Getting ongoing extra help

Childcare costs

Help with children’s ongoing disability costs (Child Disability Allowance)

Can I get the Child Disability Allowance?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 17, 78–83, Sched 4

You can get the Child Disability Allowance if you’re a caregiver for a child who has a physical or mental disability, and who therefore needs attention and supervision over and above what’s typical for a child of the same age (sometimes called “constant care and attention”). The disability must be permanent or likely to last for more than a year. You’ll need a health practitioner to confirm that you qualify for the allowance.

The Child Disability Allowance isn’t income or asset tested, and so even people on very high incomes can get it.

You can be approved to receive the Child Disability Allowance for one or more years up until your child turns 18. Depending on the medical information provided by your health practitioner, Work and Income will decide if and how often your child’s medical condition needs to be reassessed.

You might also be able to get the Disability Allowance for your child (see: “Help with ongoing disability costs: Disability Allowance).

Childcare Assistance

Social Security Act 2018, ss 17, 76, 77, Sched 4 Social Security Regulations 2018, regs 20–49

Below are a number of ways you can get help with childcare costs for pre-school and school-aged children.

20 hours ECE for children aged 3 to 5

If you have a child aged 3 to 5 who isn’t enrolled in primary school, you can get up to 6 hours a day of childcare up to 20 hours per week. This is paid directly to registered early-childhood education (“ECE”) services (such as daycare centre, kōhanga reo, playcentre, kindergarten home-based education).

You can get this payment regardless of your income or residency status. You can receive both the 20 hours ECE and the Childcare Subsidy (see below) but not for the same hours.

Childcare Subsidy for pre-schoolers

If you have a pre-schooler, you might be eligible for the Childcare Subsidy. This is paid directly to registered ECE centres.

You can get nine hours of childcare a week if you’re a beneficiary and the main caregiver for your child.

You can get up to 50 hours of childcare a week if:

  • you’re working part-time or are in training or some other approved activity, and your partner (if you have one) is also in work, training or another approved activity or is unable to care for the child for some good reason, or
  • you have a serious disability or illness (as shown by a medical certificate) and your partner (if you have one) is in work, training or another approved activity or is unable to care for the child for some good reason, or
  • you’re receiving a Child Disability Allowance for the child, or
  • you’re also the main caregiver for another child who is in hospital or for whom a Child Disability Allowance is being paid.

This is paid until your child is 5 years and 4 weeks, at which point they are expected to be able to go to school. However, some schools only accept new entrants in groups at the start or middle of the term, so the pre-school subsidy can be extended until the next entrance date (up to age 6 at the latest).

If you are also receiving the Child Disability Allowance for your child, this subsidy will be paid until your child is 6.

Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment for young parents with a pre-schooler

You can get up to 50 hours per week of childcare paid for if:

  • you have a pre-schooler, and
  • you’re under 18, or you’re under 20 and receiving a benefit.

Early Learning Payment for families in Family Start or Early Start Programmes

If your family is enrolled in selected Family Start or Early Start Programmes, you can get:

  • up to 20 hours of childcare costs if your child is between 18 months and 30 months, or
  • up to 15 hours of childcare costs if your child is between 30 months and 3 years old.

OSCAR subsidy for school-aged children

You can get up to 20 hours per week of after-school activities for kids at school and up to 50 hours per week for a school holiday programme.

To qualify, you must be below a certain income threshold, and be in paid employment or taking an approved training or course.

You can get up to $50 per week for one child and $25 per week for each additional child. This is paid directly to you and you can use it to pay for informal childcare arrangements.

To qualify, you must be a sole parent who:

  • has been on a main benefit
  • is cancelling that main benefit to start a job, and
  • that job involves working at least 3 hours when childcare centres are closed (for example on evenings and weekends).

You can receive this payment for a maximum of 26 weeks from when your benefit is cancelled.

Did this answer your question?

Dealing with Work and Income

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:

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

See Work and Income’s website for information on whether you qualify for a benefit and how to apply for them.

Phone:  0800 559 009

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP)

AAAP is a free nationwide advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income.


Helpful resources for beneficiaries:

Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Services (BAIS)

BAIS provides free advocacy and support for beneficiaries and low-income families in Auckland’s North Shore, Rodney and Hibiscus Coast districts.

Phone: 09 444 9543

Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (HV BEST)

The HV BEST provides information and support to beneficiaries in the Hutt Valley. 

Phone: 04 529 8108

Beneficiaries & Unwaged Workers Trust (BUWT)

BUWT provides information, advice and support to people on low incomes in Nelson.

Phone: 03 548 8171

Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

The BAS provides information and support to beneficiaries in Christchurch.

Phone: 0800 00 00 43

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB provides free, confidential and independent information and advice. See CAB’s website for valuable information on a range of topics.

Phone: 0800 367 222

Find your local CAB office:

Zero Data

Zero Data is a new digital support that allows anyone with a mobile device, phone or tablet to access essential Government information for free. No data is used.


What do I need do I need for it to work?

  •  The device is on.
  •  The device is connected to Spark, Skinny One NZ, 2Degrees, Slingshot or Orcon.

You can access information from the following agencies:

  • Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora | Ministry of Social Development
  • Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education
  • Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs
  • Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand
  • Kāinga Ora | Homes & Communities
  • Te Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice
  • Te Kaporeihana Āwhina Hunga Whara | Accident Compensation Corporation

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top