Even if you are not on a main benefit i.e. Unemployment, Sickness, Domestic Purposes, Invalids or NZ-Super you may still have entitlement to "Extra Assistance". It pays to check it out as you may be missing out on money you are entitled to. (even if you are working you may have entitlement.) All extra assistance (with the exception of Unsupported Child's Benefit & Child Disability Allowance) is income and asset tested so give us a ring to find out what the cut off points are or ring the W&I links centre (0800 559 009) and ask them. As a Beneficiaries advocate we are up to date on what is available from Work & Income (W&I).
"Extra Assistance" refers to things like the Special Needs Grants (SNG) and is, for the most part, non-recoverable so you do not have to pay it back. There are also "Advances" which must be repaid from any benefit assistance you get from W&I at an interest free low rate.
There is the "Disability Allowance". This helps to pay for any medical costs associated with a medical condition that is ongoing for six months or more. This includes things like Asthma, high blood pressure, etc and doesn't have to be a major illness. Costs can include Doctors visits, medication, gardening, power etc.
There is also "Temporary Additional Support" (TAS). This is a calculated extra payment that can be paid after taking into account things like your accommodation costs, Hire Purchases (conditions apply) and income, etc. This can be paid for up to twenty six weeks after which you are sent a re-application form to fill out and send back to W&I to see if you still have entitlement. If you do and have supplied the re-application then the payment does not stop. The first thing that needs to happen is for either you or an advocate (make an appointment with us first) to ring the Work & Income Call centre on 0800 559 009 and ask for a complete breakdown of your benefit. This must include what you have available in Special Needs Grants (SNG) and Advance Entitlements and also what outgoings you have coming out of your benefit. With this information, we as advocates would ask you questions about your current situation like "Do you have a medical condition that is costing you money?" "Are you getting a disability allowance to help pay for this?" If you are then this may need reviewing due to an increase or change to the costs. If you aren't, we will suggest you apply for this as clearly you are missing out on this assistance (Income dependant). If you are entitled to SNG then we may assist/suggest that you apply for a food grant.
If you do have some advance entitlement available then remember to always get a quote for the item you want to purchase and make an appointment at W&I to apply. Do not pay for it first as you will not be reimbursed. For more information please links BAIS on 09 444 9543 or links W&I on 0800 559 009.