The Tofilaus.

Hardship Assistance - September 2019 quarter

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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 1 July to 30 September).

Five-year trend

The number of grants for hardship assistance have been increasing over the last five years. There were 573,588 grants granted in the September 2019 quarter, more than double the number of grants granted in the September 2014 quarter.

Special Needs Grants (SNGs) remain to be the most commonly used hardship support, accounting for 60.6 percent of the total number of hardship grants in the September 2019 quarter.

A Special Needs Grant is an additional income support that aims to address the immediate needs of families and individuals. This support is also available for people who are not receiving a benefit. The majority of SNGs are non-recoverable (i.e. clients do not need to pay them back).


For the September 2019 quarter, the total hardship assistance granted amounted to $167,282,123. Of the total amount, 47.3 percent was granted for Advance Payment of Benefit (ADV). Clients who are receiving a main benefit, and who need immediate assistance have access to an advance of their net benefit entitlement.

SNGs accounted for around 46.7 percent of the total amount granted for hardship assistance.


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


In terms of amount granted, the SNGs for Emergency Housing accounted for the highest amount granted ($41,589,049) in the September 2019 quarter. This was followed by amount granted for food ($26,561,087) and amount granted for accommodation related costs ($22,818,875).


Annual comparison

September 2018 quarter

September 2019 quarter

Annual change

Total Special Needs Grants (SNG)


198,322 347,791 75.4 percent increase


$39,759,414 $78,086,978 96.4 percent increase
Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants (EH SNG)


14,017 29,266 108.8 percent increase


$15,931,192 $41,589,049 161.0 percent increase
Total Advance Payment of Benefit (ADV)


129,746 203,246 56.6 percent increase


$53,204,975 $79,043,526 48.6 percent increase
Total Recoverable Assistance Payments (RAP)


16,663 22,551 35.3 percent increase
Amount $7,551,605 $10,151,619 34.4 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: Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant was implemented from 1 July 2016 and was able to be reported separately from the December 2016 quarter.