Skip to main content

For information about COVID-19, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website

Applying for a benefit

You need to apply for most benefits online, then meet with a case manager before your application is accepted and you start being paid.

If your income has been affected by COVID-19, you may be able to apply for financial support:

Apply online

The quickest way to apply for a benefit is online. You’ll need an email address and a cellphone to apply.

Request a client number if you are applying for benefits for the first time

Apply online if you’ve used Work and Income, Studylink, Seniors or Youth Services before

If your application is accepted, your benefit will normally be backdated to the day you started your online application.

If you’re using a cellphone or digital device it’s usually free to apply online and use Work and Income’s websites.

Free data from Work and Income

If you cannot apply online, contact Work and Income to find out the best options for applying.

Contact Work and Income

If you were affected by the Christchurch shooting incident

You may be able to get financial help from Work and Income:

Meet with a case manager

You normally need to visit a Work and Income office and meet with a case manager before your application is accepted. If you do not have all the right information and documents with you, it will take longer to be paid.

What you need to bring will depend on the benefit you’re applying for, but you’ll always need:

  • your ID, such as a birth certificate, driver licence, passport or firearms licence
  • your online application reference number
  • proof of your IRD number
  • proof of your bank account details.

Check what documents you need to provide

When your application is accepted

You’ll usually get your first payment 1 to 2 weeks after you completed the application process.

It might take longer if you were working recently and:

    • got redundancy, holiday or any other payment at the end of your job
    • are getting sick pay from your employer
    • left your job without a good reason
    • lost your job because of misconduct.

If you disagree with a decision

If Work and Income have made a decision that you do not understand or disagree with, call them and talk to them about it.

Contact Work and Income

If you still disagree, you can apply for a formal review of the decision.

Apply for a formal review

Utility links and page information

Last updated