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So where do I start?

You can start right here! We’ve outlined a few of the payments available to Kiwis in Australia – unfortunately, some types of assistance aren’t available to Kiwis unless you hold a specific type of visa or have been here for a certain amount of time. Once you’ve got a vague idea of what’s available, you’ll be in a better position to talk to Centrelink about what you need.

I just lost my job – can the Australian government help while I look for a new one?

Unfortunately, unless you’ve got permanent residency or you’ve been in Australia for 10 years or more on a SCV, and even then, only for six months – and only once.

I’m having a baby – will the Australian government help at all?

Congratulations! The Australian government will assist in small ways – if you have a baby while resident in Australia, no matter what your visa status, you will probably be eligible for a Family Tax Benefit (which is means tested), a child care payment and a maternal immunisation allowance.

Is it easy to get government payments in Australia?

Like all government departments, Centrelink (Australia’s benefits department) requires a dash of patience and a lot of seemingly invasive information – however, without that information, Centrelink will not make a determination about your eligibility to receive payments. It can be a tedious process, but once it’s set up and you’ve jumped through a few hoops along the way, things tend to run smoothly.

I already receive payments from the NZ government – can I continue to receive these while living in Australia?

You may be able to continue receiving New Zealand benefits for up to 26 weeks after you move – after which, you will either stop receiving these payments or file an application with the NZ Work and Income department to continue receiving these. It can take up to 6 weeks to change New Zealand payments to an overseas bank account – make sure you don’t close your New Zealand bank account before you receive your first payment into your Australian bank account!