Family Assistance 

Is there financial support to help with the costs of child-care while I’m working?

Yes there is (although in some cases there are eligibility criteria) - we've listed the support options below:

Childcare subsidy
You may be able to claim a Childcare subsidy for up to nine hours of pre-school childcare a week, and in certain cases you could get up to 50 hours a week. The early childhood programme must be licensed and/or chartered to qualify.

You can't receive more than nine hours if the child's other caregiver is able to look after them unless you are receiving the Child Disability Allowance for the child. This subsidy is paid directly by Work and Income (WINZ) to the care provider.

Also, you can’t get the Childcare subsidy for a child if you are receiving the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment for that child.

20 Hours ECE
If your child is three or four years old, you can get up to 20 hours a week of subsidised early childhood education provided by the Ministry of Education. This is known as 20 hours ECE. Your child will need to be enrolled in the 20 Hours ECE program if you want to receive this subsidy. More information about this programme is on our Paying for early childhood education page.

If you’re receiving the 20 hours ECE for your child you can’t also get the Childcare Subsidy or Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment for the same hours.

If you have children who are aged 5-13, you may be able to claim the Out of School Care and Recreation Subsidy (OSCAR). The OSCAR subsidy is for parents of children aged 5-13 (or up to 18 years if you get a Child Disability Allowance for them), and helps with before- and after-school care, and care during school holidays.

To get an OSCAR subsidy you and your spouse must earn under a certain amount and both have to work or study during hours when your child requires care. You cannot receive the subsidy if the child's other caregiver is able to take care of them during the times you are working or studying unless your child is disabled. The subsidy is paid directly by WINZ to the care provider.

Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment
If you are under 19 and have a child under five, and are in full-time education, training or work-based learning, you may be able to get the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment (GCAP) to assist with the cost of childcare. See the next question for more information about financial support for young parents.

You can apply for Childcare and OSCAR subsidies or the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment online or download the appropriate form from the Work and Income website.

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I'm having a baby and I'm still in school. Is there any extra support for me?

If you are aged 16 -18, are responsible for the day to day care of your child, and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident; you may be able to get the Young Parent Payment.

The Young Parent Payment comes with a number of conditions, for example you will have to:

  • be in, or available for, full-time education or work-based training, 
  • be in a teen parent unit (a school for teen parents) when your child turns one (or six months, if a place is available), 
  • work with the Youth Service provider assigned to you, who will help you manage your money, and 
  • attend a budgeting course and a parenting course.

More details are on the Work and Income website.

How much you'll get will depend on your circumstances.

You may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment. This payment helps with the cost of childcare while you are attending school (or training, or working part time), and is for young people who have a child under five years of age. More information about eligibility criteria, the payment amount and how to apply, is on the Work and Income website.

You can use this online tool to check your eligibility for the Young Parent Payment and Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment, and also apply online.

For more assistance that might be available to you, see below.

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Is there financial assistance for someone taking time off work to have a baby?

You may be eligible for paid parental leave, parental tax credit and/or Work and Income home help, for example. Read on for more information about these.

Paid parental leave is a government funded payment for working parents (including adoptive parents) while they take parental leave from their job(s) to care for their newborn or adopted child (under the age of six). You’ll find more information about this on our Parental Leave page.

Parental tax credit is part of the Working for Families package, and you can either receive parental tax credit or paid parental leave, but not both. You can get up to $150 per week for the first eight weeks (56 days) after your baby is born, and the amount you get depends on your income, and the number of days your baby was in your care during its first eight weeks. Parental tax credits are also available to people adopting a baby.

To find out more, see the IRD webpage on parental tax credit.

You can use the Inland Revenue’s calculator to help you work out how much you are entitled to. You can apply online or by completing a Working for Families Tax Credits registration (FS1) form. Also see our answer to the next question.

Work and Income Home Help is a payment towards the cost of help in the home if you have had multiple births, a domestic emergency such as your partner being taken ill, or just need someone to help with the housework. If you did not have a multiple birth you’ll need to meet income and asset tests to be eligible, have a Community Service Card and have no immediate family or household members who can help you.

How much you can get will depend on your circumstances. To find out more, contact WINZ on 0800 559 009 or visit the Work and Income website.

The Work and Income website also has information about the types of assistance that may be available when you're having a baby.

You can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information or assistance with your application.

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I'm not earning enough money to properly support my children. Is there any support for low-income families?

The Working for Families package provides help for low-income families with the following tax credits:

  • the in-work tax credit is given to couples who work more than 30 hours per week between them (or 20 hours if they are sole parents). It also depends on income and the number of children you have 
  • the minimum family tax credit is given to parents of dependent children (aged 18 years or less)  who work more than 30 hours per week between them (or 20 hours if they are sole parents), if their total income falls below a minimum amount 
  • the family tax credit depends on your income and is given for each dependent child aged 18 or younger

To find out more about the Working for Families package or to make an application, visit the Working for Families website. 

You may also be eligible for assistance from Work and Income. Try their online tool to find out what you might get.

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I need help with the costs of sending my child to school. Is there a benefit to help with this?

If you care for someone else’s child, you may be eligible for the School and Year Start-up Payment, which helps with costs at the beginning of the school year. More about this payment is on the Work and Income website and this Youth Service factsheet.

Otherwise there are no specific benefits to help with school costs, but you may be able to get special assistance to help with school costs from WINZ. Benefits that can help may be temporary additional support or a special needs grant. If you or your partner are working, you should also check the Working for Family assistance (see the previous question).

For more information, call Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to discuss your circumstances.