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The Accommodation Supplement explained
Work and Income’s Accommodation Supplement can ease the burden if you’re struggling to pay for your mortgage, rent or board, or any other associated accommodation costs. You do need to meet a few criteria to be approved, including income and asset limit tests, but the extra money can come in handy if you’re in a tight spot.
The Accommodation Supplement can be paid on top of the main benefit and can be collected even if you’re in full-time employment.
What is the Accommodation Supplement?
The Accommodation Supplement is a benefit from Work and Income and provides a weekly payment to help you cover specific accommodation costs.
It’s not designed to cover all your costs but it can include a wide variety of different types of costs. The supplement is ongoing and doesn’t have to be reviewed each year like the Disability Allowance.
However, you will need to get in touch with Work and Income straight away if there are any changes to your income, accommodation costs or you move address.
Am I eligible?
To determine whether you qualify for the Accommodation Supplement, Work and Income assesses your financial situation to see if you meet certain criteria. It will look at:
- Your income and assets
- Your spouse or partner’s income and assets
- Your accommodation costs
- Which area you live in (there are four specific areas in New Zealand)
If you meet the criteria then an amount is calculated and the Accommodation Supplement is paid weekly into your bank account, along with the main benefit if you’re receiving this.
How much can I get?
How much you receive depends on Work and Income’s assessment of your financial situation – that is how much you earn, how much you own and where in the country you live.
For example, a single person living in Auckland earning less than $57,668 can receive a current maximum of $165 a week. A married couple with children living in Auckland earning $99,944 can receive a current maximum of $305 a week.
Work and Income’s Check what you might get is a handy online tool that you can use to work out how much you might receive for your situation.
What costs does it cover?
When assessing your application, Work and Income takes into account whether you’re a homeowner, a renter or a boarder and the specific costs associated with your accommodation.
Homeowners have a variety of ongoing costs and the Accommodation Supplement can help with most of these, including:
- Mortgage repayments
- Body corporate fees
- Council rates
- Water rates
- House insurance (excluding contents insurance)
- Compulsory mortgage protection insurance
- Essential repairs and maintenance.
Renters can apply for the Accommodation Supplement to help with their share of costs, such as rent payments and water usage charges.
A tenancy or flat sharing agreement is typically required to prove how much is paid, though a signed handwritten letter from the lead tenant is also accepted.
Boarders usually pay a lump sum payment to a homeowner that includes: rent, power, phone, internet, water and often food as well.
When applying for the Accommodation Supplement as a boarder it’s best to provide a breakdown of what you pay. If you don’t, Work and Income will automatically calculate 62% of your lump sum board payment as the accommodation cost and you could miss out on some money.
How to apply
There are a couple of ways you can apply for the Accommodation Supplement:
- Online through MyMSD (if you haven’t used MyMSD before you’ll need to register)
- Download and complete an Extra Help application form and call Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to make an appointment.
Frequently asked questions
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