Thousands off the dole, Govt to save $9.5m

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 17:08 08/08/2011

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Up to 7400 people are no longer receiving the unemployment benefit as a result of changes in government policy.

The changes, implemented last September, required those on the unemployment benefit to reapply after 12 months.

As a result 7400 no longer get the benefit, but about 57,000 people still receive the dole.

Half of the people who were now off it did not reapply. Of the other half, 2000 were already in work, 1400 had left the county, were in study or failed the work test.

Prime Minister John Key said it could be assumed those people were in work.

If not they would have reapplied and got the dole, he said.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the changes have already saved the Government $6 million and will save another $3.5 million by October.

A further 1600 people on the dependent person benefit had gone into part-time work.

The changes required those whose youngest child was six to look for part-time work.

Key said the changes were a precursor to the work of the Welfare Working Group.

It was fraud to lie to get a benefit but Key said he did not know if anyone had been prosecuted.

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