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All main benefits - December 2018 quarter

All main benefits are income and asset tested. It includes Jobseeker Support (JS), Sole Parent Support (SPS), Supported Living Payment (SLP) and other main benefits.

Five-year trend

There were 299,345 working-age people in receipt of a main benefit as at the end of December 2018. This is 22,524 fewer people or seven percent lower than the December 2013 level (321,869) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Quarterly main benefit numbers, December 2013 to December 2018

Quarterly main benefit numbers

Note 1: Working-age people are aged 18 to 64 years. This definition reflects the minimum age of eligibility for most main benefits and the age of qualification for New Zealand Superannuation.

Note 2: Jobseeker Support (JS), Supported Living Payment (SLP), and Sole Parent Support (SPS).

Note 3: Other includes Youth Payment (YP), Young Parent Payment (YPP), Emergency Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Emergency Benefit (EB), Jobseeker Support Student Hardship (JSSH), Widow’s Benefit Overseas (WBO), and Sole Parent Support Overseas (SPSO).

The proportion of the working-age population receiving a main benefit at the end of the December quarters continue its decline from 11.8 percent in 2013 to 9.8 percent in 2017, and then slightly increased to 9.9 percent by the end of December 2018 quarter (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Proportion of working-age population receiving main benefits, December 2013 to December 2018

Proportion of working age main benefit

Annual comparison

The number of people receiving a main benefit as at the end of December 2018 was 9,557 more, or 3.3 percent higher when compared to December 2017 quarter. The increase in numbers is mostly driven by the 8.9 percent increase in the number of people receiving Jobseeker Support.

December 2017

December 2018

Annual change

Number of working-age people receiving a main benefit

289,788 299,345 3.3 percent increase

Number of Jobseeker Support recipients

123,041 134,048 8.9 percent increase

Number of Supported Living Payment recipients

93,022 92,687 0.4 percent decrease

Number of Sole Parent Support recipients

60,678 59,870 1.3 percent decrease

Number of Youth Payment/Young Parent Payment recipients

1,896 1,680 11.4 percent decrease

Number of recipients of other main benefits

11,151 11,060 0.8 percent decrease

Percentage of working-age population receiving a main benefit

9.8% 9.9% 0.1 percentage point increase

Note 1: Working-age people are aged 18 to 64 years. This definition reflects the minimum age of eligibility for most main benefits and the age of qualification for New Zealand Superannuation.

Note 2: YP/YPP recipients shown are 18+ years. There were 1,483 YP/YPP recipients aged 16 to 17 years as at the end of December 2018. From 25 October 2016, the Youth Service was extended to include 19 year-old teen parents (YPP), and changes were introduced for young partners and young parent partners participating in the youth services.

Note 3: Other main benefits include EMA, EB, JSSH, WBO, and SPSO.

Note 4: Percentage of working-age population is based on Statistics NZ National Population Estimate year ended June for relevant years. Estimates as at the end of June are updated in the following August, so estimates for the end of June 2018 have been used for the December 2018 quarter.

Note 5: Percentages of the working-age population and percentages of the working-age benefit population are given as rounded figures, while the change between them is calculated from the exact values. The difference given may therefore not correspond exactly with the difference between the percentages shown.