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. Note that if you are receiving one of these subsidies for a certain number of hours you can’t also receive another of these subsidies for the same hours.

20 Hours ECE
If your child is three, four or five 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.

Childcare subsidy
If you’re on a low income you may be able to claim a Childcare subsidy for up to nine hours of pre-school childcare a week, and in certain circumstances you could get up to 50 hours a week. The early childhood programme must be registered with Work and Income.

This subsidy is paid directly by Work and Income to the care provider.

Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment
If you are under 20 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.

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

OSCAR
If you're on a low income and have children who are aged 5-13, you may be able to claim the Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) subsidy to help with the cost of before- and after-school care and school holiday care.  

To get an OSCAR subsidy your family income must be under a certain amount and you (and your partner, if you have one) 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 Work and Income to the care provider.

You can apply for the OSCAR subsidy or childcare subsidy online or download the Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR application form from the Work and Income website: 

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Which childcare and out of school care providers are signed up with Work and Income?

If you are eligible for an OSCAR subsidy or childcare subsidy you’ll need to enrol your child with a provider who is registered with Work and Income. You can find a provider on 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 -19, 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. If you are aged 16 or 17 years, the criteria are narrower.

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 in full time education, training or work-based learning, 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 new born 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 $220 per week for the first ten weeks (70 days) after your baby is born (or adopted, if the adoption took place within ten weeks of its birth), and the amount you get will depend on your income and the number of days your baby was in your care during its first ten 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 printed form. You can download a Working for Families Tax Credits registration pack which has the forms and guidance. 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 (or adopt two or more children from the same pregnancy) and also have another child under the age of five; or
  • you have a domestic emergency or need domestic support, have no one living with you who can help, and have a Community Services Card.

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

The Work and Income website has information about other 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 are on a low income or receiving a benefit you may be eligible for a loan from Work and Income to help with the cost of your child’s school uniform and stationery. Your income will need to be under a maximum amount set by Work and Income, which varies depending on your relationship status and age and how many children you have. More about this is on the Work and Income website.

You may also be able to get a loan from Work and Income to help with the cost of school fees and activities - such as school trips and exam fees:

If you are receiving the Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit for looking after 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 the School and Year Start-up Payment is on the Work and Income website.

You can find out more about assistance for caring for someone else’s child on our Adoption and fostering page.

For more information, contact Work and Income to discuss your circumstances.

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Is there financial help with the cost of sitting a school exam?

You can apply for help with the cost of NCEA entry fees for a domestic student if:

  • you are receiving a Work and Income or StudyLink benefit, or have a Community Services Card; or
  • you are not receiving a benefit and do not have a Community Services Card, but your family income would entitle you to a Community Services Card; or
  • you have two or more children who are doing NCEA and the total fees add up to more than $200.
  • If you think you fit the eligibility criteria, you can apply by completing a form (which you can download or get from your child’s school) and taking it to your child’s school before the deadline (the school will tell you when the deadline is).

More information about this financial assistance, including the application form, is on the NZQA website.