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
    • single
    • financially dependent on you
    • not able to be cared for by their parents.

    You must:

    • be 18 or older and the main carer of the child or young person
    • have primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child
    • 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 a period of time.


    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 Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children or Working for Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue (except In-work tax credit) for the same child.

    Parent/caregiver involvement

    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 Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children Group Conference has been held.

    Child is 16 or 17

    In some cases, a child may qualify for their own income support. To find out more call us or your local Youth Service provider.

  • How much you can get

    How much you get depends on how old the child is and any income they have.

    You will also be able to get a Clothing Allowance. This is paid automatically when you get an Unsupported Child's Benefit.

  • How to apply

    Call us to talk about your circumstances and we'll explain how to apply, and what documents you'll need to provide.

    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 us.

    How long do I have to complete my application?

    You have 20 working days from when you first contacted us. If we ask for any supporting documents, you'll need to provide them within this time.

    If you can't complete your application within 20 working days for any reason, please let us know when you talk with 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.

  • Other payments

    If you get the Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit you may be able to get help with other expenses.

    Holiday and Birthday Allowance

    You automatically get these two payments each year if you already get Unsupported Child's Benefit or Orphan's Benefit for a child in your care. Use these payments to celebrate important events in the child’s life, like their birthday or Christmas.


This information is a guide only.

Contact us to talk about your individual circumstances.