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.
The quickest way to apply for a benefit is online. You'll need an email address and a cellphone to apply.
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.
If you can't apply online, contact Work and Income to find out the best options for applying.
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 don’t 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.
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 don’t understand or disagree with, call them and talk to them about it.
If you still disagree, you can apply for a formal review of the decision.