The Tofilaus.

Hardship Assistance - December 2018 quarter

Hardship assistance is for people with insufficient income and assets, and who have immediate and specific needs that cannot be met by their own resources. Hardship assistance includes Special Needs Grant (SNG), Advance Payment (ADV) and Recoverable Assistance Payment (RAP).

Five-year trend

The number of grants for hardship assistance has been increasing over the last five years. There were 385,043 grants provided in the December 2018 quarter, almost double the number of grants granted in the December 2013 quarter (195,636) (Figure 1).

The number of Special Needs Grants (SNGs) continues to be a key driver for the increased number, accounting for 62.6 percent of the total number of hardship grants in the December 2018 quarter. A Special Need Grant is an additional income support to address immediate needs of families and individuals. A person does not have to be receiving a benefit to qualify for an SNG.

Figure 1: Quarterly hardship assistance grants, December 2013 to December 2018

Quarterly hardship grants

For the December 2018 quarter, the total hardship assistance granted amounted to $108.9 million, of which $53 million (48.7 percent) was granted for Advance Payments. People receiving a main benefit who require immediate assistance have access to an advance of their net benefit entitlement/s (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Amount of quarterly hardship assistance granted, December 2013 to December 2018

Quarterly hardship amount

Over the last five years, food has remained the main reason for needing hardship assistance. In the December 2018 quarter, there were 183,367 grants provided valued at $19.8 million provided for food assistance (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3: Selected quarterly hardship assistance reasons, December 2013 to December 2018

Quarterly hardship grants reasons

Note 1: Accommodation related reasons include accommodation, bond/tenancies and rent arrears. Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants are not included in this category.

Note 2: Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNGs) were first reported for the December 2016 quarter (ie from 1 October to 31 December 2016) and therefore not comparable to data reported prior to 1 October 2016.

Figure 4: Amount of quarterly hardship assistance granted by reason, December 2016 to December 2018

Quarterly hardship amount reasons

Note 1: Accommodation related reasons include accommodation, bond/tenancies and rent arrears.

Note 2: Data for Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant was first reported for the December 2016 quarter (i.e. from 1 October to 31 December 2016) and therefore not comparable to data reported prior to 1 October 2016.

Annual comparison

December 2017 quarter

December 2018 quarter

Annual change

Total Special Needs Grants (SNG)

Number

182,187 241,152 32.4 percent increase

Amount

$29,897,640 $48,710,584 62.9 percent increase
Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNG)

Number

6,172 15,676 154.0 percent increase

Amount

$6,566,960 $19,494,969 197.9 percent increase
Total Advances (ADV)

Number

95,571 128,281 34.2 percent increase

Amount

$40,300,111 $53,030,677 31.6 percent increase
Total Recoverable Assistance Payments (RAP)

Number

12,312 15,610 26.8 percent increase
Amount $5,786,911 $7,167,954 23.9 percent increase

Note 1: Special Needs Grants and Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants are a count of grants, not a count of clients. A client may have more than one grant in the period.

Note 2: The Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant was implemented from 1 July 2016 and was able to be reported separately from the December 2016 quarter.