Jobseeker Support helps people find work and provides them with a weekly payment.
Who can get it
You may get Jobseeker Support if:
- you can work full time and you’re taking steps to look for work, OR
- you are willing to work full time but you’re temporarily unable to work or you need to work fewer hours - for example, because of your health condition, injury or disability.
To get Jobseeker Support you generally need to be:
- not in employment and looking for a job, OR
- in part-time employment seeking more work, OR
- not in work, or working less than full time due to a health condition, injury or disability.
You also need to be:
- willing to accept suitable employment
- aged 18 years or over, or 19 and over if you have dependent children
- a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident who has lived here for at least two years at any one time since becoming a citizen or permanent resident, and who normally lives here.
If you meet the above criteria except for the one about how long you’ve lived in New Zealand, talk to us.
To get Jobseeker Support, and to keep receiving the weekly payments, you’ll need to do some required activities and meet a number of obligations.
This is a guide only. For more detail about who can get it read:
Support you can get
When on Jobseeker Support you can get support to:
- identify and develop your skills
- gain work experience and build work confidence
- write a CV and prepare for interviews
- find a job or maybe start a business
- sort out any barriers that may prevent you from working.
What you need to do
You may be required to complete ‘pre-benefit activities’ before receiving a benefit.
While on Jobseeker Support you’ll need to meet obligations to continue receiving the payments.
The obligations are different for different people. For example, if you have a health condition, injury or disability you may not have to meet some work obligations until your situation changes.
The main obligations you need to meet are to:
- work with us (or others we refer you to) to find a suitable job
- attend any job training courses or work assessments we request
- attend any interviews for suitable jobs and accept any suitable work offers
- show us you’re making an effort to find work
- take and pass a drug test if required by employers or training providers
- take reasonable steps to make sure any dependent children in your care access health services and education
- tell us if you’re travelling overseas, before you go, no matter how long you plan to be away or why you’re travelling - if you don't your benefit will automatically stop the day after you leave
- tell us if there are changes to your situation – for example, to your income or relationship
- clear any Ministry of Justice-issued arrest warrants for criminal matters.
For more detail about your obligations:
If you have a partner, their situation will be considered in your application and they may be required to complete pre-benefit activities. Your partner may also need to meet a number of obligations, depending on their circumstances.
If your partner is aged 16 or 17 (or 16 to 18 years if you have dependent children) they must work with a local Youth Service provider and meet obligations such as being in full-time education, training or work-based learning.
Having an additional child
If you have another dependent child while receiving Jobseeker Support, you’ll be expected to prepare for work before that child turns one year old.
You'll be required to then look for work from when the child turns one, depending on the age of your next youngest child.
What happens if you don’t meet your obligations
If you can’t meet your obligations, please talk to us. Unless you have a good reason for not meeting them, your benefit could reduce or stop.
On Jobseeker Support for more than 12 months
If you still require Jobseeker Support after 52 weeks you’ll have to re-apply for your benefit. We’ll let you know when you have to re-apply and tell you what you need to do.
When you re-apply, you’ll also need to complete a Comprehensive Work Assessment. This will identify what steps you've taken to find work and what help you might need from us to be more successful in getting a job.
What happens if you don’t reapply in time?
Your benefit will be stopped if you don’t reapply in time. In some cases you may be able to have an extension but you need to contact us immediately and explain your circumstances.
What does your partner need to do?
If you have a partner, then your partner will need to complete their section of your reapplication form.
If you don’t reapply for Jobseeker Support after 52 weeks, your partner’s portion of your benefit will also stop.
Partners with work obligations need to participate in and complete their own Comprehensive Work Assessment.
Payments depend on your situation.
Extra financial help
When you apply, you’ll be asked to give information that will help us to know whether you also qualify for any additional financial assistance, such as the Accommodation Supplement.
If you get Jobseeker Support, you’ll also receive a Community Services Card to help with the costs of prescriptions and going to the doctor.
If you have dependent children aged 18 or under, you will get Inland Revenue’s family tax credit while you’re on a benefit. You may be able to have your family tax credit paid with your benefit.
How long before you get your first payment?
Usually you receive your first payment two or three weeks after you’ve applied, but this can be longer depending on your situation – for example, if you received holiday or redundancy pay, or you left your last job without good reason.
If you’ve just finished a job that went for fewer than 26 weeks – for example, seasonal work – we may be able to restart your payments straight away.
If you’re a sole parent, any child support the other parent pays goes to the Government to help cover what you get from us. You can find out what they pay and ask for a review if you think it’s not enough. Once your benefit stops, the child support goes directly to you.
To find out more call Inland Revenue on 0800 221 221 or visit:
If you’re a sole parent, you can get up to $5,200 a year (before tax) in additional money before your benefit payment is affected, and $20 more a week if you have childcare costs.
If you’re not a sole parent you can get up to $80 a week (before tax) before your benefit payment is affected. If you have a partner, the $80 applies to your combined earnings.
Any income you get that’s not from Work and Income may affect extra financial help you get from us.
Support when you work
Depending on your income, when you work you may be able to get help with costs such as accommodation and childcare, or Working for Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue.
When you take on full-time work (30 hours or more a week), your benefit will stop, although you may still be able to get extra financial assistance.
Tell us if you start work
You must tell us straight away if you start work and we’ll talk to you about the impact on your payments and what else you may be eligible for.
For more information
Are you eligible?
Find out if you might get this benefit, what other financial assistance may be available to you, and what pre-benefit activities you may have.