Please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page for all information and helpful links regarding the Coronavirus crisis.

Ministry of Social Development Services During COVID-19 Level 4 Lockdown:

As a resultof the COVID-19 Level 4 Lockdown the following information and announcements have been made:

1. Benefits

  • All benefits will continue to be paid automatically for 6 months
  • Sickness/Invalid Benefit – a medical consult is not required

2. Hardship Support

  • Whānau struggling during the COVID -19 Lockdown can apply for a Hardship Support Grant. Apply online:  https://www.msd.govt.nz

3. Loss of Job

If you have lost your job, can’t work at the moment or your income  has been reduced, you may be able to get a benefit or some other  financial help from Work and Income.

You may be able to get help with urgent expenses like:

  • food
  • accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board)
  • power, gas and water bills or heating
  • medical and dental costs

You can find more information about financial support (including criteria) by contacting Work and Income online at https://workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/index.html

4. COVID-19 Wage Subsidy for Employers

Who may apply for the Wage Subsidy:

  • Employers
  • Contractors
  • Sole traders / Self Employed
  • Registered charities
  • NGOs
  • the self-employed and sole traders
  • contractors
  • registered charities
  • incorporated societies, and
  • post-settlement governance entities.

As at 27 March 2020, the Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown.


  • Businesses must be registered and operating in New Zealand
  • Employees are legally working in New Zealand
  • The business has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19.
  • There are special rules for new businesses and high-growth firms
  • Businesses accessing the scheme must still undertake best endeavors to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID income.
  • Where that is not possible – in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours – they must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker.
  •  Businesses must undertake to keep employees in employment for the period of the subsidy.
  • Government is incorporating the previous sick leave scheme into this scheme to prevent double-dipping.

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be a 12 week bulk payment at the following flat rate of:

  • $585.80 per employee working 20 hours or more per week
  • $350.00 per employee working less than 20 hours per week.

For further information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme go to: https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/employer_applications/new

MSD Contacts:

Online applications: https://workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/apply/index.html 

Telephone:       Under 65 years of age   0800 5599 009

                          65 years +                     0800 5520 02  

NB : Depending on volume there could be a significant wait before being connected via telephone


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