Coronavirus and the Law
FAQs for Income Support and Benefits
Income support if you’ve lost your job in the pandemic
I’ve lost my job (been made redundant) – what financial help can I get?
If you’ve lost your job (been made redundant) and need financial support, contact Work and Income by phone on 0800 559 009.
For more information about what benefit you qualify for, click here.
Can I go in to a Work and Income office in person?
Under Level 1 (from 9 June), Work and Income offices are open, but they are encouraging people to first contact them by phone (on 080 559 009) or on MyMSD. You can then make a face-to-face appointment if necessary.
How soon will I get payments from Work and Income after losing my job?
If you qualify for payments, you’ll start getting them the week after Work and Income approves your application.
Normally there’s a one- or two-week “stand-down” before you become entitled to a benefit, but those have been removed for the next few months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 13 March to 23 November this year, anyone who loses their job because of the pandemic or any other reason does not have to go through a stand-down period.
But if you lost your job because you were fired for misconduct, or if you left your job voluntarily, you will have to wait 13 weeks before you qualify for a benefit (called a “non-entitlement period”).
How much money will I get?
Click here for current rates for the different benefits.
Rates for the main benefits and the Winter Energy Payment were increased on 1 April 2020.
How do I find emergency or temporary housing?
You can contact Work and Income by phone on 0800 559 009 to organise emergency housing. Currently, Work and Income can make a Special Needs Grant to provide you with emergency housing for up to 21 nights at a time.
The Government has also set up a service to provide temporary accommodation for people who need it because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This Temporary Accommodation Service is continuing to operate under Alert Level 1. You can contact them on 0508 754 163 – this number is available 24 hours, 7 days.
Click here for more information.
Food and other essential supplies: help from Civil Defence and local councils
There are Civil Defence and local council schemes for access to food and other necessities, separate from Work and Income payments. These are for people who have no other options, or who can’t go out to get what they need.
- Click here to find your local 0800 number for help from Civil Defence with essential supplies.
- Click here to find an alphabetical list of local councils and their contact details.
Social Security (Exemption from Stand Down—Coronavirus COVID-19) Amendment Regulations 2020