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  5. Single parent benefits
Family benefits

Single Parent Benefits

In New Zealand, up until 2013, a single parent’s benefit was called the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB). This benefit stopped on 14 July 2013 and those receiving this benefit transferred to either Sole Parent Support or Jobseeker Support depending on the age of their youngest child.

Sole Parent Support (SPS) is the benefit for single parents (with children under 14). People on this benefit have obligations to get ready or be available for part-time work, according to their family situation. Sole Parent Support:

  • provides financial help through a weekly payment
  • helps you get ready for future work (if your youngest child is younger than five years)
  • supports you to find part-time work (if your youngest child is five years or over)
  • may mean you can get help with education and training

Work & Income New Zealand is responsible for administering Sole Parent Support.

Criteria for Qualification

You may be able to get Sole Parent Support if you’re a single parent or caregiver with one or more dependent children aged under 14 years.

You must also be:

  • aged 19 or older
  • not in a relationship
  • without adequate financial support
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident who has been here for at least two years at any one time since becoming a citizen or permanent resident, and who normally lives here.

If you meet all the above criteria except for the one about how long you’ve lived in New Zealand, Work & Income NZ encourage you to talk to them about what support you may be entitled to.

N.B. Individual Circumstances Govern how much money you are entitled to.

If your youngest child is 14 years or over, you won’t qualify for Sole Parent Support but you may qualify for another benefit, such as Jobseeker Support.

If you’re a sole parent aged 18 or younger, then you may be eligible for financial assistance from a Youth Parent Payment via Youth Service.

Your Obligations

Dependent children aged under five years

If you get Sole Parent Support and have a child under five years you need to prepare for work. Depending on your situation, this may mean taking part in a programme or seminar that will help you get ready for work, or employment-related training and planning.

You also need to take reasonable steps to make sure your dependent children are:

  • enrolled with a GP or Medical Practice
  • up to date with core Well Child/Tamariki Ora checks
  • from the age of 3 until they start school, enrolled in and attending an approved early childhood education programme

Dependent children aged five to 13 years

When your youngest child turns five, you’ll need to be actively seeking and available for part-time work (at least 15 hours a week) unless there’s a special reason that prevents you from working such as a health condition, injury or disability.

You also need to take reasonable steps to make sure your dependent children are:

  • enrolled with a GP or Medical Practice
  • enrolled in and attending school from the age of five or six (depending on when they start school),

This information is a guide only. For more information on Sole Parent Support, your eligibly and obligations visit the section on Sole Parent Support on the Work & Income website.

How Much Can I Get?

This amount varies dependent on individual circumstances. The following is a guide (as at 1 April 2014 rates):

  • The maximum rate for a single parent on Sole Parent Support is $299.45 (after tax) per week.

You may also be eligible for a Community Services Card which will help you to meet the costs associated with your health care. Dependent children aged under 18 years will also be covered. Check the Work & Income website for more information on the Community Services Card.

In addition, you may also be entitled to an Accommodation Supplement which is designed to contribute towards the cost of your housing. Check the Work & Income website for more information on the Accommodation Supplement.

Check the Ministry of Social Development and Work & Income websites for more information on financial support for children in single parent families.

Last updated: February 2015