Tens of thousands of people are forgoing decent amounts of money by being on Jobseeker Support when they could get the Covid-19 Income Relief Payment

Tens of thousands of people are forgoing decent amounts of money by being on Jobseeker Support when they could get the Covid-19 Income Relief Payment
Image sourced from pxhere.

Tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 are likely to be missing out on a higher level of support offered via the Covid-19 Income Relief Payment (CIRP), than the regular benefit.

The Ministry of Social Development on June 23 identified about 33,000 current or recent main benefit recipients who could be eligible for the CIRP.

There were only 16,524 people receiving the CIRP as at July 10 - of which 2,717 had transferred from Jobseeker Support.

Those who lose full-time work due to Covid-19 can get a CIRP worth $480 a week for a maximum of 12 weeks. Those who lose part-time work (15-29 hours a week) can get $250.

A single person without children would be much better off receiving the CIRP than they would be on Jobseeker Support, which pays $250.74 a week after tax.

The other upsides of the CIRP over Jobseeker Support are that it’s tax-free and easier to qualify for if one has a relatively high-income earning partner.

As at July 10 there were 192,063 people on Jobseeker Support - 47,047 more than as at March 20.

People have been able to apply for the CIRP from June 8, and have had the ability to switch over from Jobseeker Support provided they lost their job due to Covid-19 after March 1.

Asked by interest.co.nz why only 16,524 were receiving the CIRP, and whether the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) proactively got in touch with people to tell them they might be eligible, the Ministry’s deputy chief executive of service delivery, Viv Rickard, said: “We have proactively engaged with clients, who based on the data we hold on them look like they could be eligible for the CIRP.

“We encourage anyone who has lost their job as a result of covid-19 to contact MSD to see what options are available. There is information on the MSD website to check if you’re better off on CIRP or a benefit.”

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said MSD has sent out “mass emails” and has been pushing the CIRP through its website.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged 16,524 was a low number and had asked MSD to look into it. Treasury in May forecast around 230,000 people could end up receiving the payment.

Anyone who loses their job before October 30 is eligible to apply.

The extended wage subsidy will start running out from mid-August.

CIRP recipients have to look for work, accept suitable jobs offers or accept opportunities for redeployment or training.

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13 Comments

MSD....working its hardest to give away your tax dollars.
I’ll make a prediction. After the election the new labour govt will pay all benefits at the new higher Covid rate.
I bet only a tiny % of politicians have any idea of QE works and who pays for it.
Great question to ask a Polly at the next town hall meeting.

paying for votes are far more important and also a lot easier for the party to do than actually thinking how the economy could run without foreign earnings from tourism and education.

Instead of commoditising education and exchanging fee dollars for work/residence visas with willing buyers who usually have nothing else to offer in the long run, how about we could focus on bringing hi-value students and expand our capabilities in the field of tech, medicine, data and engineering.

now you are talking about the problem of which comes -- chicken or egg.

i remember NZ has a Nobel price winner on chemistry.

you should ask what NZ has or has not done which made itself a tech-less and an industry-less country.

Actually, xing, NZ has 3 x nobel prizes for chemistry: Earnest Rutherford.......split the atom.
Maurice Wilkinson........co-discoverer of DNA
Alan McDiarmid............discovered materials essential to the creation of modern
technology.
On a population basis this achievement puts NZ has at the very top of the scientific pole. With the exception of Israel which I think has surpassed us in recent times. What amazes me is that over the past few decades we have been treated each year to a parade of Chinese highschool duxes in the Herald who have achieved very high marks in the so-called hard science subjects; however, these plastic fantastics have never gone on to achieve anything outstanding. I suspect they are all the over-achieving children of 'tiger mothers' and have eventually settled into the more remunerative careers of dentistry or medical practice, after realizing they haven't got what it takes to make the scientific bigtime.
I suspect NZs average IQ has actually been watered down as the result of the last 40 years immigration.

NZ rates rather low in terms of Nobel prize winners. For example, compared to our 3, Sweden has 32, of which 17 are from scientific disciplines. With about double our population that gives them a per capita rate of scientific Nobels almost 3 times our rate. Israel does indeed rate higher than NZ but so do a whole host of European countries as well as the US.
Then a closer look at the three NZ winners shows that all three did their prize-winning work outside NZ, Wilkins leaving our shores when he was six so we can barely lay claim to educating him.

Funny enough, I recently found out that actuaries on ACC's payroll also provide analytical services to MSD such as valuation of its benefit system. Good to know there is some mathematics behind the system and not all politicking.

After the election the new labour govt will pay all benefits at the new higher Covid rate.

Absolutely not. I assume you are suggesting this would be a permanent change?

The Green's policy to increase benefits to $325/week costs billions and requires a wealth tax to achieve. Labour paying $490 per week is just not possible for any length of time without a huge increase in tax, which they would campaign on ahead of the election so it would not be some sort of 'post election surprise' like you're suggesting.

No one is working harder at wealth redistribution than the Reserve Bank, in fairness.

rastus
Re: "MSD....working its hardest to give away your tax dollars."
If one is entitled to the payment then they should receive it.
Sadly, I know of too many past instances of employers who seemingly have an attitude that if you can rip an employee off by not giving an entitlement they are due then that is fair game.
Take care that your comment doesn't support this view.
I know of an instance where a company has made a couple of workers redundant and has seemingly claimed the wage subsidy. I will be urging them to followed this up but there is considerable power imbalance between an employer and a worker on an individual contract.

To be fair someone receiving WINZ Basic would currently also be receiving the doubled Winter Energy Subsidy and potentially an Accommodation Subsidy .. so they could be nearing $480 per week.

To also be fair, someone receiving WINZ Premium can have a high earning partner and still quality for social assistance (unlike WINZ Basic) .. also I believe WINZ Premium allows the recipient to work a generous number of hours on top.

The above is my understanding. I believe the Australian version of WINZ Premium pays $800 per week (or $1600 per fortnight)? Now that is REAL Moral Hazard happening while us Kiwis quibble about a few NZ dollars.

We have become a nation (in a world) of whinging & whining welfarees. We deserve everything that's about to happen to us.

so will either be a bigger red flag in the future when applying for a loan, rather than just getting by in the meantime. What do you think about that? Probably more bad news for borrowers and future FHB's? Maybe some people are keeping distance between themselves and trouble...but no job usually = no loan