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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:

How to apply online

The Work and Income website provides steps and links for how to apply online for most benefits and payments.

You’ll need an email address and a cellphone to apply.

Free data

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

‘Cheap as’ data — Work and Income

Other ways to apply

If you cannot apply online, contact Work and Income to find other options for how to apply:

If you were affected by an emergency event

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 — Work and Income

When your application is accepted

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

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

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