver is the person who has the primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child for a short-term, unknown, or uncertain period, and is not the natural or adoptive parent of the child.