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Low income workers get boost to pay for food and emergencies in lockdown

People on low incomes are to get access to extra funds to pay for food and emergencies while Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions continue.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. Source: 1 NEWS

Hardship support payments are being lifted for four months from November 1.

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said: “We know the extended Covid-19 restrictions are having an impact on low income households who tend to have less certainty of work.”

The payments from Work and Income, currently only available to a single person working less than 30 hours per week on the minimum wage, are being extended up to 40 hours at the minimum wage, or $800 per week.

For a couple with or without children it rises to $1600 per week. 

“Expanding the income limits for Hardship Support will mean more low income individuals and families will be able to get support,” Sepuloni said.

She said the ministry will run a comprehensive communications campaign so people know of the entitlements.

The cost of the move is $9.6 million with up to 25,000 more grants expected for needs such as food, clothing and electricity.

“We are continuing to monitor need in the community and will respond quickly where it arises,” Carmel Sepuloni said. 

The Government has also allocated $38 million to support community organisations during the Delta outbreak.