Families Package

14 December 2017.

The new Families Package announced by the Government includes a Winter Energy Payment, Best Start tax credit, changes to Accommodation Supplement and Working for Families tax credits.

Updated: 11 June 2018

  • Winter Energy Payment

    From 1 July 2018, a Winter Energy Payment will be available to help with the cost of heating homes during the winter.

    Information

    You don't need to do anything to get this payment - if you qualify, it'll be paid to you automatically.

    Who can get it

    You can get the Winter Energy Payment if you’re getting either:

    • 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.

    Who can't get it

    You won’t get this payment if you’re getting Residential Care Subsidy or Residential Support Subsidy.

    What you can get

    You can get:

    • $20.46 a week if you’re single with no dependent children
    • $31.82 a week if you have a partner or dependent children.

    This will be paid from 1 July to 29 September 2018. From 2019, it will be paid from 1 May to 1 October. You don't have to pay it back.

    The Winter Energy Payment won’t affect other payments you get from us and isn’t considered income (for tax purposes).

    Your first payment in 2018

    Your first payment in July will be a part payment and your second payment will be for the full amount.

    This is because you get paid for the week (or 2 weeks if you get NZ Super) that's just been. As 1 July is part-way through this pay period, you won't get the full amount in your first July payment.

    Travelling overseas during the payment period

    If you leave New Zealand while this payment is being made (and you're still getting your benefit or NZ Super payment) your Winter Energy Payment will continue for the first 4 weeks you're out of the country, but will stop from the beginning of the 5th week.

    If you're back in New Zealand before the Winter Energy Payment ends (eg 29 September 2018), you'll need to restart your payments.

    Don't want the payment

    If you don’t want the Winter Energy Payment, you can choose not to get it.

    Stop your Winter Energy Payments

  • Best Start tax credit

    Best Start tax credit is a new payment from Inland Revenue. You can get $60 a week for each child born (or due) on or after 1 July 2018, until they turn 1. Then, from the age of 1 until they turn 3, if your family's income is:

    • under $79,000 a year before tax, you can continue to get $60 a week
    • over $79,000 a year before tax, your Best Start tax credit will reduce by 21 cents for every $1 you earn over $79,000.

    It will also be available to caregivers getting either:

    • Orphan’s Benefit
    • Unsupported Child’s Benefit, or
    • Foster Care Allowance.

    Paid Parental Leave

    If you’re getting Paid Parental Leave, you can’t get the Best Start tax credit until your Paid Parental Leave ends.

    How to apply

    If you get the Family Tax Credit from:

    • us, you'll get paid the Best Start tax credit automatically
    • Inland Revenue, you may need to apply for it on their website.
  • Accommodation Supplement changes

    The changes to Accommodation Supplement payments, announced as part of the May 2017 Budget, will go ahead as planned.

    This means from 1 April 2018, if you’re getting Accommodation Supplement, this payment may go up.

    Information

    This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

    How much you get for Accommodation Supplement is based on:

    • the Area you live in
    • your accommodation costs for the place you live in
    • your income
    • your cash assets
    • your family circumstances.

    The maximum amount you can get for Accommodation Supplement depends on where you live.

    Why it's changing

    Places in New Zealand are allocated into 4 different Accommodation Supplement Areas based on their local housing costs, with Area 1 having the highest housing costs and Area 4 having the lowest.

    From 1 April 2018:

    • the maximum rates for all 4 Areas will go up
    • some places will move into a different Accommodation Supplement Area.

    This means, if you're getting Accommodation Supplement:

    • it may go up regardless of where you live
    • if you live in a place that moves to a different Area, it could go up significantly.

    Getting Temporary Additional Support or Childcare Assistance

    If you get:

    • Temporary Additional Support and your Accommodation Supplement payment goes up, in most cases your Temporary Additional Support will go down.
    • a Childcare Assistance payment, eg Childcare Subsidy or Out of School Care and Recreation Subsidy, and your Accommodation Supplement goes up, in some cases your childcare payment will go down.

    This is because Accommodation Supplement is counted as income for these payments.

    A very small number of people may find they get less money overall because of their particular circumstances. If you're in this situation or get less Childcare Assistance, we'll contact you about a transitional assistance payment to cover the difference. This payment will be available until your income goes up for up to 12 months.

  • Working for Families tax credits

    The Working for Families changes are different to those announced in the May 2017 Budget.

    Family Tax Credit

    From 1 July 2018, if you get the Family Tax Credit, the amount you get may increase.

    This increase may impact other payments you get from us, like Accommodation Supplement, Temporary Additional Support or Special Benefit. The total amount you get from us won't be any less than what you're getting now.

    Information

    This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

    Eldest child

    Age of children

    Current

    From 1 July 2018

    Weekly increase

    0-15 years $92.73 $113.04 +$20.31
    16-18 years $101.98 $113.04 +$11.06

    Second or subsequent child

    Age of children

    Current

    From 1 July 2018

    Weekly increase

    0-12 years $64.44 $91.25 +$26.81
    13-15 years $73.50 $91.25 +$17.75
    16-18 years $91.25 $91.25 Nil

    Income thresholds

    Currently, if your income is above $36,350 a year, it affects how much you get for some Working for Families tax credits.

    From 1 July 2018, if your income is above $42,700 a year, some of your Working for Families tax credits will reduce by 25 cents for every $1 you earn over $42,700.

    Minimum Family Tax Credit

    Currently, if your income is below $23,816 a year after tax, you may be able to get the Minimum Family Tax Credit.

    From 1 April 2018, this income limit will change to $26,156 a year after tax.

    When you'll get your increase

    If your Working for Families tax credits are paid by us, you'll get the increased rate for 1 day in your first July payment and you'll see the full increase from your second payment onwards. This is because you get paid for the week that's just been.

  • Orphan's Benefit, Unsupported Child's Benefit and Foster Care Allowance

    Information

    This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

    Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit

    Age of child

    Current weekly rate

    From 1 July 2018

    Under 5 years $149.66 $169.97
    5-9 years $173.68 $193.99
    10-13 years $191.64 $211.95
    14+ years $209.52 $229.83

    Foster Care Allowance

    Category

    Current weekly rate

    From 1 July 2018

    Child 0-4 years $149.66 $169.97
    Child 5-9 years $173.68 $193.99
    Child 10-13 years $191.64 $211.95
    Child 14+ years $209.52 $229.83
    Family home $195.36 $215.67

    When you'll get your increase

    You'll get the increased rate for 1 day in your first July payment and you'll see the full increase from your second payment onwards. This is because you get paid for the week that's just been.

  • Tax changes

    The tax changes announced as part of the May 2017 Budget will no longer be made. The Government is putting their focus into helping lower and middle income families with children.

  • Read about the Families Package in your language