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Welfare reforms working for young people

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
Associate Minister of Housing

24 April 2013

Welfare reforms working for young people

More young people are going off benefit into work and education, with better support to be independent thanks to the Government’s welfare reforms.

“There are 8,367 fewer young people on Unemployment Benefits since 2010 when it peaked at 23,545,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“In the last quarter alone just under 6,000 young people went off benefits and into work, and many more went into full time study. We can’t underestimate the significance of that for individuals.”

There are currently 14,403 18-24 year olds receiving the Unemployment Benefit, a 9.2 per cent decrease since December 2012.

Teenagers and teen parents on benefit are also getting better support through the Youth Services, implemented as part of welfare reform in August 2012.

“Community providers work with young people on the Youth Payment (YP) or Young Parent Payment (YPP) to identify and address any challenges, help them navigate everyday life and get into education or training.”

“We want young people to have positive, independent lives and Youth Services help them build resilience and skills to move off welfare quickly.”

About half of the 303 young people on YP who had turned 18 by the end of last year are no longer receiving a main benefit.

Almost 70 per cent of young people on YP and YPP are enrolled with money management; paying bills directly, with a small in-hand allowance to spend.

“Community organisations help young people learn to manage their money, how to spend it on essential items and how to budget their income.”

There are currently 1005 young people in budgeting, parenting and education as a result of Youth Services.

“There are also 4,137 young people who aren’t on benefit but still receiving Youth Service NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training).”

“We’re ensuring young people at risk of disengaging when they leave school, get the same services with a focus on education,” says Mrs Bennett.

Local community providers are well ahead of schedule in transferring young people off Work and Income’s books.

“We’re focused on getting young people into education or training and building the skills they need to deal with life as an adult,” Mrs Bennett said.

Young people themselves have said how much they like working with local youth providers.

“This determined approach is working to make a difference for a young New Zealanders otherwise at risk of falling into the welfare dependency trap.”

ENDS

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