Home | Browse Topics | Jobs & benefits | Dealing with Work and Income | Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent

Jobs & benefits

Getting ongoing extra help

Accommodation Supplement: Ongoing help with your rent

Social Security Act 2018, ss 6, 17, 65–69, 423, Sched 4

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”.

Did this answer your question?

Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

See Work and Income’s website for information on whether you qualify for a benefit and how to apply for them.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz
Phone:  0800 559 009

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP)

AAAP is a free nationwide advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income.

Website: www.aaap.org.nz
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/aucklandactionagainstpoverty
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAAPNZ/

Helpful resources for beneficiaries: www.aaap.org.nz/resources

Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Services (BAIS)

BAIS provides free advocacy and support for beneficiaries and low-income families in Auckland’s North Shore, Rodney and Hibiscus Coast districts.

Website: www.bais.org.nz
Phone: 09 444 9543
Instagram: www.instagram.com/bais.northshoreandrodney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BAISnorthshoreandrodey   

Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (HV BEST)

The HV BEST provides information and support to beneficiaries in the Hutt Valley. 

Website: www.hvbest.co.nz
Email: hvbest@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 04 529 8108

Beneficiaries & Unwaged Workers Trust (BUWT)

BUWT provides information, advice and support to people on low incomes in Nelson.

Website: www.buwt.wordpress.com
Email: buwtcs@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 03 548 8171
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/282105670089970/?locale=pt_PT

Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

The BAS provides information and support to beneficiaries in Christchurch.

Website: www.bas.org.nz
Email: bas.cprc@gmail.com
Phone: 0800 00 00 43
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeneficiaryAdvisoryService

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB provides free, confidential and independent information and advice. See CAB’s website for valuable information on a range of topics.

Website: www.cab.org.nz
Phone: 0800 367 222
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/citizensadvicenz

Find your local CAB office: www.cab.org.nz/find-a-cab

Zero Data

Zero Data is a new digital support that allows anyone with a mobile device, phone or tablet to access essential Government information for free. No data is used.

Website: www.zero.govt.nz

What do I need do I need for it to work?

  •  The device is on.
  •  The device is connected to Spark, Skinny One NZ, 2Degrees, Slingshot or Orcon.

You can access information from the following agencies:

  • Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora | Ministry of Social Development
  • Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education
  • Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs
  • Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand
  • Kāinga Ora | Homes & Communities
  • Te Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice
  • Te Kaporeihana Āwhina Hunga Whara | Accident Compensation Corporation

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top