Unsupported Child’s Benefit

Unsupported Child’s Benefit is a weekly payment which helps carers supporting a child or young person whose parents can't care for them because of a family breakdown.

Who can get it

You may be able to get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit if the child or young person you care for is:

  • 18 years old or younger
  • financially dependent on you
  • not able to be cared for by their parents.

You must:

  • be 18 or older and the main carer of the child or young person
  • expect to care for the child or young person for 12 months or more
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • not be the child or young person's natural or adoptive parent or step-parent.

You or the child or young person must normally live in New Zealand. If you are working and are granted the Unsupported Childs Benefit, you may also qualify for the In-work tax credit from Inland Revenue

This information is a guide only. Contact us to talk about your individual circumstances.

Parent/caregiver involvement

When you apply for an Unsupported Child’s Benefit for a child, the parent/caregiver will be invited to discuss the situation. There are some circumstances where this won’t happen, for example, when a recent Child, Youth and Family Group Conference has been held.

How much you can get

This depends on the child or young person’s age and any income they have.

For more information

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How to apply

Contact us to talk about your circumstances and we’ll explain how to apply. We’ll normally arrange a meeting with you and will tell you what you need to bring.

How long do I have to complete my application?

You have 20 working days from when you first contacted us. You'll need to provide us with any supporting documentation required for your application within this time. If you don't do this, you may have to reapply.

If you can't complete your application within 20 working days for any reason, please contact us.

Other payments

Other payments

We recognise that you can face financial pressure when you’re caring for someone else’s child and, as part of the Children’s Action Plan, two new payments and a special fund are being introduced to help with this.

School and Year Start-up Payment

From 13 January 2014, if you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit you’ll be able to apply for the School and Year Start-up Payment to help with the costs that mostly happen at the beginning of the year, in particular pre-school and school-related costs such as clothing, school fees and stationery.

Establishment Grant

From 13 January 2014, when you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit, you will automatically receive a one-off grant of $350 for each child. This is to help you with the costs when a child first comes into your care, such as a bed, bedding and clothing.

Extraordinary Care Fund

Later in 2014, if you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit you’ll be able to apply for additional financial assistance in special circumstances from the Extraordinary Care Fund. The fund is designed to assist with costs for children who are either experiencing difficulties that impact on their development or who are showing promise. More information will be available about this closer to the time.

For more information about these payments