If you're on a low income and in urgent need, we may be able to help you pay for food.
Talk to us first before you buy anything.
You don't have to pay the money back
Who can get it
You could find yourself in a situation where you've had to pay for an essential cost that means you don’t have enough money to pay for food.
Maybe you’ve had to pay for:
- a doctor's appointment
- dental treatment
- school clothes or materials for your child.
You may also find that you have less income this week because:
- you’ve been off work due to sickness but you’re not eligible for sick pay
- your hours are reduced unexpectedly.
Whatever your situation, we may be able to help if you:
- are 16 or over (if you're 16-18 and have a Youth Service provider, contact Youth Services)
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
- have an urgent and immediate need to buy food.
It also depends on:
- how much you and your partner earn
- any money or assets you and your partner have.
Your income will be assessed either weekly or yearly, depending on the kind of help you qualify for. These income limits usually apply:
If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Annual income before tax is less than single, 16-17 years $485.32 $25,236.64 single, 18+ years $557.78 $29,004.56 married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $810.15 $42,127.80 sole parent (1 child) $676.84 $35,195.68 sole parent (2+ children) $713.09 $37,080.68
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 $1,062.51 married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,770.44
What you can get
How much you get depends on your situation.
You can only use the money for food and essential grocery items, eg toiletries. You can’t get other things, eg, alcohol, cigarettes, gift cards, vouchers, etc.
How to apply
You can call us to discuss your situation. We might be able to grant your request over the phone, otherwise you'll need to come in and see 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.
You have 3 days to spend the money before it expires.
A payment card is like an Eftpos card and you can use it at any supermarket or store that accepts them.