Work and Income delivers hardship assistance to people who have immediate and essential needs for specific items or services.
Those who may be eligible for this assistance include:
Hardship assistance is paid as a one-off payment to meet specific essential expenses. This assistance can be provided as:
Hardship assistance may be:
Clients are required to pay back recoverable assistance to Work and Income.
From August 2008, the maximum amount available for Special Needs Grants for food was doubled. This may have slowed growth in the number of Special Needs Grants made for food, as clients with proven needs were able to receive larger amounts per payment than previously.
From September 2010, clients requiring hardship assistance more than three times in a 12-month period are required to show they have taken reasonable steps to increase their income, to reduce their costs, or to improve their financial management. This may include undertaking budgeting activities.