28 Nov 2021

Almost 6000 switch benefits after welfare policy change

7:24 am on 28 November 2021

Just under 6000 people switched benefits, when the removal of the so-called subsequent child policy came into effect earlier this month.

Nursery babies playing blocks toy with teacher in kindergarten

Under the policy change, parents who have another child while on the benefit won't have to return to work until their youngest child turns three (file picture). Photo: 123RF

The change means parents who have another child while on the benefit will no longer be forced to return to work when that child turns one.

Instead, work obligations will kick in when their youngest child turns three.

It is the second benefit sanction to be scrapped by the government in the four years it has been in power.

Ministry of Social Development figures show about 5700 people moved off jobseeker support and on to sole parent support as a result of the change.

It was estimated 11,400 beneficiaries would be affected by the removal of the sanction.

But some of them will not have needed to change benefits.

The first benefit sanction to be removed by the government was the one that docked the payments of parent beneficiaries who did not name the other parent of their child.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni previously said a review of other sanctions and obligations was underway and further changes were possible this term.

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