Children and young people have what they need
Increase to Working for Families: Family Tax Credit payment rates have increased, particularly for children under 15 years. The Working for Families income threshold has also been raised. The income threshold determines the income level at which payments start to reduce (abate). This increased the level of financial assistance available for low-income families with children.
As part of the COVID-19 response, the need to satisfy the In-Work Tax Credit hours test was removed as of 1 July 2020, enabling families to receive the payment even if their hours are highly variable or have significantly reduced.
Another change to the In-Work Tax Credit, in response to COVID-19, allows a family currently receiving the in-work tax credit to continue receiving the payments for up to two weeks when taking an unpaid break from work. This took effect from 1 April 2021.
Accommodation Supplement changes: There has been an increase to the maximum amount paid for the Accommodation Supplement over its four different areas to better reflect housing costs. In addition, places where housing costs have increased the most were moved up into different Accommodation Supplement areas with higher maximum payments.
Best Start payment: The Best Start tax credit helps families during a child's early years. A payment of $60 per week is available for each child born on or after 1 July 2018 and is available to all families in the first year of a child's life. For the second and third years of a child's life, support will continue for low- and middle-income families (abated at 21 percent for families with an annual income above $79,000).
Implement the Winter Energy Payment: This helps older New Zealanders and many of the poorest families to heat their homes over winter. The payment provides beneficiary couples or those with dependent children an additional $31.82 a week. The Winter Energy Payment was paid from July to September in 2018 and from May to October from 2019 onwards. In response to COVID-19, the Winter Energy Payment was doubled for the 2020 winter period. ($900 for singles and $1,400 for couples or people with dependants). The Winter Energy Payment restarted on 1 May 2021.
The Families Package Monitoring Report tracks the receipt and expenditure of the various components of the Families Package and was published in November 2019. This report will be updated annually over the coming three years, and will be developed to provide better information about what difference the package itself made to payments received, family incomes, child poverty, children’s outcomes, people’s employment, or other measures of wellbeing.