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Lost your job due to the coronavirus? Here’s where to get help

COVID-19 continues to affect jobs across New Zealand. We explain the steps you can take to improve your financial security.

Losing your job is scary, there’s no doubt about it. Just know that you’re not alone, and there is support out there for you. We’ve put together a list of ways you can get help, in the hope it makes these tough times a little easier.

Check if you are eligible for government support

WINZ can give you emergency financial support if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to support yourself or your family. You can also take advantage of MoneyTalks, a free and confidential service that offers help for money management.

If you’re looking for work, register with Work and Income’s online recruitment tool. The tool connects people ready to start work with employers who need additional staff in essential services.

As part of the NZ government’s recent support package, employers can access Wage subsidies to keep paying employees. Contractors and the self-employed are also eligible.

Consider a low-interest loan

Rather than rush to a costly pay-day lender, there is a range of low-interest loans available on the market.

There is even a no-interest loan scheme (NILs), which is managed by Good Shepherd New Zealand, a community organisation. You can apply for a loan of up to $1,500 for a set period of time – giving you time to get back on your feet as coronavirus concerns die down. Alternatively, another charitable trust is Ngā Tangata Microfinance (NTM) and they also offer loans free of interest or fees.

Contact your insurer

If you’re worried about your outgoings and want to limit your spending for a while, your insurer could help. Insurance companies often pause premiums in times of financial hardship, without enforcing a break in cover. Give your insurer the heads up if you think you might be out of a job soon and see if there’s financial assistance available.

If you have income protection insurance

You may be able to claim on your income protection insurance if you meet the policy requirements – for example, holding it for a specific period or being out of work for a certain length of time.

Contact your insurance company immediately to find out if you are covered in the event you lose your job. The insurer can walk you through the process if you are eligible to make a claim.

Contact your bank or lender

Many lenders can also offer help if you’re in financial hardship. You may be able to take a mortgage repayment holiday or pause payments on your personal loan or credit card.

Contact your utility provider

Call your provider and ask to speak to a hardship officer. The officer may help you work out a plan to pay bills in smaller instalments, or apply emergency utility vouchers. These vouchers can help you meet minimum payments.

Contact your KiwiSaver provider

If losing your job would put you in severe financial hardship, try contacting your KiwiSaver provider. In certain circumstances, if you are in extreme financial need or are temporarily incapacitated, and can’t work, you may be able to access savings early.

Picture: GettyImages

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