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All main benefits - March 2019 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 286,450 working-age people in receipt of a main benefit as at the end of March 2019, three percent lower than March 2014 (295,320). Jobseeker Support recipients are the main driver of the year on year change in main benefit numbers.

Figure 1: Quarterly main benefit numbers, March 2014 to March 2019

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 (WB), Widow’s Benefit Overseas (WBO), and Sole Parent Support Overseas (SPSO).

Compared to the estimated New Zealand population, the proportion of the working-age population receiving a main benefit as at the end of the March quarters declined from 10.9 percent in 2014 to 9.3 percent in 2018, and then increased to 9.5 percent by the end of the March 2019 quarter.

Figure 2: Proportion of working-age population receiving main benefits, March 2014 to March 2019

Note: Proportion of working-age population is based on Statistics New Zealand estimated resident population year ended as at end of June for the relevant years, so estimate as at the end of June 2018 has been used for the March 2019 quarter.

Annual comparison

The number of people receiving a main benefit as at the end of March 2019 was 13,063 more, or 4.8 percent higher when compared to the March 2018 quarter. The increase in numbers is mostly driven by the 10.9 percent increase in the number of clients receiving Jobseeker Support.

March 18

March 19

Annual change

Number of working-age people receiving a main benefit

273,387 286,450 4.8 percent increase

Number of Jobseeker Support recipients

118,755 131,720 10.9 percent increase

Number of Supported Living Payment recipients

92,473 92,503 0.0 percent increase

Number of Sole Parent Support recipients

58,830 58,824 0.0 percent decrease

Number of Youth Payment/Young Parent Payment recipients

1,585 1,646 3.8 percent increase

Number of recipients of other main benefits

1,744 1,757 0.7 percent increase

Percentage of working-age population receiving a main benefit

9.3% 9.5% 0.2 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 1,418 YP/YPP recipients aged 16 to 17 years at the end of March 2019. 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, WB, WBO, and SPSO.

Note 4: Percentage of working-age population is based on Statistics NZ National Population Estimate year ended as at 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 March 2019 quarter.

Note 5: Annual changes are calculated from the exact values, and presented to the nearest one decimal point.

Note 6: Percentage of the working-age population and percentage 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.