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Families Package

January 8, 2018

The new Families Package announced by the Government includes a Winter Energy Payment, Best Start, changes to Accommodation Supplement and Working for Families tax credits.

Winter Energy Payment

From 1 July 2018, a Winter Energy Payment will be available to help with the cost of heating homes during the winter.

Important information

You don't need to do anything to get this payment - if you qualify, it'll be paid to you automatically.

Who can get it

You can get the Winter Energy Payment if you’re getting either:

  • New Zealand Superannuation
  • Veteran’s Pension
  • Jobseeker Support
  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • Youth Payment
  • Young Parent Payment
  • Emergency Benefit.

Who can't get it

You won’t get this payment if you’re getting Residential Care Subsidy or Residential Support Subsidy.

What you can get

You can get:

  • $20.45 a week if you’re single with no dependent children
  • $31.81 a week if you have a partner or dependent children.

This will be paid from 1 July to 30 September 2018. From 2019, it will be paid from 1 May to 1 October. You don't have to pay it back.

If you leave New Zealand while this payment is being made (and you're still getting your benefit or NZ Super payment) your Winter Energy Payment will continue for the first 4 weeks you're out of the country, but will stop from the beginning of the 5th week.

If you're back in New Zealand before the Winter Energy Payment ends (eg, 30 September 2018), you'll need to contact us about restarting it.

Don't want the payment

If you don’t want the Winter Energy Payment, you can choose not to get it. We’ll let you know how to do this closer to the time.

Best Start Payment

Best Start is a new payment from Inland Revenue. You can get $60 a week for each child born (or due) on or after 1 July 2018, until they turn 1. Then, from the age of 1 until they turn 3, if you and your partner's income is:

  • under $79,000 a year before tax, you can continue to get $60 a week
  • over $79,000 a year before tax, your Best Start payment will reduce by 21 cents for every $1 you earn over $79,000.

It will also be available to caregivers getting either:

  • Orphan’s Benefit
  • Unsupported Child’s Benefit, or
  • Foster Care Allowance.

Paid Parental Leave

If you’re getting Paid Parental Leave, you can’t get Best Start payments until your Paid Parental Leave ends.

How to apply

If you get the Family Tax Credit from:

  • us, you'll get paid Best Start automatically
  • Inland Revenue, you may need to apply for it on their website.

More information about Best Start

Accommodation Supplement changes

The changes to Accommodation Supplement payments, announced as part of the May 2017 Budget, will go ahead as planned. This means from 1 April 2018, if you’re getting Accommodation Supplement, this payment may go up.

Important information

This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

How much you get for Accommodation Supplement is based on:

  • the Area you live in
  • your accommodation costs for the place you live in
  • your income
  • your cash assets
  • your family circumstances.

The maximum amount you can get for Accommodation Supplement depends on where you live.

Why it's changing

Places in New Zealand are allocated into 4 different Accommodation Supplement Areas based on their local housing costs, with Area 1 having the highest housing costs and Area 4 having the lowest.

From 1 April 2018:

  • the maximum rates for all 4 Areas will go up
  • some places will move into a different Accommodation Supplement Area.

This means, if you're getting Accommodation Supplement:

  • it may go up regardless of where you live
  • if you live in a place that moves to a different Area, it could go up significantly.

See if where you live has moved to a different Accommodation Supplement Area

Getting Temporary Additional Support or Childcare Assistance

If you get:

  • Temporary Additional Support and your Accommodation Supplement payment goes up, in most cases your Temporary Additional Support will go down.
  • a Childcare Assistance payment, eg Childcare Subsidy or Out of School Care and Recreation Subsidy, and your Accommodation Supplement goes up, in some cases your childcare payment will go down.

This is because Accommodation Supplement is counted as income for these payments.

A very small number of people may find they get less money overall because of their particular circumstances. If you're in this situation or get less Childcare Assistance, we'll contact you about a transitional assistance payment to cover the difference. This payment will be available for up to 12 months, unless you have a change in circumstances before then which means you have a higher net income.

Working for Families tax credits

The Working for Families changes are different to those announced in the May 2017 Budget.

Family Tax Credit. From 1 July 2018, if you get the Family Tax Credit, the amount you get may increase.

Important information

This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

First or only child

Age of children

Current

From 1 July 2018

Weekly increase

0-15 years

$92.73

$113.04

+$20.31

16-18 years

$101.98

$113.04

+$11.06

Second or subsequent child

Age of children

Current

From 1 July 2018

Weekly increase

0-12 years

$64.44

$91.25

+$26.81

13-15 years

$73.50

$91.25

+$17.75

16-18 years

$91.25

$91.25

Nil

Income thresholds

Currently, if your income is above $36,350 a year, it affects how much you get for some Working for Families tax credits.

From 1 July 2018, if your income is above $42,700 a year, some of your Working for Families tax credits will reduce by 25 cents for every $1 you earn over $42,700.

Minimum Family Tax Credit

Currently, if your income is below $23,816 a year after tax, you may be able to get the Minimum Family Tax Credit.

From 1 April 2018, this income limit will change to $26,156 a year after tax.

Orphan’s Benefit, Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Foster Care Allowance

From 1 July 2018, the rates of Orphan’s Benefit, Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Foster Care Allowance will increase by $20.31 a week.

Important information

This change will be made automatically, you won't need to do anything.

Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit

Age of child

Current weekly rate

From 1 July 2018

Under 5 years

$147.65

$167.96

5-9 years

$171.35

$191.66

10-13 years

$189.07

$209.38

14+ years

$206.71

$227.02

Foster Care Allowance

Category

Current weekly rate

From 1 July 2018

Child 0-4 years

$147.65

$167.96

Child 5-9 years

$171.35

$191.66

Child 10-13 years

$189.07

$209.38

Child 14+ years

$206.71

$227.02

Family home

$192.74

$213.05

Tax Changes

The tax changes announced as part of the May 2017 Budget will no longer be made. The Government is putting their focus into helping lower and middle income families with children.

www.workandincome.govt.nz

14 December 2017


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