Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni is at the helm of an unprecedented roll-out of financial support for Kiwi families

Frontline financial support

by Andy Bryenton

The implications for society in terms of Covid-19 are massive, starting with a fresh perspective on the value of working together as a community. On the economic frontlines right now are the staff of the Ministry of Social Development, and their message is clear ‘we are here to help your family get through this.’ 

Work and Income’s mahi is carrying on as an essential service during the alert level four Covid-19 restrictions, says Eru Lyndon, Northland Regional Public Service Lead and Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development. 

Despite the office doors remaining closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Work and Income staff are continuing to support Northland communities. 

“We understand that some of our whanau will be concerned about the assistance they or other whanau members receive. We’d like to let them know that their payments will continue as normal.” 

All benefit payments and superannuation payments will continue as normal despite Work and Income offices being closed. The Ministry of Social Development is making it easier for new and existing Work and Income clients by making changes to the way they work — such as deferring reviews and medical certificates. Lyndon says this means Northland whanau can focus on their health, wellbeing and families during this time. 

Anyone who has been negatively affected by the virus and the necessary lockdown is encouraged to make an application. 

“From Tuesday to Friday last week (March 24–27) our call centres responded to more than 75,000 phone calls,” says Lyndon. 

“Our service centres carried out more than 49,000 phone appointments or other client conversations, and our processing centres completed more than 56,000 tasks such as applications for hardship assistance, student allowances, and changes in circumstances. By day three of lockdown, we had paid out $2.7 billion for 428,768 workers under the Covid-19 wage and leave subsidy.” 

Contact MSD on my.msd.govt.nz/, or call Work and Income 0800 559 009.