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Government Delivers On Promise To Working Low-Income Families

From 1 April 2021, people getting a benefit will be able to earn more through work before their benefit payments are affected, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced.

“Overall, around 82,900 low-income people and families will be better off by $18 a week on average,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “Of that figure, 29,500 individuals and families currently receiving a working-age benefit would be on average $29 a week better off.

“Currently, a person on Jobseeker Support can earn up to $90 a week before their benefit starts to reduce with sole parents and people on Supported Living Payment being able to earn up to $115 a week. The changes mean people can earn up to $160 a week before their benefit starts to be affected.

Of the 82,900 people and families affected, approximately 50,200 are families with children.

“The 1 April increase in income abatement thresholds delivers on Labour’s election commitment to back families to get ahead, and is a key part of the Government’s five-point economic plan. It is the second adjustment under this Government, and is the most substantive in over two decades.

“Increasing the income abatement thresholds will make it more worthwhile for people to work, and improve the financial incentives to work part-time,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “It also means people facing reduced work hours, for example because of the impacts of COVID-19, may more readily access financial assistance while staying in their job.”

“Part-time work is an important step for people moving from a benefit back into full-time work. It helps build and maintain skills, experience and self-confidence, and keeps them connected with the workplace.”

“We want more people to enter the labour market, support our economy and to be better off for working. Growing people’s incomes and wages, particularly for low-income people, sits at the core of making the welfare system fairer.

“The changes will help people and families get ahead, as we get through COVID-19, and rebuild New Zealand back stronger than ever,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Increasing the abatement thresholds from 1 April 2021 is a total investment of $393.98 million over five years.

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