Government's 3 percent main benefit increase: How will it affect you?

Main benefit recipients will receive a 3 percent rise on April 1 as the Government's decision to link rates to the average wage comes into effect.

The Government has decided to adjust the rate from a 1.66 percent increase to over 3.09 percent for this year.

The change, announced in the last Budget, will come into effect at the same time the New Zealand minimum wage is set to rise.

People on the Emergency Benefit, Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living Payment, Youth/Young Parent Payment and Grandparented rates of Domestic Purpose Benefit for solo parents and Widow's Benefit will see their income change.

What does this mean if you're on a benefit?

Using current calculations:

  • A sole parent could get an extra $10.48 a week
  • A single disabled person $8.44 extra a week
  • A Jobseeker beneficiary aged 25 or over $6.78 extra a week
  • A 20-24-year-old Jobseeker beneficiary would get an extra $5.63 a week

Currently, there are 310,000 families on these main benefits.

Sepuloni said this change will help to reduce poverty.

"Adjusting rates to increases in the average wage ensures we share the benefits of a strengthening economy, and means those on benefits don't fall further behind," she said in a statement.

"So as of 1 April, these changes mean a sole parent will be able to earn $115 of other income per week before their benefit begins to reduce, instead of $100."

She said this increase in weekly income will not discourage those on the benefit from seeking out work.

"This is also the first of four years that income abatement thresholds will be increased in line with movement in the minimum wage, removing a disincentive to work.

"Simply put, if we are expecting people to become independent and find sustainable employment, discouraging them from taking additional work on offer simply doesn't make sense. We've fixed that."