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There are 4 types of Working for Families payments.  After you apply, we'll send you a notice of entitlement telling you which payments you're eligible for, how much your payments will be, and the date of your first payment.

Can I get Working for Families?

Applying for Working for Families

Family tax credit

This payment depends on how much you earn, the number of dependent children you have and any shared care arrangements.

If you receive an income tested benefit and earn more than $3,558 a month (including the benefit) please contact us to make sure you are not being overpaid.

You cannot get the payment if you get a parent's allowance or a children's pension under the Veterans' Support Act 2014.

Minimum family tax credit

This is a payment if your annual family income after tax is:

  • less than $30,576 from 1 April 2021
  • less than $31,096 from 1 July 2021
  • less than $32,864 from 1 April 2022.

It tops up your family's after-tax weekly income to at least $632 from 1 April 2022.

Estimating your income

The payments you receive each week or fortnight are based on how much you estimate you’ll earn for the year. If you earn more than you’ve estimated:

  • you could get a bill at the end of the year
  • we may reduce your weekly or fortnight payments to reduce the risk of you being overpaid.

This means that you need to estimate your income very carefully and let us know when your hours of work change to make sure you get the right amount. 

Minimum hours of work

To get the minimum family tax credit you must work a minimum number of hours for salary or wages each week.

  • A single parent must work at least 20 hours a week.
  • In a 2-parent family, 1 or both parents between them must work at least 30 hours a week.

In any week that you work less than the minimum required hours, you are not eligible.

The minimum number of hours cannot come from self-employed work. A self-employed person must still work the minimum number of hours in salary or wage work to qualify for the minimum family tax credit.

When you cannot receive the minimum family tax credit

The minimum family tax credit is not available to families receiving the following:

  • an income-tested benefit
  • a parent's allowance
  • a children's pension from Veterans' Affairs New Zealand.

Shared care

If you have a shared care of your children this may affect the amount of minimum family tax credit you are eligible for. If you think you may not be receiving the correct amount, please contact us.

In-work tax credit

This is a payment available for families who have some income from paid work each week. If you're receiving an income-tested benefit or a student allowance, you will not be eligible for this payment.

Income-tested benefits are:

  • Jobseeker support
  • Sole parent support
  • Supported living payment
  • Youth payment
  • Young parent payment
  • Emergency benefit
  • Main benefit equivalent assistance 

You can get the in-work tax credit if your income is from accident compensation - including survivor payments, or paid parental leave.

As long as you are working, you can get the in-work tax credit if you receive other types of income, including:

  • NZ Superannuation
  • a Foster Care Allowance
  • an Orphan's Benefit
  • an Unsupported Child Benefit
  • a Veteran's Pension
  • weekly compensation from Veterans' Affairs New Zealand.

You cannot get in-work tax credit when your family gets:

  • a student allowance
  • a parent's allowance or a children's pension from Veterans' Affairs, New Zealand 

Unpaid break of 2 weeks or less

Since 1 April 2021, you can keep receiving the in-work tax credit for up to 2 weeks when taking an unpaid break from work. This could be either as you transition between jobs, are unpaid for a period, or leave employment. If you’re taking an unpaid break from work, you’ll need to notify IR to ensure your IWTC payments continue. The best way to do this is through myIR.

Before 1 July 2020

To get in-work tax credit payments before 1 July 2020 you had to work a minimum number of hours.

  • A single parent had to work at least 20 hours a week.
  • In a 2-parent family, 1 or both parents between them had to work at least 30 hours a week.

Best Start

Best Start is a payment of $65 a week for families supporting a newborn baby. Families who qualify for Best Start can receive the payment until their baby turns 1, no matter how much they earn.  If families are receiving paid parental leave payments, they cannot get the Best Start payment for the period of time they get paid parental leave in.  

After the first year, families can receive Best Start payments until their child turns 3, if they earn under $95,133. The amount a family receives will depend on the family income. To continue getting the payments after a child turns 1, families will need to provide us with an estimate of their family income.

If you're receiving a benefit, you need to let Work and Income know about your child's birth. They'll set up your payments and let you know about any changes to your benefit.

Best Start payments and Paid parental leave

Sam and Terry's baby is born on 10 July 2021. Sam applies for paid parental leave (PPL) in August 2021.

Sam receives a lump sum payment for the period from 10 July until their application is processed on 26 August. They then get fortnightly payments from 26 August until 8 January 2022 - the end of the 26 weeks PPL entitlement. (which started from 10 July).

Sam is entitled to Best Start payments from 9 January 2022.

Last updated: 11 Apr 2022
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