Benefit changes muddy jobless statistics

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013

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Welfare reform changes have made it difficult to track unemployment in the region.

In July three new benefits replaced most of the main previous benefits, meaning no comparative data is available yet.

The jobseeker support benefit replaces the unemployment benefit and sickness benefit and the domestic purposes benefit for parents with children under 14. In South Canterbury 1203 were receiving this benefit at the end of September. The next lot of data will be available in mid January.

Jobseeker support is for people who can usually look or prepare for work. It also includes people who can work only part-time or can't look for work at the moment, for example because they have a health condition, injury or disability.

The sole parent support benefit replaces the domestic purposes benefit and is for sole parents with dependent children under 14 who can look or prepare for part-time work. At the end of September, 696 people were receiving that benefit.

The supported living payment replaces the invalids and sickness benefit and is for people who have, or care for someone with, a health condition, injury or disability that severely limits their ability to work long-term.

In South Canterbury 1282 were receiving that benefit at the end of September.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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