Further MSD support available during Omicron

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is advising you of three areas related to COVID-19:

  • Expanded Hardship Assistance
  • Extra support for people isolating
  • New Covid-19 support payment for business

Hardship assistance expanded

The Government has extended the increased income limits for hardship assistance until 30 June 2022. This means more people will continue to be eligible for hardship assistance, including casual or part-time workers, and people who aren’t already getting financial support.

Hardship assistance helps people with immediate or emergency costs, such as food and essential items. This is important as it means we can provide direct help to people as part of the COVID welfare response. (Note that income limits for Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants, Transition to Work Grants and the Course Participation Allowance aren’t changing)

People new to MSD can check these links below to see the new income limits:

Then click on our check what you might get guide Check what you might get – Work and Income. They’ll be asked some easy questions about their costs, then we’ll let them know about Work and Income payments they may be able to get. They may wish to ask a friend or family member to help them use the guide. Alternatively, if they’d like to talk with MSD, they can call us:

  • 0800 559 009 for working age
  • 0800 552 002 for over-65’s
  • 0800 88 99 00 for students

Extra support for those with COVID-19 or self-isolating

The Ministry of Social Development can co-ordinate extra support for people who are self-isolating because they have COVID-19 or are identified as a Close Contact, or a referral to a provider if required. Those who need extra support can request help with:

  • getting access to food and essential items
  • mobile data so you can keep in contact with essential services, friends and whānau
  • getting support for personal care or daily tasks
  • talking to your employer if you are worried about your leave or pay
  • getting mental health support, or support with family or sexual violence.

This support could be from a community organisation, a government agency, a marae-based service or support established by iwi. It includes community connectors who work with MSD-funded providers in communities where there is need. More information: Community Connection Service – Ministry of Social Development (msd.govt.nz)

People can apply for support online here: Help while you’re self-isolating – Work and Income

They can also call the COVID-19 Welfare phone line on 0800 512 337 seven days a week.

New targeted support payments for business struggling during Omicron outbreak

The Government has announced a new payment called the COVID Support Payment for businesses, which will be administered by Inland Revenue.

Each COVID Support Payment will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000, the same rate as the most recent Transition Payment.

Applications for the first payment open on 28 February with payments starting from 1 March. They are available fortnightly for 6 weeks, making 3 payments in total.

Read more: New financial support for businesses affected by Omicron | Beehive.govt.nz

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert