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Thousands better off with Working for Families

Thousands better off with Working for Families

One month after implementation of the Working for Families package began, thousands of New Zealand families are benefiting from extra assistance for accommodation and childcare costs.

When fully implemented, Working for Families will put more money in the pockets of nearly 300,000 low-and-middle income families with children.

Some 25,000 families are already receiving more help with their childcare costs and thousands more gain from improved accommodation assistance, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said.

“Working families were granted 5,088 new Childcare and OSCAR (out of school care) subsidies between 1 October and 5 November 2004.

“In addition, over 20,000 families who were already getting childcare assistance are now also receiving more money towards those costs.

“5,906 working families were newly granted the Accommodation Supplement between 1 October and 5 November 2004. In addition, more than 54,000 clients who receive Accommodation Supplement and who are earning other income are benefiting from the changes by being able to retain all of their Accommodation Supplement, despite these earnings. “The number of people not on a benefit granted accommodation assistance during October has more than doubled on the previous year. However, the biggest impact has been in childcare assistance, with over four times more people being granted childcare subsidies through October than in the same period last year.

“I’m very pleased that the information campaign to promote awareness of the new assistance is getting the attention of New Zealanders. More than 52,000 people have called the free-phones inquiring about Working for Families, and 8,000 have made inquiries at Work and Income offices. Many of these people will benefit from further changes to be introduced in April and October next year.”

Work and Income’s free-phone number is 0800 774 004 and more information can be found at www.workandincome.govt.nz.

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