Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship
The Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship is a weekly payment to help meet your living costs during your study breaks if you can't find work. You need to apply using the form on this page.
On this page:
General criteria for Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship
To get the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship you'll generally need to be eligible for, or have been receiving, a Student Allowance.
You also need to:
- be 18 years or older or
- be aged 16 or 17 and be married, in a civil union or in a de facto relationship or
- be aged 16 or 17, single, and meet the criteria for the Youth Payment or Young Parent Payment
- be registered for work with Student Job Search (or Work and Income)
- be actively looking for full-time work
- have been a full-time student immediately before your study break
- plan to study full-time after your study break
- be a New Zealand Citizen or a New Zealand resident who is entitled under the Immigration Act 2009 to reside indefinitely in New Zealand or
- be deemed to hold a residence class visa in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 2009 (For example, Australian citizens or residents)
- normally live in New Zealand
- not have other means of supporting yourself and any dependant family
- have little or no income
- have cash assets under $4,300 if you are single or $7,464 if you have a partner or child.
Please note - if you are:
- 16/17 years old, single and getting a Student Allowance or
- have not previously been in full-time study or
- you are a refugee or protected person,
you may still be eligible. Please apply so that we can consider your circumstances.
If you're in hardship and you don't qualify for the Student Allowance you may still be able to get the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship. You'll need to complete the Additional Hardship section inside the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship application form.
If you have a partner or a child and you're in hardship because your Student Allowance has stopped (and you're waiting for your Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship to start) you may be able to get the Student Allowance Transfer Grant. When you apply online for Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship, the system will determine your eligibility to Student Allowance Transfer Grant at the same time.
Read the special definitions that are used when talking about the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship.
How to apply
The best way to apply for your Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship is online. You can also apply for your Student Allowance or Student Loan for next year at the same time.
If you haven't receive a Student Allowance previously, you'll need to apply for one before we can finish processing your application for Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship.
The best way to apply for a Student Allowance is online. Make sure you give us all the details we need when we ask for them or it may delay your application.
If you can't apply online then you need to post your completed application and verified (signed and dated) documents to:
StudyLink Student Support Centre
Private Bag 11070
Palmerston North 4442.
If you didn't receive a Student Allowance this year, you need to apply for your next year's Student Allowance and your Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship.
How much you can get
The amount you get depends on your personal situation such as your age, living arrangements, income and assets.
The guide below shows the maximum amount you can get a week after tax at the 'M' rate. It doesn't include any Family Tax Credits or extra income support you may get.
Rates from 1 April 2013
|16-17 (special circumstances only)||$171.84|
|Single (18-19 living at home)||$137.47|
|Single (18-19 living away from home)||$171.84|
|Single (20-24 years)||$171.84|
|Single (25 years or over)||$206.21|
|Single with 1 or more children||$295.37|
|Married or civil union couple||$171.84 each|
If you are earning
When you get the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship you can earn up to $80 a week before tax before your benefit payments are affected. If you have a partner you can earn up to $80 a week before tax between you.
Your payments will drop by 70 cents for every dollar you earn over the $80 limit.
You need to let us know as soon as you find any kind of work including short-term or seasonal work. If you don't you could be overpaid - you'll have to pay this money back - and you could be prosecuted. Any extra help you get may also be affected by how much you earn.
If you have a partner
If your partner is included in your benefit they will also need to look for work and register with Student Job Search (if they're a student).
They won't need to do this if you have dependent children under 5. They can apply for an exemption from having to look for work if they are pregnant, ill, caring for a special needs child, caring for someone who would otherwise be in hospital, or home-schooling a child.
Please ask us if you think your partner may be exempt.
If you and your partner have an additional child while receiving the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship, your partner will be required to look for and be available for work once the youngest child turns one year of age. The age of your next youngest child will determine whether this work needs to be full-time or part-time.
How and when payments are made
Payments are made direct to your own bank account every week (this can be a joint account). If you live with a partner they also get payments every week.
The earliest you can get your Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship is in the third week of your break. That's because you have a stand-down period (this is the same for all benefits), and you're paid in arrears.
How long your stand-down is depends on your average income in the last 26 or 52 weeks (whichever is lower).
If you aren't eligible to receive a Student Allowance
You could be eligible to receive the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship even if you aren't eligible to receive a Student Allowance.
If you are not eligible for a Student Allowance, you need to apply online for the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship. When you apply online the system will assess and determine your eligibility under additional hardship.
If you are applying using a paper application you will need to complete the Additional Hardship section inside the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship application form.
While you receive the Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship, you are expected to be available for and actively seeking full-time work.
If you have a partner they may have different work obligations depending on the ages of any dependent children you and your partner have.
Meeting your work obligations means that you (and your partner):
- are available for full-time work. Suitable full-time work can be between 20 to 40 hours per week (or 10 to 20 hours a week if your obligation is for part-time work).
- are registered with Student Job Search or Work and Income as being available for work.
- will accept any suitable job within your abilities that is offered to you
Note: that this can include weekend work depending on your circumstances.
You could actively seek work by:
- searching online job sites, newspapers and other media for vacancies
- making applications for suitable jobs
- contacting employers about vacancies
Note: If you don't meet these obligations, your payments may be reduced, suspended or cancelled.
Looking for work
While you are receiving Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship you can earn up to $80 a week before tax before your benefit payments start to reduce. If you have a partner you can earn up to $80 a week before tax between you.
View the looking for work pages here for helpful ideas and links to job sites.