Minister surprised at low demand for top-up benefit

7:45 am on 28 April 2011

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says requests for earthquake top-up to benefits have not been as high as expected.

The Earthquake Support Subsidy for employers and the Job Loss Cover for workers ended on 18 April.

It has been replaced with a top-up to the unemployment benefit for people who lost their job due to the quake on 22 February.

The top-up adds $50 a week to an individual's benefit, or $80 per week for a couple or sole parents.

Ms Bennett says it is early days, but the number of applications is not as high as she thought it would be.

There have been about 800 applications for the top-up. Of these, about 650 have been accepted, she says.