The Tofilaus.

Hardship Assistance - December 2019 quarter

During the COVID-19 pandemic response, we are releasing a reduced amount of supporting material for the Benefit Fact Sheets and this page has not been updated with information from the latest 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 of Benefit (ADV), and Recoverable Assistance Payment (RAP).

The data presented are counts of grants and not a count of clients. A client may receive more than one grant during a quarter (i.e. from October to December).

Five-year trend

A total of 573,851 hardship assistance was granted in the December 2019 quarter. Of this total, 66.7 percent were granted for Special Needs Grants (SNGs).

A Special Needs Grant is an additional income support that aims to address the immediate needs of families and individuals. A person does not have to receive a main benefit to be eligible for an SNG. The majority of SNGs are non-recoverable (i.e. clients do not need to pay them back).

Hardship assistance

During the December 2019 quarter, the total payments for hardship assistance amounted to $165,380,115. More than half (53.7 percent) of the total payments was for SNGs.

Amount of hardship assistance

To buy food was the main reason provided for needing hardship assistance.

Hardship reasons numbers

The SNG – Emergency Housing accounted for the highest amount paid ($48,125,062) during the December 2019 quarter. This was followed by grants for food ($30,344,354) and grants for accommodation related costs ($22,107,376).

Hardship reasons amount number two

Annual comparison

December 2018 quarter

December 2019 quarter

Annual change

Total Special Needs Grants (SNGs)


241,152 382,706 58.7 percent increase

Amount paid

$48,710,584 $88,815,126 82.3 percent increase
SNG – Emergency Housing


15,676 30,941 97.4 percent increase

Amount paid

$19,494,969 $48,125,062 146.9 percent increase
Total Advance Payment of Benefit (ADV)


128,281 172,087 34.1 percent increase

Amount paid

$53,030,677 $67,889,214 28.0 percent increase
Total Recoverable Assistance Payments (RAP)


15,610 19,058 22.1 percent increase
Amount paid $7,167,954 $8,675,775 21.0 percent increase

Note 1: Data provided are counts of grants, not counts of clients. A client may have more than one grant during a quarter.

Note 2: The total of Special Needs Grants includes Emergency Housing SNGs.

Note 3: SNG – Emergency Housing was implemented from 1 July 2016 and was able to be reported separately from the December 2016 quarter.