Half of families denied full benefit increase

About half of all beneficiary families with children will be disappointed to learn today they will not get the full $25 benefit increase that the National Government has led them to believe they will, the Green Party says.

The Government’s $25 a week benefit increase for parents is due to kick in today, along with a new obligation for parents of 3 year olds to seek work.

“Despite all its grandstanding about the historic benefit increase, the Government has designed it so that half the families that gain on the one hand, will lose on the other,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.

Written questions provided to Green Party show that 40 percent of all beneficiary families will have their income from other sources reduced as a result of the $25 increase. Another 22,000 parents will be forced to pay an extra $6 or $7 more a week in income related rents.

The Government has confirmed that it didn’t ring fence the benefit increase, so those who get the accommodation supplement and other payments related to income, will have those payments reduced when the benefit increase kicks in today. In all, less than half of beneficiaries will get the full $25.

“The Government could have ring-fenced the increase so that families get the full $25, but it chose not to.

“What’s really nasty is that those families who are doing it the toughest, those with more kids, and more expenses, stand to lose the most as they are more reliant on supplementary payments that will be reduced.

“Clearly National MPs have not been up at night over the kitchen table deciding whether to pay the power bill or buy food for the week.

“The Budget was never enough for people to pay their bills, or to ensure that kids have the same opportunities as others.

“If the Government really cared about helping children living in families on the breadline, it would have ensured every child in every family got the help they need. Instead it chose to do the bare minimum,” Ms Logie said. 

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