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Notice of changes to Social Security Act welfare programmes and/or Ministerial directions

We publish notices of changes, and the document setting out the changes, to make sure changes to legislation are open, transparent and publicly available.

Consolidated versions of welfare programmes and Ministerial directions are available on Map.

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1 May 2022

This instrument, which comes into force on 3 June 2022, amends the Christchurch Mosques Attack Welfare Programme (principal programme) established and approved on 27 May 2019 and made under the Social Security Act 2018. The amendment extends the expiry date of the principal programme to 30 June 2023.

7 March 2022

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 April 2022, as part of the Annual General Adjustment, amends the Ministerial directions and welfare programmes under the Social Security Act 2018.

6 December 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 10 December 2021, amends the Special Needs Grants Programme established and approved on 18 December 1998. This instrument extends eligibility for re-establishment grants to Afghan evacuees who hold a residence class visa, are New Zealand citizens, or hold an Afghan emergency resettlement visa. It also extends eligibility to Applicants that have applied for an Afghan emergency resettlement visa. This instrument also makes a minor technical amendment to the wording of clause 4.

25 October 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 November 2021, amends the Direction on Advance Payments of Instalments of Benefit, the Recoverable Assistance Programme and the Special Needs Grants Programme to change the income limits for assistance.

18 October 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 26 October 2021, amends the Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme.

18 October 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 26 October 2021, amends the definition of seasonal work in the Interpretation clause to include viticulture, for the avoidance of doubt. This instrument also amends clause 6 to incorporate the revised definition of seasonal worker in the eligibility criteria.

2 August 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 2 August 2021, gives approval for payments under Part 6 of the programme to farmers affected by drought or flood or by both drought and flood in the territories of the following local authorities.

25 July 2021

This instrument, which comes into force immediately after it is signed, is the Benefit Rate Increase (Transitional Assistance) Amendment (No 2) 2021 and is made under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018. This instrument amends the principal programme so that the fact of a sole parent-student applicant being absent from New Zealand does not of itself prevent them from receiving, or continuing to receive, transitional assistance under the principal programme as long as they are otherwise eligible and entitled to receive sole parent accommodation benefit.

1 July 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 July 2021, is the Benefit Rate Increase (Transitional Assistance) Amendment 2021 and is made under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018.

21 June 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 August 2021, amends the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative Programme established and approved on 28 July 2020 under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018. 

15 June 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 15 June 2021 amends the Ministerial Direction in relation to Special Benefit given on 10 February 1999 and made under the Social Security Act 1964 (and saved by Schedule 1 of the Social Security Act 2018). The amendment amends the date the definition of “lump sum residential care subsidy refund” comes into effect and makes minor and technical layout changes to clause 2 of the Ministerial Direction.

11 June 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 11 June 2021 amends the Ministerial Direction in relation to Special Benefit given on 10 February 1999 and made under the Social Security Act 1964 (and saved by Schedule 1 of the Social Security Act 2018). The amendment amends the definition of “lump sum residential care subsidy refund” to exclude these payments as a person’s chargeable income for a period of 12 months.

9 June 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 July 2021, amends the specified ministerial directions and welfare programmes under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018 in response to the removal of the ‘12 month rule’ as facilitated by the Social Security (Financial Assistance for Caregivers) Amendment Bill which also comes into force on 1 July 2021.

2 June 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 11 June 2021 amends the Ministerial Direction in relation to Special Benefit given on 10 February 1999 and made under the Social Security Act 1964 (and saved by Schedule 1 of the Social Security Act 2018). The amendment excludes as a person’s chargeable income for a period of 12 months—any lump sum residential care subsidy refund made to a person on or after 11 June 2021, and arising from a retrospective review of any means assessment (for example, any assessments of cash assets, chargeable income, or income) by the Ministry of Social Development following the decision in Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development v Broadbent [2019] NZCA 201:any income derived from such a payment.

26 May 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 July 2021, amends the Sole Parent Study Assistance Programme. This instrument amends clause 7 (Ineligibility) to add the new Training Incentive Allowance Programme. The amendment prevents a person from receiving assistance under the Sole Parent Study Assistance Programme if they are already receiving assistance under either the Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme or the Training Incentive Allowance Programme. This instrument also amends clause 8 (Application process) to stop applications for assistance from being granted after 1 July 2021.

26 May 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 28 June 2021, is the Abatement Threshold Increase (Transitional Assistance) Amendment 2021 and is made under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018. This instrument amends the principal programme to ensure that individuals receiving transitional assistance under the principal programme do not lose that assistance if their net income increases by an amount less than the transitional assistance they are receiving, as an unintended consequence of changes made on 1 July 2021 to benefit rates, the calculation of the disability exception amount for temporary additional support purposes, and to the definition of income for childcare assistance purposes. It also provides that in such cases, the amount of transitional assistance individuals receive will reduce by the amount of the increase in their income.

26 May 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 July 2021, is the Benefit Rate Increase (Transitional Assistance) Programme 2021 and is made under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018. The programme provides for the grant of temporary financial assistance for a maximum period of 12 months to people who are financially disadvantaged as an unintended consequence of changes made on 1 July 2021 to benefit rates and changes to the calculation of the disability exception amount for temporary additional support purposes.

26 May 2021

This instrument, which comes into force on 1 July 2021, is the Training Incentive Allowance Programme and is made under section 101 of the Social Security Act 2018. The programme provides assistance for people receiving certain benefits to enable them to undertake recognised courses of study which increase their skills for employment and improve their employment outcomes in the future. The programme expands assistance previously available under the Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme for courses at Level 1 to 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. Under the programme, assistance is available for compulsory course fees and course-related costs for study up to and including Level 7 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

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