Words we use

The meanings of some words and acronyms we use on this site and in our publications.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Word or abbreviation Definition


abatement Where the benefit is reduced because of income that a person receives.
Alternative Assessment

A health or disability assessment provided to support an application for Invalid's Benefit. Some of the sources of an alternative assessment include:

  • health practitioners' or specialists' reports
  • Group Special Education (GSE) reports
  • Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination (NASC) agency assessments
  • written confirmation from GP, specialist or hospital.
Appeal Authority / The Authority Refers to the Social Security Appeal Authority. This is an independent judicial tribunal made up of people who don't work for the Ministry of Social Development.
Approved Out of School Care and Recreation programme (OSCAR) An OSCAR programme that has been approved as a Community Service under the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989. A letter of approval is given to the OSCAR provider by Child, Youth and Family that details their current certification.


beneficiary A person who has been granted a benefit and also includes their partner if some or all of that benefit is payable to them.
benefit Financial assistance from the government.
Benefit Review Committee (BRC) A 3-member panel that is established to review decisions made by the Ministry to ensure that decisions are fair and correct with regard to procedure and the law.


capacity for work A person's ability to work. This takes into account any health condition, injury or disability the person may have.
case manager A Work and Income employee who works with clients.
cash assets Assets that a person and their partner have, such as savings, shares, stocks, bonds, loans to others.
It doesn't include motor, caravan, boat or other vehicle with a market value of less than $2,000, or which a person or their family privately uses.
CDA Child Disability Allowance.
child A single person under the age of 18 years who is financially dependent on their parents or carer. It also includes a person who is 18 who is not financially independent and attending school or tertiary study up until the end of the school year in which they turn 18.
civil union A legally recognised union similar to marriage between 2 people. A civil union relationship is treated in the same way as a marriage relationship for the purposes of income assistance.
Customer Service Representative (CSR) A Work and Income employee who is based at a contact centre and responds to enquiries over the phone.


de-facto relationship

A de facto relationship is when 2 people:

  • are both 16 or older and
  • live together as a couple in the nature of a marriage or civil union.

For more information about relationships and how we work out if you're in a relationship see: Relationships and income assistance.

If you or your partner are 16 or 17

If you or your partner are 16 or 17, a Family Court Judge must consent to your relationship. You'll need to show us the court order from the Family Court Judge.

Before 14 August 2018, we accepted written consent from the parents of the 16-17 year old. If you've already given the parents' consent to us before then, we can still use it. You don't need to get consent from a Family Court Judge.

How to get consent from a Family Court Judge

dentist A health practitioner who is, or is deemed to be, registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand and cares for any disease, disorder or condition of the teeth.
dependent child

A child (whether own, stepchild, adopted, grandchild or mokopuna) is considered dependent if they are:

  • primarily under the care and responsibility of the person
  • living with that person as a member of their family
  • substantially reliant on that person for financial support.


employment coordinator A Work and Income employee who works with sole parents, people with a health condition and disabled people to help them find suitable work. Employment co-ordinators also work with employers and other agencies to ensure clients get the right support.
employment-related training course

A course is generally employment related where it will either:

  • provide specific work skills which will improve a person's employment opportunities
  • be a related training course which will provide confidence and competence to participate in a specific work skills course (this includes self-awareness, self-confidence and assertiveness courses).

The course must also be provided by a secondary school or tertiary institution.

Enduring Power of Attorney An Enduring Power of Attorney, unlike an ordinary Power of Attorney, operates after a person becomes mentally incapacitated.
essential living costs

These may include (but are not limited to):

  • rent
  • food
  • power
  • clothing.
ex gratia

A payment made to a person without legal obligation or acceptance of liability in recognition of harm experienced by that person.


financially interdependent Financially interdependent means that a person and their partner rely on both of their joint finances to support themselves and/or family. It doesn't mean that both of them need to be contributing equally. For example, if one person's income is a lot more than their partner's, they might pay the mortgage and most of the bills, and the other person might pay for the weekly shopping.
full-time student A person enrolled in a full-time course, or was enrolled in the semester or academic year just ended and who is or intends to be enrolled in a full time course in the next semester or academic year.
full-time work

Full-time work is paid work for 30 hours or more each week. This includes temporary or casual employment during any week that a person works for 30 hours or more.


grant date The date a person becomes entitled to a benefit. This is not the date the payment will be made. Normally the first payment is made during the following week.
gross wage A person's wage before any tax is taken out.


Health and Disability Coordinator (HDC) A Work and Income employee responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with health and disability providers, in particular with health practitioners.
Health condition This includes illness, sickness and a medical condition. For the purpose of getting income assistance, it can also mean pregnancy after the 26th week.
Health practitioner

A health practitioner is a person registered with an authority as a practitioner of a particular profession under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

This includes a:

  • Chiropractor
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dentist
  • Dispensing Optician
  • Medical Practitioner
  • Medical Radiation Technologist
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychotherapist
high level of care A high level of care is when a person has received care from a caregiver who was living with them and that care enabled them to remain in the community without receiving home-based disability services or it delayed their entry into residential care.
hospital care Hospital care means in-patient or residential care. It does not mean that the patient is under the care of a hospital specialist or receiving out-patient care.
host doctor A host doctor is someone who signs a person’s medical certificate and is usually their health practitioner, but can also be their dentist or midwife who must have a current practicing certificate.
Health Practitioner Index (HPI) A unique identifier for each health practitioner in New Zealand. The HPI number is on a health practitioner's annual practising certificate.


ICD10 International Classification of Diseases Version 10 - New Zealand currently has two coding systems for clinical diagnosis - ICD10 codes for inpatient events (used by hospitals) and READ codes for primary care events (used by health practitioners, Ministry of Health, and Accident Compensation Corporation).
income Income is any money a person gets before income tax is taken out. For example: wages, salary, commission, and Parental Leave payments.
income-tested benefit

This includes any of the following benefits:

  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • New Zealand Superannuation - non-qualified partner included
  • Orphan's Benefit
  • Unsupported Child's Benefit
  • Jobseeker Support
  • Veteran's Pension - non-qualified partner included
  • Young Parent Payment
  • Youth Payment
  • Emergency Benefit
  • Emergency Maintenance Allowance.
in-work tax credit A payment by Inland Revenue to working families with dependent children who qualify.


Job Search Service Work and Income's service to assist working age clients to find employment within 13 weeks.


Limited Service Volunteers (LSV) A 6-week residential motivational training scheme for young job seekers, run by the New Zealand Defence Force.


MAP The Manual and Procedures our staff use.
married rate (in relation to New Zealand Superannuation) The total amount payable to a married, civil union or de-facto couple, who are both entitled to get New Zealand Superannuation.
MDA Medical Disability Advisor - an on-line tool used by the Ministry to provide benchmarks on disability or incapacity duration based on job classification.
midwife A health practitioner who is registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and trained to provide the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the period after childbirth up to 6 weeks.
MSD Ministry of Social Development.
MYD Ministry of Youth Development.


NAC National Accounting Centre - the centralised purchasing, payment and processing service for the Ministry.
net equity The net equity in a property is the house and/or land value minus the outstanding mortgage only (not including any interest on the mortgage).
Net equity in a vehicle, caravan or boat is the amount of money you would get if you sold it at its current market value and after you had paid any debts owing on it.
net wage A person's wage after tax is taken out.
non-cash assets

Things you own that are easily converted to cash. Examples of non-cash assets are:

  • leisure boats
  • caravans
  • land or buildings other than your home, eg holiday homes.
NZS New Zealand Superannuation.


Offender Reintegration Programme A joint initiative between the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Social Development that aims to help prisoners find employment on release.
open employment Employment that isn't sheltered employment.
ordinarily resident Ordinarily resident means a person who is normally and lawfully in New Zealand, intends to stay here and considers New Zealand to be their home. This also includes the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau if you're applying for NZ Super or Veteran's Pension.

In deciding if someone is ordinarily resident we look at:

  • their intentions towards these countries, including their reasons for periods of absence and return
  • the length of time they spend in these countries on a continual basis
  • property and asset ownership. Do they own a home or any other large assets in these countries?
  • the location of their cash assets: investments and bank accounts
  • whether their income is earned in these countries or overseas
  • whether they pay taxes in these countries
  • whether they still vote in or still qualify to vote in these countries general elections
  • their commitment to these countries, such as involvement in the community, clubs or other groups.

Generally you're not considered to be ordinarily resident in these countries if you either:

  • leave them for more than 26 weeks, or
  • spend more time outside of them than inside.

Please note: a person cannot be ordinarily resident in 2 places at the same time.

other authorised agency

Other authorised agencies include:

  • iwi social services
  • cultural social services
  • child and family support services

These services must be approved under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 by the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki.

For the purposes of Unsupported Childs Benefit, however, other iwi or cultural involvement may be sufficient (a hui or cultural meeting, for example).

Out of School Care and Recreation programme (OSCAR) An OSCAR programme that has been approved by the Ministry of Social Development Approvals Team. The provider is given a letter of approval that details their current certification. More information is available at the overview of the OSCAR Approval process page


paid employment Paid employment includes employment for which a person gets non-monetary benefits, such as free board, payments in kind, or drawings from an unprofitable business.
partner A person's partner is someone they are legally married to, in a civil union or de facto relationship with.
For the purpose of applying for income assistance, a person and their partner must be committed to each other and financially interdependent. For more information about relationships and how we work out if you are in a relationship see: Relationships and income assistance.
part-time work Work that is less than 30 hours per week.
PATHS Providing Access To Health Solutions - an initiative (between Work and Income, DHBs, PHOs and community-based NGO providers) offering intensive case management to assist people with complex health or disability needs into work.
pay day The day a benefit is due to be paid.
PDEP Personal Development and Employment Plan - a plan made with non work-tested clients.
Planning and Assessment Module (PAM)

A group seminar that forms part of the Job Search Service. Clients will meet as a group to;

  • complete their RecruitMe profile
  • access work brokerage services
  • complete a Self Assessment of their job search requirements to help determine their next activity.
Power of Attorney A Power of Attorney is a formal legal document, giving one person the right to act on behalf of another person. It can be general, for example, allowing the agent to look after all financial matters, or specific, such as managing a bank account while the person is overseas.
principal caregiver (in relation to a dependant child) The person who has the primary responsibility for the day to day care of the child on a permanent basis. It does not include owners or employees of any childcare home or institution.
proof of identity Identification that shows who you are and your New Zealand residency status, such as a birth certificate, current passport or citizenship papers.
psychologist A health practitioner who is, or is deemed to be, registered with the Psychologists Board as a practitioner of the profession of psychology.


Regional Commissioner (RC) A Work and Income Employee who is responsible for leading their region and ensuring responsiveness and flexibility in developing, implementing and monitoring solutions to the social and labour market issues within their area.
Regional Director (RD) Responsible for the management of Work and Income's regional performance and the delivery of services in service centres and the community.
Regional Disability Advisor (RDA) A Work and Income employee who provides advice and recommendations on disability factors associated with benefit applications and the appropriateness of services.
READ Codes A diagnostic classification standard for coding health conditions in primary care.
RecruitMe RecruitMe is the system used by Work and Income to match job seekers to job vacancies.
redundant A person's employment is terminated because their employer have decided that the person's position is in excess to their needs.
redundancy payment A payment (after income tax is taken off) to a person who is being made redundant.

A refugee is a person who is lawfully in New Zealand whose refugee status has been recognised by:

  • the Minister of Immigration or an immigration officer appointed under the Immigration Act 1987
  • the Refugee Status Appeal Authority, or
  • a court on appeal or by way of judicial review from the decision made by the Minister, Immigration Officer or Authority.
regular (in relation to work)

Work which isn't either:

  • casual employment
  • employment on call if there are no specified hours in the person's employment contract.
rehabilitation A process aimed at enabling disabled people to reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric and/or social functional levels. It includes a wide range of measures and activities from more basic and general rehabilitation to goal-oriented activities, for instance vocational rehabilitation.
reside To live in a place permanently or for an extended period.
Review of Decision (ROD) An opportunity for a client to apply for a formal review of a decision that has been made about their financial assistance.
Regional Health Advisor (RHA) A Work and Income employee responsible for providing advice and recommendations on health factors associated with benefit applications and the appropriateness of services.


salary or wages Any money or award gained from employment. This includes commission.
Services to Employers An initiative that delivers services to employers according to their potential to provide Work and Income clients with sustainable employment opportunities.
sheltered employment Employment conditions that have been designed to cater for the needs of a person's disability or health condition.
SNG Special Needs Grant.
Specialised Assessment An assessment undertaken by a health or disability practitioner, engaged by Work and Income, to provide detailed information not able to be obtained elsewhere (eg addiction medicine specialist, psychologist, community worker). Work and Income meets the cost of this service. The requirement for a specialised assessment will be established by the regional health advisor or the regional disability advisor.
Specified beneficiary (for Youth Clients)

A person who is married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship and receives one of the following in their own right:

  • Emergency Benefit
  • Jobseeker Support
  • Supported Living Payment - health condition, injury or disability
  • New Zealand Superannuation for people who are married, in a civil union or de facto relationship whose spouse is not entitled to receive Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension
  • Veteran's Pension for people who are married, in a civil union or de facto relationship whose spouse is not entitled to receive Superannuation or a Veteran's Pension.
stable employment Employment measure - in employment more than 91 days.
suitable employment Work that is suited to a person taking into account their circumstances. It can be work for any number of hours a week that is less than or equal to the hours needed to satisfy the work test.
supporting a young person

You take the main responsibility for a young person and:

  • they are part of your family
  • they depend on you financially
  • they are not in paid full time work (30 hours or more a week)
  • you are not receiving payments from Child, Youth and Family on behalf of them.


temporary employment Full employment that is for less than 26 weeks.

Targeted Health Intervention - an initiative for clients who have a health condition or disability, who;

  • want to return to full-time work
  • require a single health intervention to enable them to return to work
  • are unable to access the intervention through the public health system within three months.
TOP Training Opportunities Programme.


UCB Unsupported Child's Benefit.


Voluntary Work Work undertaken that is not paid employment (other than reimbursement of direct expenses) for a non-profit community organisation or other person. This does not include Activities in the Community, or work undertaken as part of a work experience or work exploration activity.


WINZ Work and Income New Zealand - a former name for Work and Income.


Youth Service Youth Service offers guidance and practical support to young people receiving financial assistance or who are not in employment, education, training or work-based learning.
YP Youth Payment
YPP Young Parent Payment