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Family law

Financial support for bereaved families

Ongoing income support and some one-off payments

On-going 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 the chapter “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 grantsACC will pay a one-off survivor’s grant of $6,766 to the deceased’s spouse or partner, and $3,383 to each child under 18.
  • Weekly compensation for spouse/partner – This is paid at 60% of the rate the deceased would have got had he or she 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).
  • ChildcareACC will pay childcare costs for each of the deceased’s children. The payments continue for five years, or until the child turns 14, whichever happens first.

    Note: If you lost a family member in the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, you may be eligible for some support from the government. See the Accident compensation (ACC) chapter for more information.

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A death in the family

Where to go for more support

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.

Registering a death


The Births, Deaths and Marriages section of the Department of Internal Affairs has information on its website about registering deaths.

Burial and cremation

Local council websites have information about burial and cremation in their particular areas.

Financial support for bereaved families


Work and Income’s website has information about possible financial support for funerals and tangihanga. Click on “Benefits and payments / Urgent or unexpected costs”.

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. Go to: www.acc.co.nz , and click on “I’m injured / Types of financial support / Financial support if someone has died”.

Gathering kaimoana for tangihanga


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

Organ donation


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

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