Getting ongoing extra help
Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent
Can I get the Accommodation Supplement?
If you’re on one of the main Work and Income benefits, or if you meet the income threshold, you can also get the Accommodation Supplement.
If you’re eligible for a main benefit, the Accommodation Supplement is not income-tested, but it is asset-tested.
Non-beneficiaries face both the asset test and the income test where over a certain threshold of income or asset, your Accomodation Supplement will begin to reduce.
The cash asset limit is currently $8,100 for a single person or $16,200 for a couple.
What does the Accommodation Supplement cover?
The Accommodation Supplement can be paid for rent or board and in some situations, for mortgages and other essential costs paid by home-owners. Your accommodation could be a house, flat, boat, caravan or other type of dwelling.
The Accommodation Supplement is not available for social housing tenants.
How much do I get from the Accommodation Supplement?
How much you can get depends on which part of New Zealand you live in and on the size of your household.
- If you’re renting, the Accommodation Supplement can cover the amount you pay for rent. It doesn’t include any other costs, like electricity, internet or gas. You can’t get the Accommodation Supplement to pay overdue rent (“rent arrears”).
- If you’re paying board, the Accommodation Supplement can cover 62% of your board – you can calculate this by multiplying the amount of your board by 0.62.
- If you’re a home-owner, the Accommodation Supplement can cover the weekly average of your accommodation costs over the last 12 months. These include your mortgage, house insurance, repairs and maintenance and rates (though you are expected to apply for a rates rebate if one is available from your local council).
Other help with your rent
If you’re renting or moving out of social housing, you might also be able to get more help with your rent (“housing support products”). Each product has different rules for who can receive it, and you may or may not have to pay Work and Income back.
These housing support products include:
- Bond grant and Rent in Advance – When you start a new tenancy, you can apply for a grant to cover your bond (up to four weeks’ rent, up to a maximum of $2,000) and up to two weeks’ rent in advance (up to a maximum of $1000) if you need. If you’re granted this money, you don’t have pay it back.
- Rent Arrears Grant – If you’re behind on paying rent and at risk of losing your tenancy, Work and Income can grant you lump sum of up to four weeks’ rent to cover your overdue rental payments. Generally, Work and Income will pay this directly to your landlord or property manager. You’ll have to pay Work and Income back.
- Moving assistance – In some cases, Work and Income will pay up to $1,500 towards moving costs like truck hire, petrol or hiring a removal company. You’ll have to pay the money back.
- Tenancy costs cover letter – When you start a new tenancy, Work and Income can (in some cases) write a letter to your landlord agreeing to cover any costs that you may owe your landlord at the end of the tenancy (such as rent arrears or costs for damage, up to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent). You’ll have to pay Work and Income back.
- Transition to Alternative Housing grant – In some cases, Work and Income will pay you $3,000 if you’re eligible for Housing New Zealand housing, but you give up your Housing NZ tenancy and agree to rent from a private landlord. You won’t have to pay this grant back.
For more information, go to Work and Income’s webiste, here (or go to workandincome.govt.nz and search “Housing”). For information about social housing available from Kāinga Ora (Housing New Zealand) and community organisations see: “Social housing: Tenants in state and community housing”.