COVID-19 Welfare Response and Costs Eligible for Reimbursement

  • Primary responsibility for welfare related costs from responding to and recovering from an emergency normally rests with local communities. However, central Government recognises the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 emergency and the pressure it is placing on local authorities.
  • In addition to a range of other measures now in place from other agencies, particularly the Ministry of Social Development, central Government has amended Section 33 of the Guide to the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2015 (‘the Guide’).
  • This change enables Local Authorities to recover the welfare costs they incur when supporting people required to self-isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including pet food for companion animals. The rest of the guidance remains the same.

Guidance for those seeking assistance from Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

Guidance for Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups

Guidelines for the new provision 

  • The change to section 33 is designed specifically to support the COVID-19 response. It is intended to complement, not replace, existing Government support measures already in place. We strongly recommend CDEM Groups/Local Authorities encourage affected people to seek support and information first from their employers, the Ministry of Social Development/Work and Income, the 0800 Government Helpline (0800 779 997), and the website.
  • Local Authorities will have discretion to decide who should receive the support, based on their assessment of an applicant’s needs providing that:
    • The applicant is either self-isolating or is confined in their accommodation consistent with medical or Government direction; and
    • They have exhausted other means of government support (or are not eligible for support, for example because of their citizenship) 

Eligible costs  

  • Local authorities can recover the following direct, full costs from the Government, in accordance with temporary revisions to Section 33 of the Guide to the National CDEM Plan:
    • the full direct costs of accommodating, transporting, feeding (including pet food for companion animals) and clothing people who either; 
      1. cannot continue to live in their usual place of residence as a result of an emergency; or 
        are required to confine themselves or self-isolate in-situ (either in their own residence or more suitable alternative accommodation) due to having or being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, or under measures taken as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response - particularly at COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 or 4. 
      2. This applies while displaced people are en route to, or in, emergency accommodation such as halls or marae.   
  • Marae and other organisations providing such accommodation, can invoice local authorities who will then claim reimbursement from NEMA. Where a marae considers it culturally inappropriate to invoice a local authority for providing this service, the local authority may seek reimbursement of any koha provided to the marae for the provision of emergency accommodation. 

Ineligible costs 

  • Local authority overheads and indirect costs such as staff time and the Emergency Operations Centre activation costs, office space, and the use of vehicles are not eligible for recovery. 

The claims process 

The claims process is set out in the diagram below, in addition:

  • Local authorities must keep accurate and up to date records regarding people receiving support, how support is being managed and the duration of the support. 
  • Reimbursement will be for actual costs that fit the criteria outlined above.  
  • Further advice on the policy can be found in section 33 of the Guide.
  • Further advice on the reimbursement process can be found on the Government financial support factsheets page.


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