Orphan’s Benefit is a weekly payment which helps carers supporting a child or young person whose parents have died or can't be found, or can’t look after them because they have a long-term illness or incapacity.
Who can get it
You may get the Orphan’s Benefit if the child or young person you care for is:
- 18 years old or younger
- financially dependent on you.
You must also:
- 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.
You or the child or young person must normally live in New Zealand. If you are working and are granted the Orphans Benefit, you may also qualify for the In-work tax credit from Inland Revenue
This benefit is not based on your income or any money the child gets from working after school or in the holidays. But other income the child gets such as from a family trust, ACC, investments or their parents estate could affect whether you qualify and the amount you can get.
You won't be able to get the Orphan's Benefit at the same time as Board payments from Child, Youth and Family or Working for Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue (expect In-work tax credit) for the same child.
Child is 16 or 17
How much you can get
How much you get depends on how old the child is and any income they have.
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 you'll need to bring:
- a full birth certificate for the child
- a copy of the custody or guardianship agreement
- details about the child's income
- copies of the parents' death certificates (if this applies).
If you don't have some of these documents or may find them difficult to get, please talk to us.
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 contact us.
When do payments start?
If your application is approved, you'll usually receive your first payment two to four weeks from the date you apply or start looking after the child (whichever is later). You'll need to apply as soon as you become the child's main caregiver as we can't backdate 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.
If you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit you may be able to get help with other expenses.
This information is a guide only.
Contact us to talk about your individual circumstances.