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Family law

Financial support for bereaved families

Ongoing income support and some one-off payments

Ongoing income support from Work and Income

If you don’t have any income, you can apply to Work and Income for an ongoing benefit. The type of benefit you might qualify for will depend on whether you have children and how old your children are (see: “Dealing with Work and Income”).

Death by accident: Support for the family from ACC

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 69, Schedule 1, clauses 65, 66, 70, 76

If the death was caused by an accident, ACC will provide a range of ongoing or one-off support for the surviving partner and children:

  • Survivor’s grants – ACC will pay a one-off survivor’s grant of $7,531.49 to the deceased’s spouse or partner, and $3,765.76 to each child under 18 or other dependents.
  • Weekly compensation for spouse/partner – This is paid at 60% of the rate the deceased would have got had they lived but been completely unable to work. These payments continue for five years, or until the children are all 18, whichever happens first. The payments won’t be affected if the surviving spouse/partner remarries or gets a new partner. The weekly compensation can be converted to one or more lump-sum payments.
  • Weekly compensation for children – This is paid to each of the deceased’s children (or other dependants), at 20% of the rate the deceased would have got. The payments continue until the children turn 18 (or 21 if they’re studying).
  • Childcare – You can get weekly payments from ACC to help pay childcare costs. The amount you get depends on how many children you have under 14. The payments continue for five years, or until your youngest child turns 14, whichever happens first. If your child has a disability, you might be able to get childcare payments for longer.

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A death in the family

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Confirmation of the cause of death – Coroners

The website of Coronial Services of New Zealand has information about the role of coroners in investigating the causes of deaths.

Website: coronialservices.justice.govt.nz

Registering a death

The Births, Deaths and Marriages section of the Department of Internal Affairs has information on what to do when someone passes, including registering a death.

Website: www.govt.nz/browse/family-and-whanau/death-and-bereavement

Burial and cremation

See your local council website for information about burial and cremation in your area.

Gathering kaimoana for tangihanga

The Ministry for Primary Industries has information on its website about Māori customary rights for gathering kaimoana for tangihanga, hui and other traditional purposes.

Website: www.mpi.govt.nz/fishing-aquaculture/maori-customary-fishing

Financial support for bereaved families

Work and Income’s website has information about possible financial support for funerals and tangihanga.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/urgent-costs/bereavement.html
Phone: 0800 559 009

ACC’s website has information about different types of accident compensation and payments that can be made to family members when a person has died in an accident.

Website: www.acc.co.nz/im-injured/financial-support/financial-support-after-death
Phone: 0800 101 996

Organ Donation New Zealand

Organ Donation New Zealand has information about organ and tissue donation.

Website: www.donor.co.nz

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