Are you caring for someone else's child?
For most grandparents and whānau caregivers who take on the full-time care of children it involves significant financial challenges and readjustments to their lives. With extra mouths to feed, there can also seem like endless extra costs and expenses for simple day-to-day clothing and bedding needs, paying for school and extra-curricular activities, doctors, dental and medical costs, counselling, therapy… and the list goes on.
If you are caring for someone else's child you may be able to get support through Work and Income New Zealand/Te Hiranga Tangata through the Orphan's Benefit or the Unsupported Child Benefit.
Or you might be approved by Oranga Tamariki to receive the Foster Care Allowance.
This 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.
This 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. This might be a temporary care situation or for the long term.
The Work and Income New Zealand links to the UCB and OB above have quick links to the current weekly rates for each age-group. There are some payments that are paid automatically to you as follows:
- The application for the Unsupported Child Benefit or the Orphan's Benefit is on the same form.
- Call or contact Work and Income and tell them you need to apply for this support.
- There is an application form that must be completed.
- You will also need to provide the following information to them to assess your eligibility for this support.
You'll usually need to provide:
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.
If you don't have these documents or find it hard to get these, please call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.
Call them to talk about your circumstances and they will explain how to apply, and what documents you'll need to provide.
To download the application form for the Unsupported Child or Orphan's Benefit click here.
Payments to apply for:
Help with the costs that mostly happen at the beginning of the year, in particular pre-school and school-related costs, eg clothing, school fees and stationery.
This is a payment to help with extra costs at the beginning of the year. The online application form for this is available in mid-January until end February on Work and Income's website.
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.
If a child you care for shows promise in a skill or talent, or because they are experiencing difficulties and need extra support you can apply for up to $2,000 for the child each year. Conditions apply. Contact us on 0800 GRANDS (0800 472 637) for advice.
Need help applying for support?
GRG has extensive expertise and knowledge of the financial support available from the State for grandparents and whānau/kin carers raising someone else's child on a full-time basis. Our advocacy service is free for all full-time grandparent and whānau caregivers.
Not a member? Membership is free and takes just a few minutes to join up here.
Remember: If you need assistance to apply for this support, or you have tried and had difficulty applying for a benefit or been turned down, please contact us on 0800 GRANDS (0800 472 637) for a referral to one of our Advocates who can advise you on your particular circumstances.
In some cases the decision from Work and Income is reviewable and may benefit from the presentation of further evidence to justify a benefit being granted in your case.