I establish and approve the following welfare programme for special assistance under and for the purpose of section 124(1)(d) of the Social Security Act 1964.
Dated at Wellington this 8th day of December 2009.
HON PAULA BENNETT, Minister for Social Development and Employment.
P r o g r a m m e
1. Title This programme is the Recoverable Assistance for Study Costs Programme.
2. Commencement This programme comes into effect on 1 February 2010.
3. Purpose The purposes of this programme are to:
(a) assist beneficiaries receiving certain benefits to obtain and retain employment by providing recoverable financial assistance towards their study costs for certain courses of employment-related training; and
(b) ensure that the financial assistance set out in paragraph (a) is provided within the limits and
for the reasons prescribed; and
(c) facilitate the recovery of that financial assistance.
4. Interpretation (1) In this programme, unless the context otherwise requires:
Act means the Social Security Act 1964.
applicant means a person who has applied, or on whose behalf an application has been made, for recoverable assistance under this programme.
approved employment-related training course means a course provided by a tertiary institution (as that
term is defined in the Education Act 1989) that is for
the time being approved by the chief executive as employment-related training:
(a) for which the course provider receives funding under section 159ZC of the Education Act 1989; or
(b) for which the course provider receives other Government funding that the chief executive considers is analogous to funding under section 159ZC of the Education Act 1989; or
(c) which is of a kind that the chief executive considers is analogous to a course that is funded under section 159ZC of the Education Act 1989.
course means an approved employment-related training course at Level 4 or above on the national qualification framework.
course costs, in relation to a course, means the following necessary and reasonable costs of attending the course:
(b) materials; and
national qualification framework means the framework for national qualifications developed by the NZQA under section 253(1)(c) of the Education Act 1989.
NZQA means the New Zealand Qualifications Authority established under Part 20 of the Education Act 1989.
study costs, in relation to a course, means the necessary and reasonable costs of attending the course, including:
(a) course costs; and
(b) cost of transport to and from the course; and
(c) childcare costs, after deducting any amount for childcare assistance paid under section 61GA of the Act or under any welfare programme approved under section 124(1)(d) of the Act; and
(d) babysitting or other child minding costs; and
(e) any other cost that the chief executive determines to be a necessary cost of attending the course other than tuition or enrolment fees.
teacher means a person who is registered as a teacher by the Teachers Council under the Education Act 1989.
veterinarian has the same meaning as in the Veterinarians Act 2005.
(2) Other terms defined in section 3(1) of the Act have the same meanings in this programme.
5. Application of the Social Security Act 1964 (1) Sections 12, 62, 68A, 71, 74, 74A, 76, 77, 80A, 81, 82(3), (4) and (7), and 84 of the Act apply in relation to this programme and to the persons referred to in subclause (2) as if the special assistance authorised by this programme were a benefit.
(2) The persons are:
(a) any applicant for assistance under this programme:
(b) any person granted assistance under this programme: or
(c) the spouse or partner of any person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).
(3) Nothing in subclause (1) limits or affects the application of any other provision of the Act.
6. Eligibility (1) For the purpose of assisting an applicant to find and retain paid employment, the chief executive may, in his or her discretion, from time to time grant recoverable assistance under this programme to, and towards the study costs of, any applicant who:
(a) is in receipt, in his or her own right, of:
(i) a domestic purposes benefit, an invalid’s benefit, or a widow’s benefit; or
(ii) the emergency benefit known as the emergency maintenance allowance; and
(b) is enrolled (or is enrolled subject to the payment
of tuition fees) in a course that, in the chief executive’s opinion, will lead to a qualification
that is necessary to be an early childhood teacher,
a primary or secondary school teacher, a nurse, a midwife, a medical practitioner or veterinarian.
(2) Subclause (1) is subject to subclause (5) and clauses
7 and 8.
(3) In deciding whether to grant recoverable assistance under subclause (1) and without limiting the matters the chief executive may consider, the chief executive:
(a) must principally have regard to the matters set out in subclause (4); and
(b) if the chief executive has arranged for the applicant to undertake careers counselling, may have regard to any report of the counsellor on the outcome of that counselling.
(4) The matters referred to in subclause (3)(a) are:
(a) the period during which the applicant has been out of the workforce; and
(b) whether the applicant already has the skills, qualifications, or recent work experience sufficient to obtain employment; and
(c) whether the course is an appropriate one for
the applicant to undertake having regard to the applicant’s personal circumstances.
(5) The chief executive may refuse to grant recoverable assistance under subclause (1) if he or she is satisfied
that the applicant, having previously been granted financial assistance to attend a course under this programme, the Training Incentive Allowance Programme, or the Course Participation Assistance Programme, has:
(a) failed or refused to answer any question put to him or her by an officer of the department as to whether the applicant completed that course and the result or results the applicant achieved in that course; or
(b) failed to complete that course without, in the opinion of the chief executive, a good and sufficient reason.
7. Ineligibility (1) Recoverable assistance under this programme must not be granted to any applicant to whom section 60Q of the Act applies unless:
(a) completion of the course referred to in the application is included as a goal, and participation in the course as an activity, in the applicant’s personal development and employment plan or individual plan; and
(b) it is specified in that plan that the department would provide assistance under this programme to enable the applicant to undertake the course.
(2) Recoverable assistance must not be granted:
(a) to a person who is entitled to, or is receiving assistance under Training Incentive Allowance Programme; or
(b) to a person whose course is one for, or towards,
a postgraduate diploma, postgraduate certificate, bachelor with honours degree, masters degree, or doctorate degree; or
(c) to a person who has not exhausted his or her entitlement to receive a loan for course-related costs under the Student Loan Scheme.
8. Application process (1) An application for recoverable assistance under this programme must be on a form approved for the purpose by the chief executive.
(2) No application may be granted unless the applicant supplies any supporting evidence the chief executive reasonably requires to decide if the application should
be granted, including:
(a) written confirmation from the course provider of
the applicant’s enrolment (or enrolment subject to payment of fees); and
(b) evidence of the nature and duration of the course; and
(c) evidence of the applicant’s study costs.
9. Amount of assistance (1) The amount of any grant of recoverable assistance under clause 6(1) must not exceed $500.00 and the total of the grants made under that clause in the period commencing on 1 February 2010 and ending with 31 January 2011 must not exceed $500.00.
(2) In determining the amount of any grant, the chief executive must have regard to the amount of the applicant’s study costs, the manner in which they are required to be paid, and the time or times that they are required to be paid.
10. When assistance starts (1) No grant under clause 6(1) may be made earlier, or for any period earlier, than:
(a) the date on which the course begins, if the application is received within 28 days of that date; or
(b) the date the application for it is received, if received more than 28 days after the course begins; or
(c) the date the applicant’s benefit referred to in clause 6(1)(a) commences.
(2) No grant may be made before 1 February 2010.
11. When assistance ends No grant under clause 6(1) may be made after the earlier of the following dates:
(a) the date the course ends;
(b) the date the applicant ceases to be entitled to
receive the benefit referred to in clause 6(1)(a) or another benefit referred to in that paragraph;
(c) 31 January 2011.
12. Rules as to recovery (1) The amount of any recoverable assistance granted and paid to an applicant under clause 6(1) is a debt due to the Crown within the meaning of section 85A of the Act (in these rules, the debt) and may be recovered from the applicant (in these rules, the debtor) by the chief executive in accordance with section 86 of the Act.
(2) The chief executive must not take any steps to recover the debt before the earlier of:
(a) the date on which the debtor ceases study in the course for which the recoverable assistance was granted; and
(b) the date on which the debtor ceases to be entitled to receive the benefit referred to in clause 6(1)(a) or another benefit referred to in that paragraph.
(3) After granting recoverable assistance under this programme, the chief executive must negotiate a repayment plan with the debtor that requires repayment of the debt
at a rate not less than $4.00 a week. In exceptional circumstances, the chief executive may agree to a repayment rate of less than $4.00 a week.
(4) The chief executive may, from time to time, review the rate of repayment of the debt and may increase, decrease, or make no alteration to the rate.
(5) If the debtor does not agree to a repayment plan or make repayments of the debt in accordance with a repayment plan, the chief executive may exercise any powers to recover the debt in accordance with section 86 of the Act.
This note is not part of the programme, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
This programme, which comes into effect on 1 February 2010, provides short-term recoverable assistance of a maximum amount of $500.00 in the period ending with 31 January 2011 towards the study costs of certain beneficiaries who are studying towards certain employment-related training courses at Level 4 or above on the National Qualifications Framework.