Extra funding promised for budgeting agencies to cope with families seeking food grants has turned out to average less than $4000 for each agency.

Social Development Ministry official Richard Wood said yesterday that 27 budget services who met Social Development Minister Paula Bennett at Mangere on April 8 had been given an extra $103,000 - an average of $3815 each.

Labour MP Annette King said the Auckland Central Budgeting Service got only $2000, while the largest agencies such as those at Mangere, Glen Innes and the North Shore got $5000 each.

Federation of Family Budgeting Services chief executive Raewyn Fox said the 157 agencies in her group were not at the Mangere meeting and most of them had been given nothing.

Ms Bennett told the 27 mainly Auckland-based agencies at the meeting that she accepted the need for more funding because of new rules requiring families to undertake "budgeting activities" before they could get more than two hardship grants a year from Work and Income.

Hardship grants and benefit advances have soared from 51,000 in March 2008, before the recession hit, to 90,554 in March this year, mainly for food.

"Without a doubt there's a real increase in need, and because of the changes from Work and Income which I introduced last year, that's had an effect on [budgeting] services," Ms Bennett said at the April meeting. "We must look at that and fix it."

But Mrs King said the increase of just $103,000 was an insult.

"Those I have spoken to believe it demeans and undervalues the work they do," she said.

North Shore service manager Brian Pethybridge, vice-president of the group Associated Budget Consultants that organised the Mangere meeting, said the agencies had signed confidentiality clauses barring them from disclosing how much they received. He said the money would help those who received it but he was worried for those who missed out.

"What about the other organisations not subject to contracts like church groups who have been inundated by people and done work with volunteers?" he asked.

Mr Wood said some agencies would get money in the final round of the Community Response Fund, set up to help services cope with recession-related needs. He said 57 of the 155 budget services already funded by the ministry, and 17 unfunded services, had applied in the final round.