For most grandparents and whanau caregivers who take on the full-time care of children it involves significant financial challenges and readjustments to their lives.
Apart from having extra mouths to feed each day, it seems like there are endless extra costs and expenses involved from the simple day to day clothing and bedding needs to paying for school and extra-curricular activities, doctors, dental and medical costs, counselling, therapy…and the list goes on.
Over many years GRG has built up an extensive expertise and knowledge of the financial support available from the State for grandparents and other kin carers raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis.
GRG contributed to this informative brochure and guide Help When You're Caring for Someone Else's Child which provides helpful information about the financial support available to full-time grandparent and whanau caregivers.
The Unsupported Child Benefit is particularly relevant if you are a grandparent or whanau/kin caregiver and it is worth taking the time to carefully read through the following information.
If you are a GRG member you can also access our free Field Officer support and advice for your particular situation. If you are not a member and you are a full-time grandparent/whanau caregiver, membership is free and takes just a few minutes to join up here.
The Unsupported Child’s Benefit (UCB) is a weekly payment authorised under section 29 of the Social Security Act 1964, which helps carers supporting a child or young person whose parents can't care for them because of a family breakdown.
An important part of establishing eligibility for the UCB is satisfying the requirement that there has in fact been a family breakdown leading to the situation where the child or children are in your care.
As each case is different, it is important that before you make an application to your local Work and Income office that you are prepared and can clearly explain the nature of the family breakdown and why the child/ren are in your care and why they can’t be cared for by their parents.
For help and advice on these matters please call our 0800 GRANDS (0800 472637) helpline.
The following information sets out the main eligibility criteria for the UCB in accordance with the law.
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 because of a breakdown in the child’s family.
You or the child or young person must normally live in New Zealand. If you are working and you are granted the UCB, you may also qualify for the In-work tax credit from Inland Revenue
You will need to print the document out and then fill it in.
You will have to arrange a meeting with Work and Income.
You will need to take the completed application form and other supporting documents to the meeting.
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.
Information for parents/caregivers
This depends on the child or young person’s age and any income they have.
View the maximum current rates
Contact Work and Income to talk about your circumstances and they'll explain how to apply. They'll normally arrange a meeting with you and will tell you what you need to bring.
Orphan’s/Unsupported Child’s Benefit Application Form (PDF 731.4KB)
You have 20 working days from when you first contacted Work and Income. You'll need to provide them 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 Work and Income.
The State recognises that you can face financial pressure when you are caring for someone else’s child and, as part of the Children’s Action Plan, two new payments and a special fund have been introduced to help with this.
From 13 January 2014, if you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit you can apply for the School and Year Start-up Payment to 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. Opens every January.
For more information about this payment and how to apply
From 13 January 2014, when you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit, you will automatically receive a one-off grant of $350 for each child. This is to help you with the costs involved when a child first comes into your care, such as a bed, bedding and clothing.
For more information about the Establishment Grant
If you get the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit you can also apply for additional financial assistance in special circumstances from the Extraordinary Care Fund. The fund is designed to assist with costs for children who are either experiencing difficulties that impact on their development or who are showing promise.
For more information about these payments