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You need help but you don’t qualify for any main benefit

Qualifying for the Emergency Benefit

Social Security Act 2018, ss 17, 63, 205, Sched 4

You might qualify for the Emergency Benefit if you are 16 or over, don’t qualify for another main benefit, and you have no other means of supporting yourself.

Emergency Benefit is a discretionary payment for people who need support but otherwise wouldn’t qualify for assistance, for example:

  • You’re 65 or older and you haven’t been living in New Zealand long enough to qualify for NZ Superannuation.
  • You don’t have permanent residence or citizenship, but you are waiting for your application for a refugee or protection staus to be approved, or you are applying for a residence class visa and you have to remain in NZ.
  • During an annual close down period, you are not covered by holiday pay, but you’re unable to meet job search requirements to get Jobseeker Support.
  • You are caring for someone full time and therefore can’t meet the job search requirements for Jobseeker Support, but the person you are caring for doesn’t meet the level of care requirements for you to get Supported Living Payment.

Do I qualify for the Emergency Benefit?

If you don’t qualify for any other benefit, you may be able to get the Emergency Benefit. The Emergency Benefit is treated as a last resort and Work and Income will consider the reasons why you and your dependants (if any) cannot support yourselves.

To qualify for the Emergency Benefit, you can’t have cash assets (see: “Key words) of more than:

  • $4,300 if you are single without kids, or
  • $7,464 if you have a partner or any kids.

There are exceptions to this, for example, if refusing to give you an Emergency Benefit would have a serious, negative effect on your health or welfare.

Work and Income can also set specific conditions, such as work-test requirements if the Emergency Benefit is being paid in place of Jobseeker Support.

How much will I get on the Emergency Benefit?

The Emergency Benefit can be paid at whatever rate Work and Income decide in the particular case. This usually means the rate of the main benefit that you would otherwise be eligible for.

If you’re getting the Emergency Benefit, you’ll also qualify for the Winter Energy Payment to help with heating costs (see: “Getting ongoing extra help”).

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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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