Social development minister Paula Bennett Monday 23 July 2012, 9:23AM
Media release from social development minister Paula
The Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill
passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.
''The welfare system is changing from a passive approach fostering
benefit dependency to an active, work-focused system,'' says Social
Development Minister Paula Bennett.
"Young people in particular will have much greater obligations, but
also greater supports to help them get the education needed to be
independent of welfare."
"We're providing $80 million in childcare so teen parents can
continue with their education and training and teen parents and
young people on benefits can now earn incentive payments by
remaining in education and completing budgeting and parenting
''Dedicated Youth Service providers will help young people pay
their bills directly, manage their money and meet obligations like
"Previously the system has paid a benefit to these groups and then
effectively left them to it. This is going to change,'' says Mrs
Changes also affect sole parents, partners of beneficiaries and
those on Widow's and Women Alone benefits.
Mrs Bennett says aspects of the existing welfare system are out of
step with modern life with Widow's and Women Alone benefits only
From October, sole parents with children over five will be expected
to be available and looking for part-time work and full-time for
those with children over 14 years old.
Under the previous Government, sole parents could remain on welfare
until their children were 18 years old.
This legislation will usher in a change of thinking around work
expectations and is the next step in overhauling the benefit system
in a fair and balanced way.
The next phase of Welfare Reform, scheduled for implementation in
2013, will simplify the benefit system and bring in a clearer focus
The Youth Package reforms contained in the Social Security
Amendment Act commence on 20 August 2012, while work obligations
for sole parents, Widow's and Women Alone start in October
Changes affecting young people and teen parents include:
· A managed system
of payments with essential costs like rent and power paid directly,
with an allowance and a payment card for living costs.
· Youth Service
Providers incentivised to help young people into work, education or
training. Young people encouraged to undertake budgeting and
Childcare Assistance Payment, so childcare costs do not stop young
parents from studying.
information between ministries to target school leavers most at
risk of coming onto a benefit from age 18.
Changes affecting DPB, Widow's Benefit and Women Alone:
· Ensuring sole
parents with children five and older are available for and
supported into part-time work.
· Ensuring sole
parents with children 14 and older are available for and supported
into full-time work.
· Extending these
work expectations to women receiving the Widow's and Women Alone
benefits and to partners of beneficiaries with children.
· Enabling Work and
Income to direct people to prepare for work early.
· Requiring sole
parents who have another child while on a benefit to be available
for work after one year, in line with parental leave.