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Children’s caregivers use extra funds

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Development

Associate Minister of Housing

22 January 2014 Media Statement

Children’s caregivers use extra funds

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says thousands of carers have received extra cash to help meet the costs of looking after children since she announced new payments and grants last month.

“I wanted to ensure carers were aware of the extra funding before Christmas so they could relax a bit, knowing that help was on the way.”

Around 12,000 children are cared for by grandparents, extended family or other carers.

Already, around 2,000 payments of more than $880,000 have been made.

“I’m delighted so many have applied for this assistance already and I’m keen to make sure everyone who is eligible applies,” says Mrs Bennett.

The funding package for carers includes:

• A one-off establishment grant of $350 when carers receiving Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit take a child into their home 

• A Start of Year payment ranging from $250 for under five year olds, to $400 for children over 14 in 2014; increasing to $400 for under 5 year olds and $550 for over 14 year olds in 2015.

• A discretionary Extraordinary Care Fund (available from July 2014) of up to $2000 a year, for children with significant difficulties or who are showing promise.

Work and Income has been in regular contact with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren as many of their members qualify to receive this payment.

Mrs Bennett says carers are often on limited incomes and the extra cash will make a huge difference to them managing costs.

As part of the White Paper on Vulnerable Children, Mrs Bennett signalled additional financial assistance would be made available for carers receiving Unsupported Child Benefit and Orphan’s Benefit.

A Ministerial Reference Group provided advice on how best to spend the money so that it makes the greatest difference to those in need.

For more detail on the package go to: www.msd.govt.nz

ENDS

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