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Benefit fact sheets

The Benefit Fact Sheets provide a high-level view of trends in benefit receipt over the past five years. They present numbers and characteristics of clients on benefits at the end of the current quarter and for the equivalent quarter one year ago and five years ago.

The Benefit Fact Sheets provide breakdowns of overall numbers, where appropriate, by:

  • benefit sub-categories
  • gender
  • broad age groups
  • ethnicity
  • continuous duration on any benefit
  • presence of dependent children
  • broad categories of incapacity.

It should be noted that trends in numbers receiving benefits are more reliably shown by comparisons between the same quarter 12 months apart, rather than by comparisons across consecutive quarters. This is due to seasonal changes which affect benefit numbers.


Welfare Reform

On 15 July 2013, the Welfare Reform changes came into place. New Zealand’s welfare system has changed to one that better recognises and supports people’s work potential. It focuses on what people can do to achieve a better future for themselves and their families. Three new benefits replace most previous benefit types: Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment. These are the third Benefit Fact Sheets to be published since the introduction of the Welfare Reform changes.

For benefit counts prior to 15 July 2013, we report estimates of the number of clients receiving the new benefit categories, based on previous benefits received and other characteristics recorded for the client. Numbers from 15 July 2013 are actual numbers based on benefit and work obligations post the Welfare Reform changes. As a result of these new categories, data is not comparable to Benefit Fact Sheets before July 2013. The new rules have been applied to create quarterly and annual changes to compare the benefit sub-categories across time.

Previous Benefit Fact Sheets can be accessed via a link at the side of the page.


All main benefits

Main benefits include: Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living Payment, Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment, Emergency Maintenance Allowance, Emergency Benefit and Jobseeker Support Student Hardship.


From 15 July 2013 three new benefits replaced most of the previous benefits:

Jobseeker Support (JS)

For people who can usually look or prepare for work. It also includes people who can only work part-time or cannot look for work at the moment, for example because they have a health condition, injury or disability. JS includes four pre-15 July 2013 benefit categories:

  • Unemployment Benefit Related (UB/UBH)
  • Unemployment Benefit Training (UBT/ UHT)
  • Sickness Benefit Related (SB/SBH)
  • Domestic Purposes Benefit-Sole Parent / Woman Alone / Widow’s Benefit (DPB-SP/WA/WB) – for clients with children 14 years and over.

Sole Parent Support (SPS)

For sole parents with dependent children under 14 years who can look or prepare for part-time work. SPS includes two pre-15 July 2013 benefit categories:

  • Domestic Purposes Benefit-Sole Parent (DPB-SP) – for clients with children aged up to 13 years
  • Widow’s Benefit (WB) – for clients with no children, or children aged up to 13 years.

Supported Living Payment (SLP)

For people who have or care for someone with a health condition, injury or disability that severely limits their ability to work on a long-term basis. SLP includes two pre-15 July 2013 benefit categories:

  • Invalid’s Benefit (IB)
  • Domestic Purposes Benefit-Care of Sick and Infirm (DPB-CSI).

Previous benefits that remain include: Emergency Benefit, Emergency Maintenance Allowance, Youth Payment, Youth Parent Payment and Unemployment Benefit – Student Hardship (now called Jobseeker Support Student Hardship).


Data tables

The following Excel tables provide a view of benefit use at a national level, by Work and Income regions, by Regional Councils, by Auckland Boards, by Territorial Authority areas and by Service Centres.

These tables present numbers for overall benefit use, type of main benefit, and breakdowns by selected client characteristics where appropriate.

We are continually working to provide more comprehensive breakdowns of benefit data. For this reason, some information may be presented slightly differently than previous quarterly data tables. Please use caution when comparing across quarterly data tables.

National level data tables

The following Excel data tables provide national level benefit numbers by main benefit groups, by benefit sub-categories and a range of other selected client characteristics. The tables cover working-age benefit data as well as other working-age benefits, non-working age benefits, New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension (all ages), Non-beneficiaries, selected supplementary assistance and hardship assistance. The tables present benefit numbers at the end of the latest quarter, and for each quarter over the last five years.

Work and Income region data tables

Work and Income divides New Zealand into 11 administrative regions. The following Excel data tables present benefit data by main benefit groups, by benefit sub-categories and a range of other selected client characteristics. The tables present benefit numbers at the end of the latest quarter, and for each quarter over the last five years.

Regional Council data tables

New Zealand has 12 Regional Councils. There are also 5 unitary authorities (Gisborne, Marlborough, Tasman, Nelson City and the Chatham Islands) which combine regional and local councils into one organisation. The following Excel data tables present benefit data by main benefit groups, by benefit sub-categories and a range of other selected client characteristics. There is no back-dated time series data because retrospective benefit numbers cannot be generated. The time series begins from September 2013.

Auckland Boards data tables

Auckland City is made up of 21 local government boards. Auckland City boundaries differ from the former Auckland regional council boundary and the boundaries of the territorial local authorities which previously existed in the Auckland area. Data in the Auckland local board fact sheet should therefore not be compared with fact sheets for Auckland regional council or for territorial local authorities previously existing in the Auckland area.

The following Excel data tables present benefit data by main benefit groups, by benefit sub-categories and a range of other selected client characteristics. The tables present benefit numbers at the end of this quarter. There is no back-dated time series data because retrospective benefit numbers cannot be generated. The time series begins from September 2013.

Territorial Authority Area (TLA) data tables

New Zealand has 73 Territorial Local Authorities (TLAs), which are made up by city and district councils. The following Excel data tables present benefit data by main benefit groups, by benefit sub-categories and a range of other selected client characteristics. The tables present benefit numbers at the end of the latest quarter. There is no back-dated time series data because retrospective benefit numbers cannot be generated. The time series begins from September 2013.

Note: TLA data tables for December 2013 were corrected on 22 January. The total benefit number for each TLA was revised.

Service Centre data tables

Work and Income has over 170 service centres nationwide. The following Excel data tables present benefit data by main benefit groups. The tables present benefit numbers at the end of the latest quarter. There is no back-dated time series data because retrospective benefit numbers cannot be generated.


Release timetable

The benefit fact sheets will be released on the following dates:

Quarter endPublished
March 2014 Published 17 April 2014
June 2014 18 July 2014
September 2014 17 October 2014
December 2014 16 January 2015