I am getting a benefit but it isn't enough to cover my rent. Who can help?
You may be able to receive the Accommodation Supplement, which is a weekly payment that helps people with their rent, board or the cost of owning a home (e.g. mortgage repayments, house repairs). You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for the Accommodation Supplement.
You may be eligible for an accommodation supplement if you:
- have accommodation costs
- are over 16
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- normally live in New Zealand
- are not paying rent for a social housing property (e.g. a state house)
You can check your eligibility for the Accommodation Supplement and other extra help, and apply, online. You may find that you are eligible for other extra help too.
Back to top
Can I get the Accommodation Supplement if I’m working?
If you’re on a low to middle income, you may be eligible for the Accommodation Supplement to help you with the cost of your rent, board or mortgage payments.
You’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria listed in the previous question, and meet income and asset test requirements. The maximum income level for eligibility, and how much you might get, depend on:
- how much you pay for your accommodation (whether it is rent, board or mortgage payments),
- how much you have in income and assets (the latter excludes your home and car),
- where you live, and
- how many dependent children live with you.
You can’t get the Accommodation Supplement if you are renting from a social housing provider or have a mortgage with Housing New Zealand.
See the Working for Families website to find out what the income limits are for the different parts of New Zealand. The Work and Income website has a calculator to help you work out whether you are eligible and how much you might get (or you can contact WINZ on 0800 559 009. WINZ has offices nationwide).
Back to top
Can I continue to receive the Accommodation Supplement if I go overseas to visit family?
If you receive any Work and Income benefit, you will have to tell Work and Income if you plan to travel overseas. Depending on whether you are receiving another benefit in addition to the Accommodation Supplement, the purpose of your travel and how long you expect to be away, Work and Income may approve your travel so that you continue to receive your payments. If you don’t get approval to travel from Work and Income, your payments may be stopped on the day you leave the country.
You'll find information about travelling as a superannuitant on the Work and Income website, and information about your obligations in general when you receive a benefit on our General Benefits Information page.
Back to top
How do I apply for the Accommodation Supplement?
You can apply online or by downloading an application form. There is a form for applicants who already receive a benefit and a different form for those who don’t. If you have trouble with completing your form you can visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.
Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to visit a Work and Income case manager. You’ll need to bring a number of documents with you (these are listed on the application form). They can go over your application and documents and tell you about your obligations if you receive the Accommodation Supplement.
More information about the application process is on the Work and Income website.