Teen beneficiaries will be offered the financial incentive of an extra NZ$10 per week for completing six months of education or training, or for completing a budgeting course, under new welfare rules proposed by the government.
Teen parents will also have their benefits increased NZ$10 a week for completing a parenting course, Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett announced today.
Bennett and Prime Minister John Key today fleshed out further details of the National Party's election promise to reform New Zealand's welfare system by putting tougher requirements on beneficiaries to seek work, and placing tighter controls on teen beneficiaries.
The reforms will mean the current Independent Youth Benefit and Emergency Maintenence Allowance for 16 and 17 year-olds will be renamed the 'Youth Payment', while the Domestic Purposes Benefit for 16 to 18 year-old parents, and the Emergency Maintenance Allowance for them, will be renamed the 'Young Parent Benefit'.
A total 1,700 teens are expected to be on the Youth Payment, while a further 1,065 would be on the Young Parent Payment, Ministry of Social Development figures show.
Changes will see private providers managing benefit payments to people in these two groups, with essential costs like rent and power paid directly by these providers from a person's benefit. Money for living costs would be loaded on to a special payment card, and a small amount would given as an in-hand allowance, Bennett said.
Young people needing financial support would be expected to be in education or training, Bennett said.
"Young people can earn incentives of NZ$10 a week for completing six months of education or training or by completing a budgeting course. Young parents can earn a further NZ$10 a week for completing a parenting course," Bennett said.