Everything you need to know about the Winter Energy Payment
Winter is well and truly here. For many households across New Zealand, this means higher energy bills as we switch on the heaters and electric blankets in an effort to stay warm as the chilly weather settles in.
To help offset these costs, the government is rolling out a brand new initiative. The Winter Energy Payment provides superannuitant, veterans and other eligible candidates with weekly payments to deal with the additional expenses involved with keeping warm, safe and comfortable over the colder months.
Are you eligible? How much money can you expect to receive? And when does the Winter Energy Payment go into effect? We’ve rounded up everything you’ll need to answer these questions and more.
What is the Winter Energy Payment?
Part of the government’s new Families Package initiative, the Winter Energy Payment is designed to help people across Aotearoa deal with the extra cost of heating their homes during the winter months.
Think of the Winter Energy Payment as an income top-up. It’s not tied to your energy account, it doesn’t affect any other benefits or entitlements you may receive, and there’s no expectation that you’ll use the money to pay your power bill. Simply put, the Winter Energy Payment is a small financial injection that can be used however you see fit.
Who is eligible?
More than a million people will be able to get the Winter Energy Payment, including people receiving superannuation and Veteran’s Pension, as well as those on a main benefit. People in private rest home care will also qualify, but those in full-time supported residential care are not eligible. You don’t need to apply to get this payment - if you qualify, it will be paid to you automatically, in addition to any other regular payments you usually receive.
You might qualify for the Winter Energy Payment if you receive one of the following:
- New Zealand Superannuation
- Veteran’s Pension
- Emergency Maintenance Allowance
- Jobseeker Support
- Jobseeker Support Student Hardship
- Sole Parent Support
- Supported Living Payment
- Youth Payment
- Young Parent Payment
- Emergency Benefit
How much do I get?
The exact amount of money you will receive depends on your specific circumstances.
- A single qualifying person will receive $20.46 per week.
- Qualifying couples and families (defined as a person with dependent children) will receive $31.82 per week.
This amounts to $450 per year for a single person and $700 for a couple or families, though the amount is slightly reduced this year as the payments are starting later than they will from 2019 onward.
In 2018, you will receive the payments from July 1 to September 2018, for a total of 16 payments. In the future, the payments will be extended from May 1 to September, for a total of 22 payments. The payments are non-taxable and can’t be paid in a single lump sum.
What happens if you travel overseas during the payment period?
Planning on taking a trip overseas over winter? When you leave the country, you’ll continue to receive the Winter Energy Payment for the first four weeks of your trip, but payments will stop from the start of the fifth week. If you return to New Zealand after five weeks but before the Winter Energy Payment period ends, you’ll need to make a request to restart the payments. You can use this online form to restart payments or stop payments if you do not wish to receive them.
If you are interested in switching to Pulse Energy, please give our friendly team a call on 0800 785 733.