If you feel like you need support when you visit or phone Work and Income, here are some options:
You can take a support person with you anytime you visit Work and Income. A support person can be a family or whānau member, or a friend or carer. You might need them to help fill in forms or maybe to take notes during appointments so you don’t forget any important information.
An advocate can provide you with information and support. They have experience with Work and Income and may be able to help you access all your entitlements.
There are a number of Work and Income advocates around the country. You can ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Work and Income office about advocates in your region, or you can search the Family Services Directory. Some of the larger advocacy groups are Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) in Christchurch and Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Service (BIAS) in the North Shore.
A representative is someone who acts on your behalf. You might need someone to represent you if you cannot go to a Work and Income office, for example, if you are unwell in hospital. But, they will need your written consent first.
If you have trouble communicating because you have hearing impairments, or if English is your second language, you should discuss this with Work and Income when you arrange an appointment.
If you let Work and Income know you want a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter at your meeting, they will book one and pay for it. Learn more about services at Work and Income for the Deaf and hearing or speech impaired.
Work and Income has multilingual helplines if English is your second language. Helplines are available in Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Mandarin, Hindi, Farsi, Punjabi and Cantonese and operate Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
If you are unhappy with the service provided by Work and Income, you can make a complaint. You can also request a formal review from Work and Income if you do not agree with a decision that they have made.