The Tofilaus.

Hardship Assistance - September 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 Grants (SNG), Advances (ADV) and Recoverable Assistance Payments (RAP).

Five-year trend

The number of grants provided for hardship assistance has been increasing over the last five years. Food has remained the main reason for needing hardship assistance.

The total number of grants made in the September 2018 quarter was up by 18.6 percent compared to what was granted last year (or from 290,683 grants provided in September 2017 to 344,731 in September 2018).

More than half (57.5 percent) of the numbers granted were for Special Needs Grants (SNGs). This 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 Special Needs Grants.

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

Quarterly hardship grants

The total value of the hardship assistance granted for the September 2018 quarter amounted to $100.5 million. This is about 26.5 percent higher (up by $21.1 million) compared to the same time last year (Figure 2).

The grants for Advance Payments made up 52.9 percent of the total amount paid for hardship assistance. People receiving a main benefit who require immediate assistance have access to an advance of their net benefit entitlement.

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

Quarterly hardship amount

Food has remained the main reason for needing hardship assistance. The number of grants provided for food assistance went up by around 12.6 percent or from 126,267 in the September 2017 quarter to 142,232 in the September 2018 quarter (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Selected quarterly hardship assistance reasons, September 2013 to September 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.

In terms of the value of grants made, accommodation related hardship assistance accounted for the highest amount granted (Figure 4).

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

September 2017 quarter

September 2018 quarter

Annual change

Total Special Needs Grants (SNG)

Number

174,683 198,322 13.5 percent increase

Amount

$30,803,954 $39,759,414 29.1 percent increase
Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNG)

Number

9,159 14,017 53.0 percent increase

Amount

$8,964,440 $15,931,192 77.7 percent increase
Total Advances (ADV)

Number

102,586 129,746 26.5 percent increase

Amount

$42,443,951 $53,204,975 25.4 percent increase
Total Recoverable Assistance Payments (RAP)

Number

13,414 16,663 24.2 percent increase
Amount $6,184,516 $7,551,605 22.1 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.