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Am I eligible?

To get Working for Families you will: 

  • have a dependent child or children in your care under the age of 18 or between 18 and 19 and still at school or a tertiary institution
  • be the principal caregiver
  • be aged 16 or older
  • need to meet the residency requirements.

For families with a dependent child under the age of 18 or between 18 and 19 in school or a tertiary institution, the following entitlement rules apply:

  • entitlement will continue up to 31 December of the year the child turns 18
  • there is no entitlement beyond this date without exception.

Residency requirements

  • you're a New Zealand resident and have been in New Zealand continuously for at least 12 months at any time. You must be both a tax resident and resident in New Zealand when you apply for your payments.
  • the child or children you're claiming for are both resident and present in New Zealand.

Children born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006 are residents. 

For children born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 to qualify as a New Zealand resident, at least one of the parents must meet one of the following conditions:

  • the parent is a New Zealand citizen.
  • the parent has permanent residency and has been in New Zealand continuously for at least 12 months since the residency was granted.
  • the parent is entitled to reside indefinitely in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue.

Children born in New Zealand up to 31 December 2005 are considered NZ residents, so the parents may apply for Working for Families for that child and will qualify from the date of birth. 

Australian citizens and residents qualify immediately if they are also a New Zealand tax resident. 

If you or your child are in New Zealand unlawfully, or hold only a temporary permit of visa, you are not entitled to receive Working for Families payments.

How much can I get?

Working for Families payments are based on your family income and the number of children in your care. In each child's first year you will get up to $60 a week Best Start regardless of your family income.

Use our calculator to estimate how much your Working for Families payments could be.

Our Working for Families Tax Credits 2020 - IR271 - shows the weekly payments you might be able to get for the family tax credit and in-work tax credit. This depends on your annual income and the number of dependent children you have.

This estimate will not be accurate if:

  • you're having your first child
  • you already receive Working for Families Tax Credits
  • you're starting or ending a relationship
  • you're starting work after coming off a benefit
  • the number of dependent children living with you often changes
  • you're receiving best start tax credit for a baby born before 1 July 2018
  • you qualify for minimum family tax credit and receive income other than salary or wages.

You will not be eligible for in-work tax credits if you get an income-tested benefit or student allowance.