Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Benefit statistics - what the numbers mean

Yesterday the Minister of Social Development pre-empted the release of the March quarter benefit numbers. The good news is total welfare benefits dropped by 20,662.

However, when the economy is not in recession that is a normal development.

Analysis of a similar drop between December 2006 and March 2007 shows that the drops on UB (10,000) and DPB (3,000) were larger than the Minister is indicating for the most recent quarter, respectively 6,000 and 1,000.

So a fair chunk of the drop is off benefits other than the 4 main benefits.

In December 2009 there were 12,096 unemployed students receiving the Unemployment Benfit - Student - Hardship. This compares to 7,997 in December 2006. So in December 2009 50 percent more students were on the dole and many of those will now have transferred onto a student allowance.

So we are beginning to see where most of the drop is and it isn't so much about leaving welfare but transferring onto another form of it.

If there had been any significant reduction in either the sickness or invalid's benefit I am sure we would have been hearing about it.

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