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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 serious long-term health condition or incapacity.
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
- have primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child
- be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- not be the child or young person's natural or adoptive parent, and
- be ordinarily resident in New Zealand when you apply.
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
In some cases, a child may qualify for their own income support. To find out more call us or your local Youth Service provider.
How much you get depends on how old the child is and any income they have.
You will also be able to get a Clothing Allowance. This is paid automatically when you get an Orphan's Benefit.
Talk to us about your circumstances. We'll explain how to apply, and what documents you'll need to provide.
You'll usually need to provide:
- full birth certificate for the child
- copy of the custody or guardianship agreement
- details about the child's income
- copies of the parents' death certificates (if this applies). You can order this online here.
If you don't have these documents or find it hard to get these, please talk to us.
How long do I have to complete my application?
You have 20 working days from when you first contacted us. If we ask for any supporting documents, you'll need to provide them within this time.
If you can't complete your application within 20 working days for any reason, please let us know when you talk with us.
When do payments start?
If your application is approved, you'll usually receive your first payment 2 to 4 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.
If you get the Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit you may be able to get help with other expenses.
You automatically get these two payments each year if you already get Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit for a child in your care. Use these payments to celebrate important events in the child’s life, like their birthday or Christmas.
Establishment grant is paid automatically when you first get Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit. This is a once only payment of $350 for each child you're caring for. This money helps you buy things like a bed, bedding and clothing. You won't be taxed on this money, and you won't have to pay it back.
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.
This fund helps support children to develop their skills and talents. It can also help children who are experiencing difficulties that are significantly impacting on their development.
This information is a guide only.
Contact us to talk about your individual circumstances.