Recoverable Assistance Payment

A Recoverable Assistance Payment is a one-off payment to help you pay an essential or emergency cost if you can't pay it another way.


There's a temporary increase to income limits for this payment from 1 November 2021 to 28 February 2022. You can't be on a benefit to qualify for this payment and you will have to pay the money back.

  • Who can get it

    You may be able to get a Recoverable Assistance Payment if you:

    • don't get a benefit from us
    • have an essential or emergency cost you can't pay for
    • have no other way to pay for this cost
    • are either a:
      • New Zealand citizen or
      • permanent resident
    • normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here.

    It also depends on:

    • how much you and your partner earn
    • any money or assets you and your partner have.

    Income limits

    If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Annual income before tax is less than Weekly income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 28 February 2022 Annual income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 28 February 2022
    single, 16-17 years $514.41 $26,749.32 $640.00 $33,280
    single, 18+ years $591.20 $30,742.40 $800.00 $41,600
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $858.72 $44,653.44 $1600.00 $83,200
    sole parent (1 child) $717.40 $37,304.80 $1100.00 $57,200
    sole parent (2+ children) $755.82 $39,302.64 $1400.00 $72,800

    Asset limits

    These don't include what you need for day-to-day living, eg your home or your car. They do include money in the bank, or things like a caravan or a second property.

    If you are: Your assets are worth less than
    single $1,126.21
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,876.56
  • What you can get

    How much you get depends on your situation and what you need help with.

    Examples of costs we can help with are:

    • ambulance subscription fees
    • attendance at funerals and tangihanga
    • beds, chairs and tables
    • bonds and rents
    • car repairs
    • child carseat
    • clothing
    • costs to end your tenancy early, or sublet or assign your tenancy
    • dentures and hearing aids
    • driver licence
    • electricity, gas or water
    • fire loss or burglary
    • fridges, freezes and washing machines
    • glasses
    • school costs
    • school stationery
    • school uniforms
    • tenancy tribunal fees
    • travel if you're stranded.

    If you're not sure whether we can help, talk with us about your situation.

  • How to apply

    You need to call us on 0800 559 009

    We'll talk with you to understand your situation and how we can help. We'll let you know what information you need to provide and how to get this to us.

  • What happens next

    If your application is approved, we'll give you a payment card (if you don't already have one) and load the money onto it. We'll talk to you about how to get this to you.

    You have 7 days to spend the money before it expires.

    Using your payment card

    A payment card is like an Eftpos card and you can use it at any supermarket or store that accepts them.

    You can login to MyMSD to see how much you have left on your payment card and when it expires.

    Once you've used your payment card, keep it. You can use it again if you need help from us in the future.