Types of benefits

Overview: What to apply for in your situation

This section explains what main benefits and other payments you may be able to get in your particular situation:

  • You’re looking for work or only able to work part-time – JobSeeker Support is the main benefit for people aged 18 or older who are looking for work or who can only work part-time because of an illness, injury or disability. This benefit covers not only people without children but also sole parents who have older children (youngest child aged 14 or older) and people who have a partner and children of any age. You may also be able to get additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • winter heating costs (see “Winter Energy Payment”)
  • ongoing costs if your teenage child has a disability (see “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance” and “Help with children’s ongoing disability costs (Child Disability Allowance)”).
  • You have younger children (under 14) – If you’re an adult (20 or older) and your children are under 14, the main benefit is Sole Parent Support (see “Adult parents with younger children (Sole Parent Support)”). Once your youngest child has turned three, you have to be looking for part-time work – “the part-time work test”. If you’re a teenage parent, you’ll need to apply for the Young Parent Payment instead (see “Teenage parents (Young Parent Payment)”). You may also be able to get additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • winter heating costs (see “Winter Energy Payment”)
  • childcare costs (see “Childcare costs”)
  • any disability costs your child has (see “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance” and “Help with children’s ongoing disability costs (Child Disability Allowance)”).
  • You’re caring for someone else’s child – If you’re caring for someone else’s children, you may qualify for either the Unsupported Child’s Benefit (if there’s been a family breakdown), or the Orphan’s Benefit if the parents are dead, can’t be found or have a long-term illness (see “You’re caring for someone else’s child”). You’ll also be paid a one-off Establishment Grant. You may be able to get these additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • childcare costs (see “Childcare costs”)
  • school-related costs for the child (see “School and Year Start-up Payment”)
  • special costs if, for example, the child is having difficulties (see “Extraordinary Care Fund”)
  • any disability costs for the child (see “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance” and “Help with children’s ongoing disability costs (Child Disability Allowance)”).

But if you’re single and the child you’re caring for is under 14, you may instead qualify for Sole Parent Support as your own benefit (see “Adult parents with younger children (Sole Parent Support)”).

  • You’re caring for someone full-time – You’ll qualify for the Supported Living Payment if you’re providing full-time care to someone who would otherwise need to be in a hospital or other care facility. This could be, for example, your adult child, another family member (not your partner), or a friend. You may also be able to get additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • winter heating costs (see “Winter Energy Payment”)
  • the person’s ongoing disability costs (see “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance”).
  • You’ve got a serious illness, injury or disability – You can get the Supported Living Payment if you’re 16 or older and your ability to work is permanently and severely restricted because of an illness, injury or disability (see “Main benefit for illness, injury or disability: Supported Living Payment”). You may also be able to get additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • winter heating costs (see “Winter Energy Payment”)
  • ongoing disability costs (see “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance”).
  • You’re at school or in training (16 and 17 year olds) – Youth Payment is a benefit specifically for 16 and 17 year olds who are still at school or doing full-time tertiary study or training (see “You’re at school or in training (16 and 17 year olds)”). You may also be able to get additional payments for:
  • your rent (see “Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent”)
  • winter heating costs (see “Winter Energy Payment”).

Will I be income-tested?

All the working-age main benefits are income-tested – that is, tested against how much you earn. The amount you’ll get will be reduced (“abated”) if you earn more than a certain amount (see “How earning money will affect your benefit (‘Abatement’)” under “Benefit rates: How much you’ll get, and how much you can earn”). The working-age main benefits aren’t asset-tested (that is, against how much savings or other property you have).

Some of the additional payments and allowances you might qualify for aren’t income-tested (for example, the Child Disability Allowance) – we explain this below.

New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) isn’t income-tested or asset-tested, except that if you have a partner aged under 65 there may be an income test.

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