Whatever situation you find yourself in, getting information about any government assistance you might be entitled to is important. Many people who are entitled to financial assistance don’t realise they are, so find out as much information as you can. Sometimes people may feel shame about reaching out for financial assistance, especially if it is the first time they have needed to. However, we are all entitled to help when we need it and it is there to help support you and your whānau.
Sometimes the system can be hard to navigate, so you may like to find someone who can help guide you through. Do you know others that have sought financial support before? Perhaps reach out to your rūnunga, local church, or other organisations that may be connected to things happening in the community.
“My mum has always worked as hard as she can to understand the system to do her best to provide for us kids. During COVID-19 she is sharing that knowledge to help other whānau understand what they are entitled to and how to get it, especially for people who are now dealing with the system for the first time. If you understand the system and you have the time, maybe reach out on Facebook and see who you can help. She feels awesome that she can help people right now with what she has learned over the years.” (Dad of one child).
Financial support during COVID-19
Work and Income
If you are struggling financially, whether or not you are in paid work, you may be eligible for government assistance, such as emergency food grants or ongoing housing supplements.
Work and Income states: “Even if you don’t think you qualify, call us to check your eligibility”.
Work and Income 0800 559 009
(Monday to Friday 7am–6pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am – 1pm)
As well as welfare and benefits Work and Income may also be able to help with urgent costs like:
- accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board, emergency housing)
- repairs or replacing appliances
- emergency dental treatment
- emergency medical treatment
- water tank refill.
New Zealand Benefit System
Here is an overview of the government benefit system:
Civil Defence Emergency Management
Your local Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group operates 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm, and may be able to help you access essential services.
This service is for people that do not have any other options available to them. A list of CDEM groups is available from here:
Bank loans and mortgages
If you are worried about your ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 you should contact your bank or finance company as soon as you can.
Banks and other lenders will work with customers who are struggling financially. Borrowers have a legal right to ask for changes to their repayments. A range of options are available to help.
These government-funded services can help with financial guidance and budgeting advice.
This site has plenty of useful information about finances and money worries, including issues directly related to COVID-19.
Visit their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free and confidential financial and budgeting advice with loads of useful information.
Visit the website or call 0800 345 123.