Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Improved access to Special Benefit and childcare

25 May 2000 Media Statement

Improved access to Special Benefit and childcare


Access to the Special Benefit will be improved and more hours of subsidised childcare available following the Budget next month, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

The announcements were made as part of the Government’s initial response to benefit advocacy groups who are working with the Department of Work and Income to improve its responsiveness and the way it deals with those on low incomes.

"The Government is actively engaged in ensuring that New Zealanders have the security they need and the opportunity to participate in their communities and the economy.”

"Budget 2000 will improve the Special Benefit programme to assist those most in need, and increase the hours for Childcare and Out of School Care (OSCAR) subsidies for those wanting to be in work or training," said Mr Maharey.

Improving Access to Special Benefit

Special Benefit is a hardship allowance based on the difference between a beneficiary’s income and their essential commitments. However recipients are currently expected to meet the first $5 a week of the gap between their income and their commitments.

This standard $5 deduction from Special Benefit will be stopped from 1 July 2000.

“For those on low incomes, every dollar counts. This will put that $5 back in the pockets of those who most need it. This is a modest but positive improvement, and the beginning of a more responsive approach,” Mr Maharey said.

Mr Maharey said that as a result of the change, the weekly Special Benefit for most of the 11,000 Special Benefit recipients would be increased, and an estimated 10% or 1,100 new recipients will also now qualify for the Special Benefit.

The standard deduction was introduced in the past primarily as a cost saving measure and advocacy groups have long argued that it is unjustifiable and reduces the recipient’s entitlement.
. . / 2
Mr Maharey said the estimated cost of the change would be $11.33 million over the next four years. In addition, the Government is investigating debt relief measures for those on benefits, such as a cap on weekly debt repayments.

Childcare – Out of School Care

Helping parents, especially sole parents, get off the benefit and into training or the workforce is some of the most valuable assistance that Governments can give.

“Many of those getting benefits want to work, can work and will work if only they are given the chance and opportunity. Help with childcare while they are in training or work is really valuable.

"Budget 2000 will from 1 February 2001 increase the maximum number of hours that can be claimed for both the childcare and Out of School Care (OSCAR) subsidies from 30 hours a week to 37 hours a week," Mr Maharey said.

In the case of the OSCAR subsidy, the increase will apply in the school holiday period. The maximum number of hours will remain at 20 per week during the school term.

“The present 30 hour maximum childcare subsidy is insufficient in some cases. For example, a parent in full-time employment or training is likely to require approximately 45 hours a week childcare, including travelling time.

“This initiative increases assistance to a maximum of 37 hours a week and will make a significant contribution to parents, who are considering taking opportunities for full-time employment,” Mr Maharey said.

He said the initiative was funded for next year while a review of the effectiveness of the subsidies was carried out.

Mr Maharey said he has also stopped the Child Disability Allowance being taken into account as income when eligibility for childcare subsidy is being assessed. The change will cost $68,000 annually.

Child Disability Allowance is paid to the caregiver of a child with a serious disability.

“With the special benefit initiative the Government is providing increased security to those in greatest need, while the increased childcare assistance will improve opportunities for parents seeking to move into full-time employment,” said Mr Maharey.
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Whakaari / White Island Eruption: Body recovery operation

Six bodies have been successfully recovered from Whakaari / White Island... More>>

Police Update: Plan To Recover Bodies
"I can now confirm that we are finalising a plan to recover the bodies from Whakaari / White Island tomorrow morning. Families will be briefed on the operation at 4.30pm and Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement will speak with media in Whakatane." More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Welfare Vs Infrastructure Spending

If New Zealand has a pressing need to stimulate its flagging economy, it seems very weird that the government is choosing a $12 billion package of infrastructure spending – mainly on road and rail – that by definition, will take a very long time to deliver their stimulatory benefits ... More>>

New Reports: "Immediate Commitment To Doing Justice Differently"

Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached... More>>

ALSO:

"Heart-Breaking And Confronting": Surgical Mesh Restorative Justice Report

Minister Genter: “People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced..." More>>

ALSO:

Law Foundation: Government Decryption Powers Must Respect Privacy

The power of government to order users and companies to decrypt encrypted data and devices needs stronger privacy protections and additional safeguards, according to a study published by researchers at the University of Waikato. More>>

Latest 'Discussion Doc': National On Healthcare

National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels