10 Jun 2014

Law change will help sole parents study

10:32 pm on 10 June 2014

The Government says it will introduce law changes to prevent sole parents who take up fulltime study from being financially disadvantaged.

It says it will invest up to $24 million over four years to implement changes aligning the student support system for sole parents with the benefit system.

At present, sole parents who study full-time get up to $165 a week less than other beneficiaries.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said on Tuesday the changes should encourage thousands more sole parents into fulltime study.

Ms Bennett said a sole parent with no qualifications spends an average of 17 years on a benefit, where as one with a tertiary qualification spends 10 years on average.

But a beneficiaries' organisation says moves to make it easier for sole parents to take up fulltime study won't make up for cuts made in 2008.

Kay Brereton from the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation says in 2008, the Government cut the Training Incentive Allowance, which hit sole parents hard.

She said the latest move is only a step half way to where people were six or seven years ago.