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Start of Year payments for family carers – deadline soon

Start of Year payments for family carers – deadline soon

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says nearly 6,000 children are benefiting right now from new payments worth nearly $3 million to wider family members caring for children.

“With children just back at school, the Government recognises that whānau carers can do with extra help to buy essentials like school uniforms, or other items for children settling into a new home.

“Family carers who haven’t applied for the new Start of Year payments can apply right now online through the Work and Income web site. Carers can get between $250 and $400 per child if they’re receiving either Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit. Applications close at the end of this month.

“I’m really pleased so many families are taking up this new assistance. Grandparents and other extended family member carers do phenomenal work in putting the needs of their child relatives ahead of their own.

“This government wants to help make their job easier. Helping with start of the year costs is a really practical way to do that.”

There are also two other new family carer payments.

There’s now a one-off establishment grant for carers receiving Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit who have just taken a child into their home.

“These grants are especially useful for things like bedding, clothes and anything else a child might need. The sad reality is, some of these children have suffered abuse or neglect, and may not have more than the clothes on their back when they go to a new home,” says Mrs Bennett.

There will also be a discretionary Extraordinary Care Fund of up to $2000 a year for children with significant difficulties or who are showing great promise.

“Children going into state care will naturally struggle as they adjust to new lives and new homes. It is vital their Carers are supported to help them through this difficult time.

“Equally, a child may display amazing artistic talent or sports ability, and if this funding can go towards them realising their dreams, then we’ve contributed towards a brighter future for our children,” says Mrs Bennett.

The Start of the Year application process has been designed to be as easy as possible, and people are encouraged to contact Work and Income as soon as they can – the deadline for Start of Year payments closes on Friday 28 February.


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