May 15, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

MSD Changes to Welfare system to start today

2 min read

Agree with it or not there are significant changes to the Welfare system that will take place over the comming year beginning Sept 27. These changeswill significantly affect many of our people so please take some time to familarise yourself with the following:

Future Focus:the Government’s new approach towork

Future Focus is a comprehensive package of reforms aimed at breaking what the government is calling the “cycle of welfare dependency”.

345,000 New Zealanders currently receive a benefit.

The changes announced in March 2010 by Minister of SocialDevleopment, Paula Bennett,will be introduced gradually over a year, from October, including the following:

  • Those still receiving an Unemployment Benefit after a year will be expected to reapply.
  • All benefit rates will increase annually in line with the cost of living increases. This will now be enshrined in law.
  • Sole parents with children six years and over will be work-tested and required to look for part-time work.
  • Next year, Sickness Beneficiaries assessed as being able to do part-time work will face the same obligations.

The government will provide assistance, with more focus on job training.

  • Abatement rates will be increased for some benefits, providing a work incentive.
  • The abatement threshold will increase from $80 to $100 per week. Part-time thresholds also increase by $20 from $180 to $200 per week.

Changes to hardship and emergency assistance will also take place including:

  • The process will be streamlined for occasional users
  • High users will have to show they’re making every effort to manage their finances to get extra help.

Other changes include:

  • Changes to childcare assistance thresholds for high income earners
  • Strengthening obligations for Independent Youth Beneficiaries to make education the priority
  • Effective sanctions that don’t penalise dependant children
  • More rigorous assessments for Sickness Beneficiaries that focus on what people can do, not what they can’t
  • Stricter application of eligibility criteria for Invalids Benefit

Get familiar!

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