COVID-19 Income Relief Payment or a benefit

Find out if you're better off with the Income Relief Payment or a main benefit, eg. Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living Payment, Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment.

You can't get the Income Relief Payment and a main benefit at the same time, so you may need to decide which is best for you.

Main benefits include:

  • Jobseeker Support
  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • Youth Payment
  • Young Parent Payment
  • Emergency Benefit.

Information

You can find out what you might get at check.msd.govt.nz

This information is a guide only. Talk to us if you're not sure about your best option.

Choosing the best option

If you apply for a payment and we think you'd be better off getting something else, we'll get in touch.

Lost a full-time job

In most situations, if you lost a full-time job of 30 hours a week or more, you'll be financially better off on the Income Relief Payment instead of a main benefit.

Talk with us

You can call us to talk about which payment would be best for you if:

  • you've lost a part-time job
  • you've lost a full-time job and you're eligible for a Supported Living Payment
  • you're a couple, and one of you is a non-qualified partner included in NZ Super or Veteran's Pension.

If you've lost a full-time job and you get Student Allowance, you can call StudyLink to talk about this.

Main differences

These are the main differences between getting the Income Relief Payment and a benefit. In all cases, you'll need to meet the criteria to get any payment from us.

Income Relief Payment Benefit
Payment start date The start date is not affected by payments like holiday pay when you finish work. The start date could be delayed by payments like holiday pay when you finish work.
Payment rates You can get:
  • $490 a week, if you worked 30 hours or more a week, or
  • $250 a week, if you worked 15 to 29 hours a week.
The amount you get depends on the benefit you get and your situation.
You may also be able to get extra help for things like accommodation or health costs.

You can find out what you might get at check.msd.govt.nz

Winter Energy Payment You can't get Winter Energy Payment while you get Income Relief Payment. You can get Winter Energy Payment while you get a benefit (until 1 October 2020).
You're still working You can't get the Income Relief Payment. You can get a benefit but your income may reduce your benefit payments. There's a limit to how much to you can earn.

How much will be deducted

You get other income eg. a rental property or investments You can get the Income Relief Payment. You can get a benefit but your other income may reduce your benefit payments.
Your partner's working You can get the Income Relief Payment if your partner earns less than $2,000 (before tax) a week. You can get a benefit but your partner's income may reduce your benefit payments. There's a limit to how much to you can earn.

How much will be deducted

Child Support from Inland Revenue You can get Child Support from Inland Revenue while you're getting the Income Relief Payment.

You can't get Child Support from Inland Revenue while you're getting a sole parent rate of benefit.

If you get child support through private arrangements, it may reduce your benefit.

Your responsibilities You're expected to look for suitable work and take appropriate steps to gain new work. You'll have a range of obligations depending on the benefit you get.

If you don't do these (without a good reason), your payments could be reduced or stopped.

Youth Services You may not get support from a Youth Coach if you get Income Relief Payment. You’ll get support from a Youth Coach if you get Youth Payment or Young Parent.



Working for Families tax credits

Working for Families tax credits are for families with dependent children aged 18 or under.

You can get the Income Relief Payment as well as Working for Families tax credits at the same time, if you qualify. The Income Relief Payment does not count as income for these.

Check if you can get Working for Families tax credits.