Income Support 


Can I receive a benefit if I'm unemployed?
Is there any income support for people under 18 years old?
Will I be entitled to any benefits as a single parent?
I'm on a low income. Am I eligible for any government support?

I've quit my job. Do I have to wait before I can get a benefit?
Does the stand down period for jobseeker support apply if I am dismissed within a trial period?


Can I receive a benefit if I’m unemployed?

The Jobseeker Support benefit is available if you are

  • not working full-time, but actively looking for full-time (or part-time, if your ability to work is limited by a health condition, injury or disability) work e.g. preparing your CV, attending work seminars, applying for jobs
  • aged 18 years or over
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have lived in New Zealand for at least two years at any one time since becoming a citizen or permanent resident.

How much income support you receive will depend on your own situation, and is influenced by factors such as your accommodation costs, relationship status and whether your income supports other people. For more information, you can contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or call Work and Income (WINZ) on 0800 559 009.

You need to re-apply for this benefit every 12 months; if you don’t re-apply your benefit payments might stop.

Also, if you have a partner they will have obligations to:

  • look for full time work (if you don’t have children aged under 14 years)
  • look for part-time work if you have a child aged five to 13 years
  • prepare for work if you have children younger than five years

There are also general conditions associated with receiving a Work and Income benefit.


Is there any income support for people under 18 years old?

There are two main benefits for youth - Youth Payment and Youth Parent Payment.

Youth Payment is for unemployed 16-17 year olds who are unemployed, cannot get financial support from family or a partner and do not have children.

The Youth Parent Payment is for young people who have children and includes a childcare payment. Both payments have a number of eligibility criteria, but in general applicants must be:

  • aged 16-17 (or 16-18 if you are have dependent children and have no partner) and
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and
  • can’t get financial support from their parents or anyone else.

Both types of benefit require the recipient to fulfil a number of conditions including:

  • having to be in, or available for, full time education, training or work-based learning and 
  • working with a Youth Service provider who’ll help you manage your money and
  • attendance at a budgeting course and
  • for the Young Parent Payment:
    • attendance at a parenting course and 
    • being in a teen unit if your child is one year old (or 6 months if a place is available) and
    • enrolling your child at a medical centre and in a WellChild programme.

Some of your payment will be paid straight to your accommodation provider. The rest is deposited on to a payment card.

You can check your eligibility, how much you might receive and apply online. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide you with information and assistance.

More information about the Youth Payment and the Young Parent Payment is on the Work and Income website and the Youth Service website.

There are conditions associated with receiving a Work and Income benefit.


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Will I be entitled to any benefits as a single parent?

If you are a single parent with dependent children aged less than 14 years, you may be eligible for either Sole Parent Support or Jobseeker Support.

If you do not have dependent children aged less than 14 years, you may be eligible for Jobseeker Support, see our first question.

Sole Parent Support

This benefit is for single parents with children aged less than 14 years. You may qualify for the Sole Parent payment if:

  • you have lost the support of your partner or do not have a partner and 
  • are not in a relationship with the other parent, and 
  • have dependent children who are under 14, and 
  • are over 18 (if you are younger you may be eligible for the Young Parent Payment (see the previous question).

There are conditions on receiving the Sole Parent Support benefit, including:

  • If your youngest child is aged under 5 years you must take practical steps to getting ready for starting work e.g. preparing your CV, attending work-related training.
  • Once your youngest child turns 5 years of age you must actively look for part-time work and accept any offers of part-time work.
  • Once your youngest child turns 14 years of age you must actively look for, and accept any offers of, full-time work.
  • If you have an additional child while you receive this benefit, then as soon as that child turns one you will be expected to: 
    • actively prepare for work (if your next youngest child is aged under 5), or
    • actively look for part-time work (if your next youngest child is aged 5 – 13), or 
    • actively look for full-time work (if your next youngest child is aged 14 or older).

There are also general conditions associated with receiving any Work and Income benefit.

More information about these obligations is on the Work and Income website.

The amount of the payment will depend on your situation.

You can check your eligibility online and apply online. If you need to attend a meeting with a Work and Income case manager, it’s a good idea to have all supporting documentation ready before you start.

To find out more about the Sole Parent Support payment you can visit  the Work and Income website, call Work and Income on 0800 559 009  or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.


I'm on a low income. Am I eligible for any government support?

Depending on your situation you might be eligible for government support.

For example, if you have dependent children you might be eligible for family assistance.

An accommodation supplement can help you cover the cost of rent or – if you own your own home – the cost of mortgage repayments.

You may be eligible for a Community Service Card, a High Use Health Card or Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card to help with health costs,

You can use this online tool to check your eligibility for Work and Income benefits, or make an appointment with Work and Income (WINZ) on 0800 559 009 to discuss your personal situation.

You may also be eligible for tax credits.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you work out what you might be eligible for.

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I've quit my job. Do I have to wait before I can get an unemployment benefit?

The commencement date of an eligible person's Jobseeker Support payments will be the later of: 

  • an initial stand-down period of up to two weeks from the date of entitlement (e.g. the day after your employment ceased) or
  • the date of your application, if you apply more two weeks after the day your job finished

In some circumstances no stand-down applies, such as when a person's employment has ceased during their 90-day employment trial period (see next question).

There are some circumstances where you can start receiving payments after the two-week stand-down period, as long as you apply within 28 days of your entitlement date (and assuming you are eligible):

  • you have quit your job because of health reasons
  • you are a sole parent
  • you have lost the financial support of your spouse due to death, separation, the end of a de facto relationship or imprisonment

If you have quit your job because you simply don't want to work there any more (or because you were fired for misconduct), there may be a 13 week stand-down period before you start receiving payments (there are exceptions).

You may still be able to get emergency assistance such as food grants or a loan from WINZ if you run out of money before you are due to receive the benefit payments. If this is the case, you should visit your local WINZ office. If you have any problems with this you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.


Does the 13 week stand-down period for Jobseeker Support apply if I am dismissed within a trial period?

If you were employed for a trial period and you were given notice of dismissal within that period, you will generally not have a stand-down period before receiving JobSeeker Support payments (assuming you are eligible for this benefit). Information about other situations where no stand-down period applies is on the WINZ website.

If you are given notice within the 90 day trial period Work and Income will ask you the reason employment ceased, and if you cannot provide this answer then they may contact the employer directly. If the employer's reason for your dismissal was misconduct or that you left voluntarily, then you may have to wait for 13 weeks before your payments start. 

More information about Jobseeker Support if your job ceases within a trial period, is on the Work and Income website.