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Follow this process to apply for Best Start payments to help support your new baby.

If you are receiving a sole parent support benefit from Work and Income, let them know about your new baby, and they will sort your Best Start payment out.

If you get paid parental leave, your Best Start payments can only begin once your paid parental leave stops. Learn more about how Best Start works.

Types of Working for Families payments

Before you start

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.

Register your baby's birth in SmartStart

The easiest way to apply for Best Start is when you register your child's birth.

When you register your baby online on SmartStart, select 'Start a new birth registration'.

Apply for Best Start at the same time

In the online registration form under the heading 'Do you want to apply for Best Start now?', select 'Yes'.

Register my baby (

When you register the birth and apply for Best Start payments, we automatically issue your baby an IRD number.

You can also register for Working for Families and Best Start in myIR, or by contacting us.

Log in to myIR

Working for Families and Best Start - contact us

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.

My responsibilities

In the first year you receive Best Start, you need to tell us if:

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

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

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2021
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