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Jobs & benefits

Getting ongoing extra help

Help getting into work or self-employment

Work and Income provide a variety of assistance to those looking for jobs, starting a new job or setting up self-employment.

Training Incentive Allowance – available till June 2025 for undergraduate study

Training Incentive Allowance Programme

If you get the Supported Living Payment, or you’re a sole parent getting a benefit, you might be able to get the Training Incentive Allowance. This pays for the costs of doing a course or study as long as the course is:

  • at least 12 weeks long, and
  • at level 1 to 7 on the New Zealand Qualification Framework, and
  • likely to increase your chance of getting into employment (after you finish your study).

You need to continue to meet any work-test obligations for your benefit while you are studying. If you have full-time work-test obligations (your youngest child is over 14), you will only be able to study part-time.

For each week of your course of study (up to 40 weeks a year), you can get the Training Incentive Allowance to cover the costs of studying. You can find the current maximum rate on Work and Income’s website, here (or go to workandincome.govt.nz and search “Benefit Rates April” and selecting “Benefit Rates at 1 April” for the relevant year). The amount you get is based on your actual costs of undertaking study (for example, course fees, a laptop, internet, childcare) and can be paid either as a one-off lump sum or a weekly allowance.

Transition to Work Grant

Social Security Act 2018, ss 101, 368
Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme, Sched, clause 6

You can receive up to $1,500 in a 12-month period to pay for:

  • job interview costs, such as clothes and travel,
  • the cost of interpreters,
  • the cost of tools or clothing needed for work,
  • moving costs, and
  • living expenses until your first pay.

To get a Transition to Work grant, you must be at least 16 and be looking for a job, or starting a job, or between jobs. You’ll have to meet a cash-asset test and an income test.

5k to relocate for work

Social Security Act 2018, s 101
Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme, Sched, clause 6A

You can get paid a lump sum of $5,000 to move to where your job is based if:

  • you or your partner are getting a main benefit (or would qualify for one), and
  • you have a job offer of at least 30 hours a week (or less if it will enable you to support yourself without getting a benefit), and
  • the job offer is for longer than 90 days.

You don’t have to pay the money back unless you leave your job within the first 91 days of employment without a good and sufficient reason (see: “Key words”).

New Employment Transition Grant

Social Security Act 2018, ss 101, 368 New Employment Transition Grant Programme

You can get a New Employment Transition Grant if you have a dependent child or children, and either:

  • you can’t work because you, your partner or your dependent child is sick and you have no sick leave available, or
  • there has been a breakdown in childcare arrangements, and you have no paid leave available.

You must also have stopped getting a benefit within the last six months. You can only get the grant if your partner can’t care for the child.

The current daily maximum payment is $86 and the maximum you can get over a six-month period is $860.

Seasonal Work Assistance Programme

Social Security Act 2018, ss 101 368 Seasonal Work Assistance Programme

You might be able to get payments under the Seasonal Work Assistance Programme if you’ve been on a benefit within the last six months and you’re prevented from working in a seasonal job because of bad weather. There is both a cash-asset test and an income test.

Flexi-wage Subsidy

If you get offered a job that fulfils your work obligations, you might be able to get a temporary wage subsidy to ‘top-up’ the wages paid by your employer. This subsidy supports employers to take on people who otherwise would not meet the entry-level requirements for a job, and helps you gain the employment skills and experience needed to continue in the job.

Suspension of debt repayments

Social Security Act 2018, s 448 Social Security Regulations 2018, regs 227–244

If you start a job but owe a debt to Work and Income, you can apply for a “debt recovery suspension,” which suspends any deductions from your income for up to three months.

Assistance with self-employment

Social Security Act 2018, ss 101, 368 Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme, Sched, clause 8

If you’re on a benefit, the following assistance to help you start up your own business may be available:

  • A Business Training and Advice Grant of up to $1,000 per year to cover the costs of business training and advice, including developing a business plan. You can apply for this more than once.
  • Self-Employment Start-Up is a lump sum (or series of lump sums) of up to $10,000 over 12 months to cover essential business start-up costs, such as rent, buying or leasing equipment (such as furniture), buying stock and insurance costs.
  • The Flexi-Wage for Self-Employment is a short term wage subsidy to help you with living costs while you start out working for yourself. It’s paid every four weeks up to a maximum of 52 weeks. It’s not a benefit paid under the Social Security Act, so the normal review and appeal processes that apply to benefits aren’t available to you. Instead, it’s a contract between you and the Ministry of Social Development, so you can take any disputes to the Disputes Tribunal (see: “The Disputes Tribunal”) or the District Court.

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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

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