Government Acts To Help Hard-up StudentsAssociate Minister of Social Services, Work and Income (Work and Income)
Associate Work and Income Minister Peter McCardle today said he has required that Work and Income New Zealand ensure hard-up students have access to emergency grants to alleviate hardship while awaiting their student allowance payments.
Mr McCardle said: "Around 70 per cent of students' applications have been fully processed, but for a variety of reasons others have not, and some people are now having difficulties.
"WINZ staff do have discretion to provide special needs grants or other assistance, provided certain criteria are met. This assistance is to help people in serious hardship, and by law the criteria governing these grants are strict, but there is room to help students.
"Similar grants were available in the past from tertiary institutions, who also used to handle student allowance applications until this year. There were problems with delayed payments then too, although WINZ has cut the time it takes to handle most of these compared to earlier years.
"77 per cent of the applications processed to date have been finalised, which is faster than the processing done by tertiary institutions.
"I urge applying students who are facing hardship to contact their nearest WINZ office to see if they are eligible for further help," Mr McCardle concluded.