Benefit increases and changes in Budget 2021

20 May 2021.

Main benefits will increase, Training Incentive Allowance will be available for higher-level courses and other changes have been announced as part of the 2021 Budget.

The other changes include for Childcare Assistance, student support increases, Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit and Work capacity medical certificates.

  • Main benefit increases

    On 1 July 2021

    • All main benefits will increase by $20 per adult per week. This will happen automatically - you don’t need to do anything.

    On 1 April 2022

    • All main benefits will further increase to levels recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group in 2019.
    • Families with children get an additional top-up of $15 per adult a week.
    • Student Allowance and Student Loan for living costs increase by $25 per adult a week.

    The proposed benefit increases are:

    Main benefit* (after tax)

    Current rates

    Rates as at 1 July 2021

    Estimated 1 April 2022 rates**

    Sole Parent Support

    $386.78

    $406.78

    $434

    Jobseeker Support – 18 to 19 years, living at home

    $180.91

    $200.91

    $235

    Jobseeker Support – 18 to 19 years, living away from home

    $219.70

    $239.70

    $275

    Jobseeker Support - single 20-24 years

    $219.70

    $239.70

    $275

    Jobseeker Support - single 25 years and over

    $258.50

    $278.50

    $315

    Jobseeker Support – sole parent

    $386.78

    $406.78

    $434

    Jobseeker Support - couple (without children) each

    $206.81

    $226.81

    $268

    Jobseeker Support - couple (with children) each

    $220.65

    $240.65

    $283

    Supported Living Payment - single 18 years and over

    $316.65

    $336.65

    $359

    Supported Living Payment - sole parent

    $435.58

    $455.58

    $485

    Supported Living Payment - couple (without children) each

    $255.27

    $275.27

    $305

    Supported Living Payment - couple (with children) each

    $269.12

    $289.12

    $320

    Youth Payment - 16-17 years, no dependent children

    $219.70

    $239.70

    $275

    Youth Payment - 16-17 years, with partner and no dependent children

    $206.81

    $226.81

    $268

    Young Parent Payment - 16-18 years, dependent children, 16-17 years not living at home

    $386.78

    $406.78

    $434

    Young Parent Payment - 16-17 years, single, living at home or supported living away

    $208.60

    $228.60

    $251

    Young Parent Payment - 16-18 years, 1 or more dependent children, with partner

    $220.65

    $240.65

    $283

    *NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension are not main benefits.

    **These rates include estimated increases from the Annual General Adjustment scheduled for 1 April 2022.

    Temporary Additional Support or Accommodation Supplement

    When benefit rates increase on 1 July, we’ll review your supplementary payments.

    In some cases, your Temporary Additional Support or Accommodation Supplement will go down, however, most people will see an overall increase in the amount they get each week.

    The exact amount you get will depend on your situation and costs. You'll be able to check your payments in MyMSD closer to 1 July.

    If you’re unintentionally worse-off because of the 1 July benefit increase, don’t worry, we’ll grant you a top-up payment for up to 12 months or until your circumstances change.

    If you qualify for this top-up, we’ll write to you about this.

  • Training Incentive Allowance for higher-level study

    From 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2025, the Training Incentive Allowance will be available for degree-level study and below for sole parents on a benefit as well as carers and disabled people on Supported Living Payment.

    The Training Incentive Allowance helps with upfront and ongoing costs of study, such as fees, books, transport and childcare costs.

    People can apply for Training Incentive Allowance that now covers degree-level study from 1 July 2021.

    Before 1 July 2021, Training Incentive Allowance is available for courses at levels 1 to 3 of the NZ Qualifications Framework.

    Training Incentive Allowance 1 July changes

  • Student support increases

    Student Allowance (after tax) per adult

    Current Rates

    Estimated 1 April 2022 rates*

    Under 24, no children, living in parental home

    $203.11

    $232

    Under 24, no children, not living in a parental home

    $240.65

    $270

    Independent Circumstances Allowance

    $240.65

    $270

    24 or older, no children, living in parental home

    $233.13

    $262

    24 or older, no children, not living in parental home

    $278.19

    $308

    Single student with children

    $402.32

    $434

    Student Loan Living Costs

    Up to $242.53

    $272

    *These rates include estimated increases from the Annual General Adjustment scheduled for 1 April 2022.

  • Orphan’s Benefit and Unsupported Child’s Benefit.

    From 1 April 2022, Orphan’s Benefit and Unsupported Child Benefit will increase by $34.84 per week for children aged 0-4 years and by $10 for children aged 5 years and over. This change will happen automatically.

  • Childcare Assistance

    The amount of Childcare Assistance you can get is based on your income.

    From 1 July 2021, some supplementary payments will no longer count as income when we’re assessing how much Childcare Assistance you can get. This means if your supplementary assistance increases it won’t reduce your Childcare Assistance. This includes:

    • Accommodation Supplement
    • Temporary Additional Support
    • Special Benefit
    • Disability Allowance
    • Special Disability Allowance
    • Youth Payment and Young Parent Payment incentive payments.

    From 1 April 2022, Childcare Assistance income thresholds will be adjusted annually in line with average wage growth. Income thresholds determine the amount of Childcare Assistance a family can get based on how much they earn. The change means low and middle-income families will continue to qualify for Childcare Assistance as incomes increase.

  • Work capacity medical certificates

    From 31 January 2022, there’ll be a new medical certificate process if you’re a Jobseeker client with a health condition, injury or a disability that affects your ability to work. It’ll be more flexible and based on your health practitioner’s advice.

    You’ll still need to give us medical certificates, but your health practitioner can recommend how often you need to do that. It’ll be based on how long your ability to work is likely to be affected, instead of being a mandatory period.

    Right now, people getting Jobseeker Support – Health and Disability don’t need to renew their medical certificates. This will continue to be deferred until the new process starts.