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Cost of living adjustment for beneficiaries

10 March 2005

Cost of living adjustment for beneficiaries, students and superannuitants

Benefits, superannuation and student allowances will increase from 1 April 2005 and income thresholds for the Community Services Card will rise, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey and Health Minister Annette King said today.

The increase of 2.7 percent in the rates of benefits, superannuation, allowances and Community Services Card thresholds equates to the increase in the cost of living for 2004, as measured by the Consumers Price Index (CPI).

Examples of the increases in the after tax weekly rates are: For a single unemployed person aged under 20 years living at home, receiving the Unemployment Benefit, up $2.95 to $112.38 For a single unemployed person aged between 20 to 24 years, receiving the Unemployment Benefit, up $3.69 to $140.48

For a married couple receiving the Unemployment Benefit with no children, up $7.38 to $280.96 For a single person over 18 receiving the Invalids Benefit, up $5.54 to $210.72 For a sole parent with one child, receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit, up $6.35 to $241.47 For a single student aged over 25 years studying away from home receiving a Student Allowance, up $4.43 to $168.59 For a married couple who are both qualified to receive New Zealand Superannuation, up $10.34 to $393.56

After this adjustment the married couple rate of superannuation remains above 65 percent of the net average wage.

With the increase in payments, the income thresholds for Community Services Card holders will also increase. The thresholds have also been adjusted to take into account the change in income levels due to the Working for Families changes which also take effect from 1 April. The thresholds now range from $20,275 per year for a single person sharing accommodation to $57,632 per year for a family of six people.

No card holders will lose their entitlement to the card as a result of the increase in their benefit or the Working for Families package. The increase in the thresholds will also mean that some New Zealanders who have not previously been entitled to a card will now be eligible for one.

As well as the CPI increases, on 1 April families with children are set to get a further increase when Family Support rates increase. For more information about the Working for Families package, people can visit www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz.

ENDS

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