Dpb Numbers Fall Further Very Long Term Unemployed Getting Into Jobs

  • Peter McCardle
Associate Minister of Social Services, Work and Income (Work and Income)

The number of people on the DPB continues to fall as a result of the new policy focusing on helping people get into training or work through case-loading, Associate Work and Income Minister Peter McCardle said today.

The latest figure, for June 4, shows a total of 109,697 on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. This is a fall of 4440 since January1 this year.

As of February, people on the DPB with a child over 6 have been required to be available for work, either part time or fulltime, according to the age of the children. They are also now case-managed by their WINZ case worker, a new approach that is proving highly effective.

The Domestic Purposes Benefit was designed to be short term help and it was never intended that people should be on it for decades, as happens in many cases. More than 11,000 recipients have been on it for over ten years, and more than 50 people have received it since 1973.

Mr McCardle said, "I am pleased at the steady downward trend, which has occurred at the same time job growth is occurring in the economy. I am optimistic this trend will continue. The longer people are out of the workforce, the harder it is to return, because they don't acquire job skills or work experience needed in the job market. We are determined to help them over that hurdle."

The creation of WINZ is also succeeding in getting jobs for some of the people who are hardest to place - the very long term unemployed. Placing them in work is one of WINZ's key employment targets.

The number of people without work for over 4 years has fallen from around 14,800 at the end of 1996 to under 10,000. This is a drop of over 4,500, or one third, since the beginning of the new strategy.

"Case-loading by WINZ is clearly contributing to the previously-unseen result of dropping numbers of people on Sickness Benefit and the DPB, and among the very long term unemployed.

"In the big picture, WINZ is helping to deliver results we haven't seen before. People are getting off benefits, in contrast to earlier trends which showed a long history of benefit numbers stubbornly rising year after year", Mr McCardle concluded.