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Financial assistance for live organ donors

28 January 2005 Media Statement

Financial assistance for live organ donors

Live organ donors will be eligible for financial assistance from 1 February 2005, the Ministers of Social Development and Health announced today.

"People who donate a kidney or liver tissue for transplantation in New Zealand may be eligible for support to help cover associated loss of income and childcare costs. This will include donors from overseas," Social Development Minister, Steve Maharey said.

Health Minister, Annette King said the initiative was a contribution towards lost earnings in recognition of the sacrifice people are making.

"It is obviously not offering a financial incentive but reduces financial barriers to donors. This should help prospective donors take money out of the equation when they are making informed decisions."

The support will be available for up to 12 weeks from the date of the operation to remove the kidney or liver tissue.

"Donors who are forgoing income will be paid either an amount equivalent to the sickness benefit or their pre-operation income, whichever is lower. Donors won’t need to use their employer paid sick or annual leave to qualify," Steve Maharey said.

Existing beneficiaries may need to be transferred to the Emergency Benefit to overcome the benefit eligibility criteria and/or work test obligations.

In addition, donors who have new or additional childcare costs because of the donation will be eligible for childcare assistance for up to 12 weeks after their operation.

The income support will not be income or asset tested, and the payments will not be subject to income tax. This means they will not be treated as income for Child Support, Student Loan and Family Assistance purposes.

ENDS

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