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Delays to response times: It is taking longer than usual to answer calls and myIR messages, and to process some COVID-19 Support Payment applications. This is because of the impact of COVID-19. If possible, please contact us through your myIR account. Log in to myIR

Budget 2022: The Government has announced Budget 2022, which includes changes to child support payments. Find out more on our Tax Policy website

Budget 2022: The Government has announced a Cost of Living Payment, which will be paid from 1 August 2022. You do not need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, we’ll pay it into your bank account. Find out more

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.

The length of time you’re eligible during the first year of Best Start will be reduced for each week of paid parental leave taken after the birth of the baby. So if you took 20 weeks of paid parental leave after the baby was born, you’d be eligible for 32 weeks of Best Start in the first year instead of 52 (since 32 is 52 minus 20).

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.

Apply when registering your baby's birth

The easiest way to apply for Best Start is when you register your child's birth. If you've already registered the birth then scroll down and click on 'Other ways to do this'.

Otherwise, when you register your baby on SmartStart select "Start a new birth registration".

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

Register my baby (smartstart.services.govt.nz)


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

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.

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

Last updated: 30 Apr 2021
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