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COVID-19: Welfare and social sector support for family, whānau, and āiga carers

The work that carers do everyday provides an important and invaluable contribution to those they care for and their communities. We recognise that there’ve been extra challenges as part of the COVID-19 pandemic and want to ensure that you have access to any support that you might need, so we’ve brought together the following information on the different help available across the welfare and social sector.

The information on this page may change, so please regularly check in for updates on the different services and supports available.

Latest information

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit:

Access to food and other essentials

It’s important for you and your family to be able to access food and other essentials when you need it. If you need financial assistance to help pay for food, you may be able to get help through Work and Income. You don’t need to be an existing Work and Income client to get this help.

Call Work and Income on: 0800 559 009

If you’d like more information on accessing food, including guidance on getting food delivered if you are sick or isolating, you can download a factsheet.

General financial support

You may be eligible for financial help from Work and Income for urgent costs like:

  • accommodation (rent, board, mortgage)
  • repairing or replacing appliances
  • emergency dental treatment
  • emergency medical treatment
  • health travel costs

You don’t need to be on a benefit to get help. You can find out more information about financial support on the Work and Income website COVID-19 Support page or check what else you might be eligible for using their Check what you might get tool.

If you’re not sure what you might be eligible for, or you’d like to talk to someone about your situation, you can call Work and Income on 0800 559 009

Work and Income clients

You can use MyMSD at to update your personal details, check your payments and apply for help with things like one-off costs for food. If you still need help, you can call Work and Income on 0800 559 009

For more information about COVID-19 support and changes, visit the COVID-19 support page on the Work and Income website.

Help for carers

Information on carer focused support is available on the Work and Income website.

Please check the website regularly for the most up to date information.

Help for carers in paid employment (including self-employed)

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 is available to support employers and self-employed people, so that they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs.

If you have a paid job outside of your caring role, talk to your employer to see if they have applied for the scheme and if you are eligible for the payment.

For more information, including details on payment rates and how to apply if you’re an employer, please visit the Work and Income website.

Leave Support Scheme

If you can’t work from home and are required to self-isolate because you meet certain health criteria, your employer may be eligible for the Leave Support Scheme to help keeping pay you. You can also get the Leave Support Scheme if you’re self-employed.

The health criteria for the scheme includes situations where:

  • You are the caregiver of a dependant who has been told to self-isolate for a period by a doctor or health official through the National Contact Tracing process, and the dependant needs support to do so safely
  • You have household members who are considered “higher risk” if they contract COVID-19 and a doctor has told you to self-isolate (this is to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to vulnerable household members)

Talk to your employer about your situation and whether they may be able to apply for the Leave Support Scheme to help keep paying you.

Short-Term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for employers and self-employed people to help pay their employees who can’t work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result, or who are a parent or caregiver of a dependant who is staying home while waiting for their COVID-19 test results.

Talk to your employer about your situation and whether they may be able to apply for the Short-Term Absence Payment to help keep paying you.

Keeping up to date

Please keep checking the key government sites for more information on the COVID response:

What other information do you need?

If you have questions or other information you would like to see as a carer please use the links and numbers throughout this resource or get in touch with:

For guidance on any health issues, call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 or contact your local general practice.

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