Collecting your information

Learn about why and how we collect your information, and the types of information we collect.

Why we collect information

We collect your information so we can:

  • contact you
  • identify you
  • work out:
    • how we can help you
    • what you qualify for
    • how much to pay you
  • look at what other services might help, including:
    • employment
    • education
    • living needs
    • housing
  • keep us all safe when we're working together.

Information we need to give you a benefit or payment

There's certain information we need to give you a benefit or payment, eg:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • bank account number.

You can choose not to give us this information but it means that we can't pay you. We can still help you in other ways, eg refer you to another organisation.

How we collect your information

We collect information from you when we work with you, eg, when you:

  • talk to us over the phone
  • meet us in a Service Centre
  • communicate with us online
  • save or submit applications.

We collect your information from other people in certain situations, eg, your partner when you make a joint application.

Types of information we collect

  • Information you give us

    We collect your basic details so that we can contact you and identify you. This includes your:

    • name
    • date of birth
    • address.

    We collect other information when we need to, eg, to help you and work out what you qualify for. This includes details of your:

    • children and family situation
    • relationship status (eg, if you're married or living with your partner)
    • financial information (eg, your costs, income and assets)
    • housing situation and costs
    • medical and health information
    • employment history
    • educational history
    • residence status.

    Information for research

    Some of the information we collect helps us with research and reporting. For example, your ethnicity information could be included in our statistical reporting. This tells us how well our services are helping different ethnic groups.

    We may also ask you for information about your experiences with our services. This helps us to see if our services are working and how we can improve them.

  • Information we get from other people or organisations

    We may need to collect information about you from other people or organisations, eg from:

    • your family
    • your school
    • your employer
    • your landlord
    • organisations that have information about you.

    People in your family

    We may get information from:

    • your partner – when you make a joint application
    • your parents or guardians – if you're under 18 and apply for a youth services payment or student allowance.

    Your school, employer or landlord

    We may get information from:

    • your education provider, eg, to confirm your enrolment and academic results
    • your previous and current employer, eg, to confirm your employment situation and how much you get paid (if we're subsidising your wages)
    • your landlord, eg, to confirm how much rent you pay and help work out if you get an income-related rent subsidy
    • your emergency housing provider, eg, to confirm how much you're paying to stay at your accommodation.

    Other government agencies

    We may get information from other government agencies when we have legal agreement with them. This could be to:

    • give you and your family support, eg:
      • Inland Revenue for Working for Families Tax Credits
      • Corrections about people who are leaving prison so we can help them get a job
    • check if you can get the benefits we offer you, eg, ACC to check if you're getting any payments from them.

    Organisations that have information about you

    We may get information from:

    • childcare centres, eg, to check if you can get childcare assistance
    • our contracted service providers, eg, to confirm you're doing what they've asked you to do
    • overseas governments that we have a mutual superannuation (pension) agreement with, eg, to make sure you're getting the correct payments
    • other organisations, eg, New Zealand Police, your bank or financial institution - this could be when we make a specific request under:
      • the Privacy Act 1993 for information about charges or convictions, to keep us all safe when we're working together, or
      • schedule 6(2) of the Social Security Act 2018 to confirm that you're allowed to get the payment or benefit you're getting.
  • Information we create and record

    Information we create about you

    When you first make contact with Work and Income, we will create an identification number for you. This is also called a SWN (Social Welfare Number) or client number.

    We also create information to help us work out how we can best help you, such as:

    Information we record

    We record information like:

    • the service centre you visit
    • important details about you to help us provide the right services for you, eg, a significant disability that makes it difficult for you to visit our sites
    • your time with us as a client, eg:
      • applications you've made
      • applications we've approved
      • applications we've declined
      • amount of weekly assistance you're paid
      • benefit history, such as how long you're on a benefit
    • calls to our Contact Centres (we also use these for training and quality purposes).

    We keep records of:

    • the decisions we make about your eligibility for products or services
    • meetings, including any notes made during the meeting
    • conversations, including advice given and actions that have been made.

    Audio conversations of calls to our Contact Centres are kept for 90 days and then deleted. We'll continue to keep records of the details of these conversations.

    Things we might record include:

    • your circumstances, so you only need to tell your story once
    • comments about how ready you are for work
    • your behaviour (particularly where there are safety concerns).

    Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

    We have CCTV in place in all of our public offices to monitor your safety and the safety of our staff. It records video images but not sound. We'll access CCTV footage if we need to investigate or review a health and safety or security incident.

    We also have CCTV operating outside a limited number of our public offices to help our security guards protect your safety, the safety of our staff and the safety of our buildings.

  • Information we collect when you're online

    What information we collect

    We use cookies to collect information about how you use our websites and online tools. Cookies are small files stored on your device that hold information specific to you and the website or online tool you're using. They are designed to allow websites to tailor the information you see, or to save your information between visits so you don’t have to start again.

    The types of information we collect include the:

    • IP address of the device being used
    • type of browser being used, eg, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox
    • type of device, eg PC. laptop, phone, tablet.

    If you're using one of our online services, eg MyMSD, we will also collect login information, eg:

    • date of last login
    • your preferred login method
    • any failed login attempts.

    What we use this information for

    Our systems remove any information that might identify you and send the rest to Google Analytics. We then use Google Analytics to get information like:

    • how many clients are online
    • what page of the website was visited most in a given time period
    • what parts of the country clients are connecting from
    • what types of devices clients use.

    This information helps us improve our websites and online tools, eg to make sure they work well on all the types of devices our clients use.

    We collect IP and browser information to help identify that you’re the same person as last time. We do this for your security.