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Are you entitled to free money from the government?

Need a top up for bills, childcare or while you’re between jobs? Find out if you’re entitled to free financial assistance from the government.

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New Zealand has a robust public welfare system so you don’t need to struggle if you can’t make ends meet. The government provides financial assistance to low to middle-income individuals and families in need.

If you’re finding it difficult to pay for living costs, support your kids or buy a house, then you may be entitled to one of these eight ways to get free money from the government.

Accommodation supplement

The government can help with an Accommodation Supplement to pay rent, board or a mortgage. How much you can get depends on your income and assets. Fill in the no obligation Work and Income checklist to see what you might be eligible for.

How to apply

Apply online through MyMSD or download and fill out an Extra Help application form. Once completed call 0800 559 009 to set up an appointment.

Assistance with power, gas, water, heating bills

The government offers up to $200 to help with paying an outstanding utility bill for power, gas or water or to reconnect a service.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re over 16
  • You earn less than $26,444 gross (single) or $44,143 gross (couple)
  • A utility company won’t enter into a payment arrangement
  • You’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

How to apply

Apply online through MyMSD or call 0800 559 009 for an immediate appointment.

Emergency Benefit

As well as providing help with utility bills and accommodation, you can get help with unexpected costs like: food, car repairs, dental treatment, glasses or medical treatment. Payments depend on what the emergency is, how much it costs and if you’re receiving another benefit.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re not eligible for any other payments
  • You’re on a low income

How to apply

Call Work and Income on 0800 559 009

Jobseeker Support

If you’ve been made redundant or you’re too ill to work, you can apply for Jobseeker Support to meet your living expenses. How much you can get depends on your circumstances. The net weekly benefit currently ranges from $175.48 per week for an 18 year old living at home, to $428.06 per week for a married couple with children.

If you qualify for Jobseeker Support then you’ll also receive a Community Services Card to help make prescriptions and doctors visits more affordable.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re aged 18 years and over
  • You’re not employed and looking for a job
  • You have a health condition or disability
  • You’ve been a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident for at least 2 years

How to apply

Apply online through MyMSD.

Rates rebate

The Rates Rebate initiative is set up in conjunction with local councils to help low income earners pay their rates bill. The rates rebate levels are set each year and dependent on your household income and the amount you pay for rates. The highest rebate currently for 2020/2021 is $665.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re the legal ratepayer for your home
  • You earn below $24,000
  • You apply before 30 June 2021

How to apply

  • Fill in a rates rebate application form
  • Include proof of income, such as your Personal Tax Summary
  • Get your form witnessed by local council staff or a JP
  • Hand in or post your form to your local council

Childcare subsidy

If you need help with childcare related costs or support while caring for a new baby, then the government can lend a hand.

The government’s Childcare Subsidy helps low income families with costs for pre-school childcare. How much you can get depends on how many children you have, your income and the hours per week for childcare visits.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re on a low or middle income
  • You care for a dependent child
  • You’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

How to apply

Download and complete the Childcare Assistance application form, then email the application form and documentation to: Centralised_childcare_reviews@msd.govt.nz.

Parental leave

If you need to take time off work to care for a new child, you can receive a government-funded weekly Parental Leave payment. How much you can get depends on how much leave you take and your situation.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re the primary carer for a child under
  • You’re employed for an average of 10 hours per week over 26 weeks before the due date

How to apply

Download, complete and send the Paid parental leave application to the IRD.

You’ll need to include your:

  • IRD number
  • Tax code
  • Proof of income
  • Employer declaration
  • Evidence for baby’s due date or primary carer

Kiwisaver First Home Grant

Getting a foot on the housing ladder is extremely difficult for many first time buyers because of the 20% deposit required.

The government offers first home buyers a grant of between $3,000 to $5,000 for existing homes, and up to $10,000 for new homes. Learn more about the First Home Grant in our guide.

Eligibility for the grant and how much you receive depends on a number of factors, check the full eligibility criteria through Kāinga Ora.

You’ll qualify if:

  • You’re over 18
  • You don’t currently own a property
  • You earn less than $85,000 gross (single) or $130,000 gross (couple)
  • You’ve been a Kiwisaver member for 3 years or more
  • You’ve contributed 3% minimum to Kiwisaver for those years
  • You have a deposit of 5% minimum
  • You purchase a home that falls within the regional house price caps
  • You’ll live in the home for a minimum of 6 months

How to apply

Apply through Kāinga Ora either before or after you find a property.

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