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If you’re only applying for Best Start, you can choose when you want the payments.

If you already get Working for Families as a lump sum payment at the end of the tax year, then you’ll get your Best Start payments at the same time. If you want to get your Best Start payments weekly, you’ll need to change your other Working for Families payments to weekly as well.

Gather your information

Before applying you will need:

  • IRD numbers for you and your partner
  • your bank account number
  • your MSD client number (if you receive a benefit).

Go to SmartStart website

The SmartStart website is where you register your baby and where you apply for Best Start. 

Select the second link in the primary navigation bar of the SmartStart website.

Select Start a new birth registration

The Start a new birth registration button

Check the Best Start box

In the form, select yes under the heading Do you want to apply for Best Start now? 

A yes/no toggle button

What happens next

After you apply we'll process your application and send you a notice. It will tell you the date of your first payment. It will also tell you how to check for other Working for Families payments.

You will get the notice:

  • the next day if you use myIR
  • within 10 working days if you do not use myIR.

We will also send you your baby’s IRD number if you requested one. They are created by default with Best Start.

My responsibilities

If you are just getting Best Start year one payments you need to tell us if:

  • the child leaves your care
  • you start sharing care of the child with someone else
  • you are no longer the primary caregiver of the child.

If you are receiving Best Start in years 2 or 3 or other Working for Families payments, you have the same responsibilities as other Working for Families customers.


Call us

Working for Families
0800 227 773