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.
- 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 and the child or young person must normally live in New Zealand.
You'll need to apply for Child Support from the child's parents. This money goes to the government to help cover what we pay you. You'll also need to attend a Family Meeting (if you haven't already had a Family Group Conference) to confirm that there has been a family breakdown and that you'll be the main caregiver for the next 12 months.
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, eg from a family trust, ACC, investments or their parents estate, could affect whether you qualify and the amount you can get.
If you're working and are granted the Unsupported Childs Benefit, you may also qualify for the In-work tax credit from Inland Revenue
You won't be able to get the Unsupported Child's Benefit at the same time as Board payments from Child, Youth and Family or Working for Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue (except In-work tax credit) for the same child.
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.
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
- Family Group Conference Outcomes, Court Orders or Court Approved Plans
- names, addresses and phone numbers of the child's parents and their places of work.
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.
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.