Applying for a benefit
You can apply for most benefits online. In most cases you’ll need to meet with a case manager before your application is accepted and you start being paid.
Apply for a benefit online
You can apply for most Work and Income benefits online. You'll need an email address and cellphone to do this.
- Log in using your RealMe account.
- Complete the online form. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it will be deleted if you haven’t submitted it after 60 days.
- Once you’ve submitted the online form you’ll be given:
- a reference number
- information on which benefits you might be able to get
- information on anything you need to do before you can get a benefit
- instructions on what documents you need to provide
- instructions on what to do next.
If you can't apply online, you should contact Work and Income to find out the best options for applying.
If you have a partner
You’ll also have to bring official documents to prove:
- their ID
- if they've ever changed their name
- their bank account details
- their IRD number
- their before-tax income for the 52 weeks before your application, and their income for the last 26 weeks.
After you’ve applied
In most cases there are things you need to do after you've applied. These can include:
- meeting with a case manager
- creating an up-to-date CV
- attending a Work for You seminar
- showing that you’re looking for work.
When your application is accepted
You’ll generally get your first payment within 5 days of completing the full application process. It might take longer if you:
- have a 1 to 2 week stand-down
- 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.
While you're on a benefit
If you don't do what's required your benefit may be reduced or stopped.
If you disagree with a decision
If Work and Income have made a decision that you don’t understand or disagree with, you should talk to your case manager. If you still disagree, you can apply for a formal review.