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Applying and qualifying for benefits

How to apply for a benefit

How do I apply for a benefit or other income support?

Social Security Act 2018, s 297; Social Security Regulations 2018, reg 166

You can begin the application process by phoning Work and Income’s 0800 559 009 number and telling them that you need income support.

To complete the application process, you’ll need a face-to-face appointment with a Work and Income case manager. You’ll need to provide the appropriate documents and information for the type of assistance you’re asking for.

What information will I need to provide?

You will need to provide:

  • a main form of ID (a birth certificate or passport) for yourself and for your children and other dependants
  • your Inland Revenue (IRD) number
  • your bank account details
  • details of your income for the last year
  • proof of your rent or other housing costs – such as your tenancy agreement if you’re renting, or your mortgage costs, rates, house insurance and so on if you’re a home-owner.

If you don’t have a birth certificate, Work and Income can pay for the cost of you getting one, in the form of a non-recoverable Special Needs Grant.

If you’re applying for:

  • the Supported Living Payment, you’ll need to have a Work Capacity (Medical) certificate from a doctor
  • the Disability Allowance, you’ll need a doctor to confirm that you meet the criteria
  • hardship assistance, you’ll need to provide evidence of the need for it. You’ll also need to provide identification, but this doesn’t have to be a passport or birth certificate.

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Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and, depending on your situation, may be able to provide ongoing support.

Work and Income


Phone: 0800 559 009

This website contains information about who qualifies for the different benefits and payments and how to apply for them.

Benefit rates

For information about the benefit rates that apply from 1 April 2021, visit:


Beneficiary advocacy groups

There’s likely to be an advocacy group for beneficiaries in your area. Look for them online. If you’re not able to find one, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (see below).

Auckland Action Against Poverty


Phone: (09) 634 0591

AAAP provides a free advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income. They have also published a 30-page “Beneficiary Rights Booklet”, which you can download from their ‘Resources’ page.

Address: 120 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

Every Citizens Advice Bureau has volunteers who can provide information, particularly on where to access beneficiary advocacy services.

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