Covid-19: Are you entitled to a weekly $490 payment if you lose your job due to the pandemic?

Today the Government announced extra support for people who lose their jobs because of the pandemic.

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Carmel Sepuloni, alongside Finance Minister Grant Robertson, announced a temporary $490 a week tax free payment scheme for those who lose jobs. Source: 1 NEWS

The Covid Income Relief Payment will be available for 12 weeks from June 8 for people who have lost their job due to the impact of Covid-19 since March 1.

How much money am I eligible for?

The scheme will pay $490 a week for up to 12 weeks for people who lost full-time work and $250 for part-time.

Will the payment be taxed?

No, the payment will not be taxed.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said in order to get the money to people in the least complicated way, it was to pay the equivialent of what people were getting on the wage subsidy after tax.

I'm a student. Am I eligible?

Students who have lost part-time work as a result of Covid-19 may also be eligible for the part-time rate.

My partner is still in work. Am I eligible if I lose my job?

People with partners who are still working may be eligible for this payment, as long as their partner is earning under $2000 per week.

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Grant Robertson says the scheme is similar to ones in place after the Christchurch earthquakes and Global Financial Crisis. Source: 1 NEWS

What expectations and responsibilities do I have?

People who receive the Covid payment will be required to be available for and actively seeking suitable work opportunities while they receive the payment, as well as take appropriate steps towards gaining new employment and to identify and take opportunities for employment, re-deployment and training.

If their situation changes they need to declare that to the Ministry of Social Development.

The payment is available until October 30. Is there a more permanent solution on the cards?

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said work is underway on the possibility of a more permanent unemployment insurance scheme in New Zealand. The Future of Work Ministers group has commissioned the work following a request from Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.

Why aren't beneficiaries included?

Mr Robertson said the scheme is to "cushion the blow" for those whose circumstances have changed dramatically and have had a "shock in income". He also said some increases had already been made to benefit payments, but compared this scheme to the Job Loss Cover payment introduced by the previous Government during the Canterbury earthquakes and the ReStart package for workers who lost their jobs in the Global Financial Crisis.

How can I apply?

The Work and Income website has further information on eligibility criteria and on about how to apply.