Earlier changes

What's new

28 March 2023

OSCAR Subsidy

The maximum OSCAR subsidy payment is 20 hours per week during the school term.

Parents can choose to use the OSCAR subsidy hours for teacher only days (or strike days), but may need to reduce the hours on other days.

There are no exceptions to the limit of 20 hours per week for OSCAR Subsidy payments. See:

16 March 2023

Student Allowance and Student Loans

The payment of Student Allowance for study breaks of longer than 3 weeks due to a break in tuition from an education provider, for up to 8 weeks was approved on 6 March 2023. This approval is in response to the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The 'Breaks in tuition (study breaks) when Student Allowances can continue being paid' Map page in the Student Allowance manual has been updated to reflect this decision.

Approval has also been given to continue Student Loans living costs payments when a student has a break in tuition for more than 3 weeks in areas affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.


13 March 2023

Housing Support Products

Housing-related hardship assistance previously available as an Advance Payments of Benefit and Recoverable Assistance Payments is now available under the new Housing Support Products.

This is the primary assistance for one-off housing related costs for people with tenancy agreements covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Clients can no longer get an Advance Payment of Benefit or Recoverable Assistance Payment for costs covered under Housing Support Products.

From 13 March 2023 the Statement of Satisfactory Tenancy and Conditional Grant for Housing Assistance operational policy manuals were revoked and removed from Map.



Deskfile has also been updated with new Housing Support Products income limits and cash asset limits:


A new Housing Support Products welfare programme has been added, effective from 13 March 2023:

This Housing Support Assistance Programme has been revoked.

14 February 2023

Social Housing - Assessment of eligibility

When a 'specified child or young person' is placed with a parent under the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki or in approved permanent care, they can still be fast-tracked if they qualify for social housing.

However, households do not qualify to be fast-tracked for social housing if the child or young person is leaving the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki in the 12 months or less.


3 February 2023

Special Needs Grants Civil Defence Payments

In response to the North Island Floods Event, some Civil Defence Payment pages have been updated to clarify:

  • payments are available to anyone with a current visa in New Zealand
  • payments for food, clothing, bedding, and loss of livelihood are not limited to evacuees
  • how to treat multiple applications for the same need
  • payments are not available for pet-related costs


1 February 2023

Civil Defence Payments - emergency housing

Please see the Civil Defence Payment advice in the Special Needs Grants for the assistance available during emergency events.

The page under the emergency housing content for 'Civil Defence Payments for housing' has been removed.


Disability Allowance - Electricity, gas or heating

Clients can apply for an Advance Payment of Benefit or Recoverable Assistance Payments to meet electricity, gas or heating costs.

When we are paying Disability Allowance for power, gas and heating costs this should be considered when assessing whether the client qualifies for an Advance Payment of Benefit and Recoverable Assistance Payment for electricity, gas or water costs.

This is as the costs we are paying Disability Allowance for may overlap with the costs the client is applying for as an Advance Payment of Benefit or Recoverable Assistance Payment.

Clients cannot get payments twice for the same purpose.

Clients may still qualify for an Advance Payment of Benefit or Recoverable Assistance Payment for electricity, gas and heating but it is important that staff use discretion when the client they are assessing is also getting Disability Allowance for power, gas and heating.


Initial stand-down periods

The current initial stand-down periods have been amended in line with the adjustment to the Gross Average Ordinary Time Weekly Wage (AOTWW) as at 1 February 2023. See: