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)

Wage subsidy schemes

The Wage Subsidy Scheme will be in place if there is an escalation to Alert Level 3 or 4 anywhere in New Zealand for 7 days or more. Wage subsidies support employers and self-employed people to keep paying employees and protect jobs affected by Alert Level changes.

Closed wage subsidy schemes

Information on the Wage Subsidy March 2021 (external link)

Information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme (external link)

Information on the Wage Subsidy Extension (external link)

Information on the Resurgence Wage Subsidy (external link)

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

If you’re staying at home because you’re waiting on a COVID-19 test result and you cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment. This payment is also available to self-employed people.

The payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:

A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. Your employer can apply for it once for you in any 30-day period. However, they can apply for it again if a health official or doctor tells you to get another test.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment, and how to apply (external link)

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for businesses to help pay employees who need to self-isolate for other reasons, and cannot work from home.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If you need to self-isolate and you cannot work from home, your employer (or you if you are self-employed) 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. This includes employees on casual contracts.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Employers, including self-employed people, and employees need to meet certain criteria to apply for the Leave Support Scheme.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, and how to apply (external link)

If you need to miss work to stay home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result and cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment.

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)

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

The mortgage repayment deferral scheme meant New Zealand’s retail banks were able to defer repayments for some mortgages. This scheme ended on 31 March 2021.

If you need advice about your mortgage repayments, talk to your bank about your options.

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)

Fact sheet: Support for Close and Casual Contacts

Support is available for anyone who is a Close and Casual contact of a COVID-19 case.

Work and Income provides a range of financial support to help workers affected by COVID-19 as Alert Levels change.

Find out how Work and Income may be able to help you, even if you’re working.

Download a PDF for information about support for Close and Casual Contacts of a COVID-19 case [PDF, 441 KB]

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