Having a baby while you're on a benefit

If you're having a baby while you're on a benefit, you need to let us know as it could affect your payments and whether you need to look for work.

  • Unable to work

    You may be getting a benefit that requires you to look for work. If your health practitioner, eg, your doctor or midwife, says you're unable to work because of your pregnancy, we may be able to help.

    We'll need to see a medical certificate from your health practitioner.

    Some health practitioners send us medical certificates electronically. If you already have a Work and Income client number, make sure they include that on the certificate.

    If they don't send your medical certificate electronically, or you want to send something else as proof, call us to talk about how to get this information to us.

  • 27 weeks pregnant

    You may be getting a benefit that requires you to look for work. You don't have to meet this requirement if you're at least 27 weeks pregnant.

    We'll need to see proof of your child's expected date of birth (eg. a medical certificate). Your health practitioner or midwife can complete a medical certificate for you.

    Most health practitioners send us medical certificates electronically. If you already have a Work and Income client number, make sure they include that on the certificate.

    If they don't send your medical certificate electronically, or you want to send something else as proof, call us to talk about how to get this information to us.

  • Tell us once you have the baby

    If you've had a baby you need to tell us right away. You may also need to apply for child support. We'll talk to you about this when you come to see us.

    To tell us you can either:

    • Register the birth with SmartStart
      when you register your child's birth with Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), using SmartStart, agree to share this information with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). You won't have to purchase a physical birth certificate.
      We'll then:
      • work out if the change affects what you're getting from us
      • send you a letter to let you know the outcome.
      If you need to do anything else, we'll book a phone appointment for you and include the details in your letter.

      or

    • Call us to book an appointment.
      You need to call us on 0800 559 009. We'll let you know what information we'll need from you.
  • Having another child and your work obligations

    If you're on a benefit that requires you to look or prepare for work and you have another child, you will be expected to prepare for work until your child turns 1 year old.

    When your new child turns 1 you may have a change in your obligations, depending on the age of your next youngest child.

    If your next youngest child is:

    • under 3, you'll need to continue to take practical steps to prepare for work
    • between 3 and 13, you'll be expected to actively seek part-time work of at least 20 hours a week and accept any suitable job
    • 14 or older, you'll be expected to actively seek full-time work of at least 30 hours a week and accept any suitable job.
  • Helping you get back into work

    We can help you access training and a range of other support to help you get ready to move into work.

    You may be able to get assistance with the cost of childcare while you're working, attending training or doing some other activity that will help you move into work.

    The Childcare Subsidy is for preschool children and the Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) Subsidy is for before and after school care and holiday programmes for children aged 5-13.

    For more information, read:

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

  • A child has come into your care

    If a child has come into your care, you need to let us know as it could affect your payments and whether you need to look for work.