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Child support
Turuki Tamariki

Hospital patients

Can I stop my payments?

You may be able to stop paying child support if you are in a hospital or a drug rehabilitation centre for at least 13 weeks, and:

  • you earn no income while you're a patient, or
  • your income is only from investments and averages less than the minimum weekly child support amount, or
  • your only income is a reduced benefit from Work and Income (if you receive a full benefit for part of the time you may still qualify).
If you're paying child support under a voluntary agreement or a court order, your income from investments should not be more than $10 a week on average.

How do I apply to stop my payments?

To apply to have your payments stopped, you need to:

  • You need to complete the application form while you're still in hospital or up to 3 months after you leave hospital.
  • If you're unable to apply, another person can do so on your behalf.
  • If you don't qualify for an exemption during the first year you're in hospital you may qualify for the following year or years. If you think you may qualify for the following years, let us know. Please see the notes above on how to qualify for an exemption.
  • A payee can apply for your exemption to be overturned. For more information please read our guide Helping you to understand child support reviews (IR175).

What if I don't qualify?

If you don't qualify to have your payments stopped, we may still be able to reduce your payments.

How do I qualify to have my payments reduced?

If your income for the current year ending 31 March is less than the income we used to work out your child support payments, you may be able to reduce your payments. Your income needs to be at least 15% less to qualify.

For example, if we originally used an income of $30,000 per year to work out your payments, and the income you expect to get for the whole year has fallen by at least $4,500 (15%), we can reduce your payments.

How do I apply to reduce my payments?

To apply to reduce your payments, you need to do one of the following:

What if I already owe child support?

You are still liable for any child support you owe before your payments are stopped or reduced.

What happens to penalties on my account while I'm in hospital?

We may be able to help you with penalties while you are in hospital. Please phone us on 0800 221 221.

What do I do when I leave hospital?

You need to contact us as soon as possible after you leave hospital. We need to know:

  • the date you left hospital
  • your new address
  • if you're receiving a benefit or, if you're working, your employer's name.

We will then make sure you pay the right amount of child support.


Date published: 03 Apr 2014

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