Financial support for individuals and whānau

Because of COVID-19, financial pressure will be a reality for many. Help is available if you’re experiencing financial distress.

COVID-19 financial support tool

You can use the COVID-19 financial support tool to find out what financial help may be available to you.

The tool will take you, step by step, through a series of questions to understand your personal circumstances:

  • your work status, for example job loss due to COVID-19
  • your situation, for example your business is unable to operate
  • whether your workplace has reduced business and revenue.

The tool will then tell you what financial help and support you can access, and where you can apply or find more information.

Use the COVID-19 financial support tool

Help with money

Essential costs

If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.

Work and Income can help with urgent costs like:

  • food
  • accommodation costs, for example rent or mortgage, board, emergency housing, moving house
  • repairs or replacing appliances
  • emergency dental treatment
  • emergency medical treatment
  • water tank refill.

Financial support, eligibility criteria and how to apply at the Work at Income website (external link)

You can also call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.

Guidance for those under financial stress

If you're worried about your ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 you should contact your bank or finance company as soon as you can.

Banks and other lenders will work with customers who are struggling financially. Borrowers have a legal right to ask for changes to their repayments. There are a range of options available to help you through this time. 

Budgeting and financial guidance

The government-funded services Sorted and MoneyTalks can help with budgeting or other financial guidance.

Sorted can help with tips, guides and tools support online or you can email office@sorted.org.nz

Read more information on the Sorted website (external link)

You can also talk to financial mentors at MoneyTalks. Call 0800 345 123, text 4029 or email help@moneytalks.co.nz

Read more on the MoneyTalks website (external link)

Power bills 

If you're worried about the costs of your power bills, talk to your retailer about other options such as moving to a more affordable plan.

If you're vulnerable, in financial hardship or medically dependent, you should tell your retailer.

Electricity Authority advice to save on power bills (external link)

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If you have been told by a health official to self-isolate and you cannot work from home, your employer can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.

The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating.

The COVID-19 Leave Support is paid as a lump sum, calculated to cover 2 weeks. Your employer can re-apply for you if you still qualify after 2 weeks.

If you work in health, disability or aged-care facilities or services and you have COVID-19 symptoms, your employer can tell you to self-isolate while you wait to get a test or you are waiting for your test results. You will still be eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.

More about the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, who is eligible and how employers can apply (external link)

Who decides if you need to self-isolate

You must have been told to self-isolate by a health official such as:

  • a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate, for example a DHB Public Health Unit
  • a medical practitioner, for example a doctor or GP
  • a health official through the Ministry of Health’s National Contact Tracing process
  • your employer — if you are a healthcare, disability or aged-care worker — following best practice guidance from the Ministry of Health.

Wage subsidy schemes

Wage subsidies were available to support workers who were financially impacted by COVID-19. Three schemes were available:

  • Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • Wage Subsidy Extension
  • Resurgence Wage Subsidy

Your employer can no longer apply for any of the wage subsidies.

Information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme (external link)

Information on the Wage Subsidy Extension (external link)

Information on the Resurgence Wage Subsidy (external link)

Redundancy support

As the impact of COVID-19 increases, experiencing job loss could be a reality for many. If you’ve lost your job or you run a business and are faced with laying off your employees, there may be support options available to you. Work and Income offer a range of information and support to employees who are made redundant.

Find out more on the Work and Income website (external link)

Work and Income has also information for employers who are considering redundancies.

Read details on the Work and Income website (external link)

COVID-19 Income Relief Payment

You could apply for the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment before 14 November 2020. It was to help you if you lost your job from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19.

More information about the Income Relief Payment (external link)

Protection for renters and tenants

If you're renting and are struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible for support to help you stay in your rental property.

Get help with housing costs from Work and Income (external link)

There was a freeze on rent increases which meant landlords could not increase rent for their rental properties. The freeze on rent increases ended on 25 September 2020.

Information for landlords and tenants at the Tenancy Services website (external link)

Mortgage repayment deferral scheme

New Zealand’s retail banks are able to defer repayments for some mortgages until 31 March 2021. This applies to:

  • residential mortgages
  • agriculture loans, and
  • SME loans.

You have to be financially affected by COVID-19. These loans will not be viewed as being defaulted.

If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you may be able to defer principal and interest payments on your loan. Banks and customers have flexibility over the term of any deferral. However, the Reserve Bank’s  concessionary loan guidance will expire on 31 March 2021.

This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.

Key details of this scheme

Interest on these loans will still increase, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan.

Banks will assess each customer that asks for a deferral. The Reserve Bank’s guidance is that lenders should only approve a deferral if: 

  • there’s a need for it
  • there’s a benefit to the borrower, and
  • the lender thinks there’s a reasonable chance of that customer resuming payments when the deferral period ends.

Banks will have different approaches to how they manage the process for customers to opt into a mortgage deferral. Those details, including eligibility criteria, will be available on bank websites.

Customers should contact their bank for further details or queries about the scheme.

NZ citizens and residents living in Australia

Access to Australian superannuation

All New Zealand citizens and permanent residents living in Australia, who meet the Australian Government’s eligibility criteria, will now be able to access up to AUD$20,000 of their Australian superannuation. 

How to apply for payment from your Australian superannuation (external link)

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