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Solo Mums & Widows Benefit Entitlements Unchanged

27 February 2001 Media Statement

Solo Mums And Widows Benefit Entitlements Unchanged By Australian Agreement

Benefit entitlements for domestic purposes and widows beneficiaries returning to New Zealand have not changed as a result of the recently concluded Trans-Tasman benefit agreement, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey confirmed this evening.

Mr Maharey was responding to inaccurate claims by opposition leader Jenny Shipley in Parliament this afternoon that the agreement would see these beneficiaries lose eligibility for income assistance. Green social services spokesperson Sue Bradford has also called on the Government to confirm assistance will still be available.

"The benefit agreement concluded with Australia does not alter the income assistance previously available to domestic purposes and widows beneficiaries returning to New Zealand.

"Eligibiltiy for these benefits is set out in New Zealand domestic law and this has not been changed.

"Domestic purposes beneficiaries or widows with children continue to be eligible to receive income assistance provided they have resided in New Zealand for ten years at some point in their life. For example, if a mother left New Zealand at ten years of age she would qualify for DPB on return to New Zealand.

"The eligibility for widows beneficaries without children also remains unchanged. The 1964 Social Security Act requirements continue to include the widow and her husband being resident in New Zealand at the date of the husband's death or only temporarily absent," Steve Maharey said.

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