Tax free support for those losing jobs

From 8th June 2020, those who have lost their jobs due to the impacts of Covid-19 during the period 1st March 2020 to 30 October 2020, will be entitled to apply for and receive the Covid Income Relief Payment (CIRP).

CIRP is a 12 week scheme, payable at the rates of $490 per week for a full-time worker (usually worked more than 30 hours per week) and $250 per week for part-time workers (usually worked 15 – 29 hours per week). For those previously working less than 15 hours per week, CIRP is not available to them, and they will need to consider other financial assistance options already provided by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

CIRP will also be available to those self-employed persons, if due to Covid-19, their businesses are no longer viable, and there is no prospect of any further work or income.

For both affected employees and the self-employed, CIRP’s amounts received are tax-free, and will not be treated as income for either child support, Working for Families or student loan purposes.

A person may apply for CIRP provided they are either a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand resident and they normally live and work in New Zealand.

Income testing will apply to CIRP applicants, with no entitlement to the scheme arising;

  • should the applicants partner earn $2,000 or more gross per week in wages or salary,
  • should the applicant have received a redundancy payment of $30,000 or more,
  • should the applicant receive income protection insurance payments or,
  • should the applicant be receiving earnings-related ACC payments.

CIRP entitlements are not affected however by any non-work income the person receives such as rental income.

CIRP recipients cannot receive the Jobseeker Support benefit at the same time, and a person receiving CIRP is expected to seek work or retraining during the 12 week period, and should new work be found, then the CIRP payments will cease at this time.

Applications to receive CIRP can be made up until 13th November 2020