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More families can get help with childcare costs

02 October 2006

More families can get help with childcare costs

More than 5,000 families stand to benefit from increases to childcare and OSCAR subsidies, Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

“From today the income limits for eligibility will increase by around $5,000, making around 1,250 families eligible for Childcare Assistance for the first time. In addition, around 3,900 families who are already getting Childcare Assistance will automatically get a higher rate,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

Mr Benson-Pope said that the changes mean 60% of all couples with children and 96% of sole parents will potentially qualify for help with childcare costs.

"If anyone thinks they might be eligible, I strongly encourage them to contact Work and Income to find out more."

The new income limits will be $54,600 for a family with one child, $65,000 for a family with two children, and $75,400 for a family with three or more children.

Mr Benson-Pope said the changes will build on the government's Working for Families package, which has already made substantial increases to the number of people eligible for Childcare Assistance and the amounts families can receive.

The changes are also part of the government’s ten-year action plan Choices for Living, Caring and Working, which aims to improve employment and caring choices for parents and carers, and which has access to quality, affordable childcare as a key priority.

Childcare Assistance income limits will be regularly adjusted to keep up with the cost of living. The next increase will occur on 1 April 2007.

For more information visit: www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz or freephone 0800 774 004.

Q&A: Childcare Assistance

What is Childcare Assistance?
Childcare Assistance is available from Work and Income and includes two subsidies.

- The Childcare Subsidy helps with childcare costs for children aged under 5. Working parents can get help with up to 50 hours of childcare a week.

- The OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) Subsidy helps with childcare costs for children aged between 5 and 13. It can help with up to 20 hours a week before and after school care, and 50 hours a week of care during the school holidays.

Who qualifies for Childcare Assistance and how much can they get?
To qualify parents need to have children of qualifying age and their family income has to be under a certain limit:

Number of children in family The family’s weekly income before tax Maximum subsidy per hour per child
One child Less than $870 $3.31
$870 to $959.99 $2.30
$960 to $1,049.99 $1.28
Two children Less than $1,050 $3.31
$1,050 to $1,149.99 $2.30
$1,150 to $1,249.99 $1.28
Three or more children Less than $1,210 $3.31
$1,210 to $1,329.99 $2.30
$1,330 to $1,449.99 $1.28

How many families are getting Childcare Assistance?
At the end of August 2006, 34,900 families got Childcare Assistance, an increase of 4,400 (14%) compared to the end of August 2005.

Of this total, 20,300 families were not getting a main benefit from Work and Income. This is an increase of 4,400 (28%) compared to the end of August 2005.

What is the average amount families get?
The average weekly rate of Childcare Assistance for families is $67.


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