Cost of living payment explainer: When your money will turn up, who's eligible

The Government's much-hyped cost of living payment will start being handed out on Monday, August 1 - and more than 2.1 million Kiwis are expected to benefit.

A surprise announcement in the May Budget, the payment will see eligible New Zealanders receive roughly $27 per week for three months, adding up to $350. 

Kiwis will find their money directed to their bank account if they earn $70,000 or less and are not entitled to receive the Winter Energy Payment. The payment is also only going to Kiwis aged 18 years old and over, who are a New Zealand tax resident and present here, and are not in prison. 

IRD said the payment "is not intended to go to people who have died". A full list of eligibility criteria can be found here.

It is being provided in three monthly payments, starting for most recipients on Monday. The first payment will be $116.67, followed by another payment of the same amount on September 1, and then a final payment of $116.67 on October 3. That's the first business day in October.

"The payment will show as 'Living Costs' in your bank account. In myIR the date displayed is the processing date and may be earlier than the day you get your payment," IRD said.

Eligible Kiwis don't need to apply, but IRD said it's important the department has people's correct bank account numbers. This can be checked on myIR. This is important as IRD doesn't have more than 164,000 people's bank accounts.

While most eligible New Zealanders will get their first payment on Monday, IRD said for those with a credit union account, the money will be received a day later. 

Also, don't fret if one of your friends gets their payment before you. IRD said that due to the large number of payments being sent out, the department will stagger them throughout the day. That means some Kiwis will get their payment before others.

IRD will continue to check if people who have not received the payment are eligible until March 31, 2023. For those who are eligible, you've got until March 31, 2024 to provide your bank account.

Also, Kiwis can opt out of receiving the payment. That can be done by logging into myIR. However, once someone has opted out, they cannot change their mind. If someone receives the payment but then doesn't want it, it can be returned.

When the policy was announced in May, the Government said it was expected to cost $814 million and would be enabled through legislation being introduced hours after the Budget was unveiled. It hasn't been paid out until August as IRD needed time to set up new systems to administer the payment.