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Help with essential costs by Work and Income, MSD

MSD will be delivering welfare related support following the introduction of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF), also known as the traffic lights system. MSD wants community members to access the support on offer. MSD offers employment support, hardship grants, in addition to income and food support. Ministry of Health will continue delivering health related support.

Income Limits for Extra Help – One off Payments:

Payment for one-off costs - Work and Income









What is recoverable and non-recoverable

Food is always non recoverable, so this never needs to be paid back. We also have payments such as dental where sometimes the first $300.00 once a year may not need to be paid back.

Most other payments do need to be paid back, however, depending on the situation it is worth talking to one of our frontline staff, as there are some situations that this isn’t required, like some urgent medical.

There isn’t an exhaustive list that states everything we can pay as a lot of our payments depend on the situation.


Here is a list of the most common payments that we may make:

Urgent or unexpected costs - Work and Income

What financial support is available (especially post wage subsidy)? (Check what you might get)

MSD can help with financial support for emergencies and ongoing needs. There is a wide range of information on the Work and Income website. You can apply for a main benefit online and check your eligibility for food assistance.

People can also ask for help by phone for other essential needs, for example emergency housing by calling 0800 559 009.

We can also test peoples eligibly for extra weekly income support based on their current wages, household income and expenses. This can either be done online here:

Check what you might get (msd.govt.nz)

If a person has COVID or is self-isolating due to being identified as a close contact

If you need extra help, you can contact MSD through the COVID-19 Welfare Line on 0800 512 337.


COVID-19 welfare phone line can help you with:

  • getting access to food and essential items

  • mobile data to keep in contact with friends and whānau

  • getting support for personal care or daily tasks

  • talking to your employer if worried about leave or pay

  • getting mental health support, or support with family or sexual violence.

Key employment contact

Michele Smith is a Work Broker who can be a key contact window for anyone looking to apply for one of our vacancies in Auckland Region. She can also assist with any business’s seeking to employ staff and wanting support to find the right person, or to look at what financial support can be offered to the business with hiring. Anyone legally able to work in New Zealand is eligible for this service.

Michele can be contacted on: Michele.Smith063@msd.govt.nz.

Alternatively, to use the language line and/ or have support with getting ready for employment or seeking out the job that suits your skills best, our Employment unit offers support with working through your needs and helping you move into the work that suits you best. To register for this support call: 0800 779 009.

MSD is frequently updating the vacancies that we hold across New Zealand.

This website with our most current positions can be found here: Work - Work and Income

Language lines

If a person is wanting support with applying for a job with us, they can call our Job Search call centre who can connect them to an interpreter on: 0800 779 009, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Otherwise for general enquires they can call us on 0800 559 009 and ask for an interpreter.

More information can be found here:

We speak other languages - Work and Income

If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to us or your MSD contact.


This information has been sourced from Auckland Ethnic Leaders' Forum with MSD Regional Commissioners.