Superannuation entitlements confirmed
No superannuitant will lose entitlement to the Community Services Card or the Disability Allowance as a result of the increase in New Zealand Superannuation on 1 April, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.
The Government has increased the income thresholds at which people qualify for Community Services cards. An estimated 5,500 superannuitants would have breached the existing threshold from 1 April because of increases to New Zealand Superannuation.
“Increasing the income threshold for the Community Services card confirms earlier assurances I had given that people could both enjoy the changes in superannuation and retain their Community Services Card at the same time.
"The income thresholds for entitlement to a Community Services Card will be increased by an amount equivalent to the increase in superannuation payments. This means for example that for a single person living alone, the CSC threshold rises $843 a year to $19,689; for a married couple with no dependants it rises by $1398 to $29,398."
Mr Maharey said the Government had also taken steps to ensure that no superannuitants would lose entitlement to the Disability Allowance as a result of the increase in superannuation.
Approximately 1000 of the 85,000 superannuitants receiving the Disability Allowance risked losing entitlement and potentially being worse off overall as a result of the 1 April superannuation and Veterans Pension increase.
“We will change the Disability Allowance thresholds to also ensure they are looked after. A law change will be made later this year to put this into effect. In the meantime, a new payment will be made to those superannuitants affected to preserve their Disability Allowance entitlement.
Mr Maharey said while the 1 April NZS increases would not affect entitlement to the Accommodation Supplement, the amount of subsidy paid towards housing costs through the benefit may reduce by a small amount for the estimated five per cent or 23,500 superannuitants who also received the Accommodation Supplement.
“The average increase in New Zealand Superannuation is $11.47 per week. The increase will mean that some superannuitants may qualify for less assistance via the Accommodation Supplement, but this will be more than off-set by the additional New Zealand Superannuation they receive," Steve Maharey said.
The Accommodation Supplement reduction caused by the superannuation increase varies between nothing and $5 a week, with the higher amount only affecting married couples.
Mr Maharey said about 750 superannuitants will have their Family Support reduced by on average $3 a week as a result of 1 April increases in superannuation payments but they will still be better off overall. Family Support provides assistance to low income and middle income families with dependent children.
He said any increase in superannuation payments had always affected other forms of income-tested supplementary assistance. Entitlements to income-tested benefits were also altered when there were changes to the level of private income reported by recipients.
"In addition to the increases in superannuation, the government is working on a range of social initiatives that overall will provide greater security and opportunity for New Zealanders," Steve Maharey said.