Types of main benefits
You’re a teenage parent (Young Parent Payment)
If you’re under 20 and have a child, you may qualify for the Young Parent Payment. You will usually have to be in full-time education or training (or be available for it).
Do I qualify for the Young Parent Payment?
If you’re a single parent, you must meet the activity requirements for this benefit (see below) and you must also be:
- aged 18 or 19, or
- aged 16 or 17, and:
- you are (or were) married, in a civil union or in a de facto relationship with your parents’ permission, or
- you’re living with, or being supported financially by your parents, but they earn under a certain amount, or
- you’re not living with your parents, and in “exceptional circumstances” – for example, your relationship with your parents has broken down. The same rules apply here as for the Youth Payment (see: “Showing ‘exceptional circumstances’ if you’re single”), or
- aged 20, in some limited circumstances. You can still get the Young Parent payment if you either:
- haven’t been getting the Young Parent Payment for at least 6 months. To be eligible for a main benefit, you need to have received the Young Parent Payment for at least 6 months, in this case you will continue to get the payment until you have received it for 6 months and then be eligible to apply for a main benefit (the exception to the 6 month rule is if you are on a Supported Living Payment on the ground of having a health condition, injury or disability), or
- remain in education, training, or work-based learning. For example, if you are 20 and enrolled in a training course, you can continue to receive the Young Parent Payment until your course is finished.
If you’re married, or in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship with your parents’ permission, you can’t get the Young Parent Payment if:
- your partner is working, and the two of you together earn over a certain amount, or
- your partner is receiving Jobseeker Support, the Supported Living Payment for sickness, injury or disability, or the Emergency Benefit. However, your partner can still include you as their partner in their benefit.
Note: If you’re 18 or 19, you can receive Jobseeker Support during your pregnancy. Once your baby is born, you’ll qualify for the Young Parent Payment. When you turn 20, you’ll qualify for Sole Parent Support if you’re single or Jobseeker Support if you have a partner.
To qualify for the Young Parent Payment, you must be taking part in (or be available for), full-time study or training training, leading to an NCEA level 2 qualification or an equivalent or higher qualification.
However, this requirement doesn’t apply if:
- you have a medical deferral due to a health condition,
- your child is less than six months old, or
- your child is between six and 12 months old and there isn’t a suitable place available for you in a school established specifically for young parents (“a teen parent unit”).
What other obligations will I have?
You might also have to:
- attend a budgeting programme,
- go to interviews with Work and Income or Youth Service provider organisations, and/or
- cooperate with Work and Income or Youth Service providers in managing how your benefit is spent – this means, in particular, attending budgeting discussions and providing information about your finances and spending.
As a parent on a benefit, you’re also required to meet a number of “social” obligations, such as making sure that from age three your children attend pre-school or school, see: “What are “social obligations”?”.
Will I receive the Young Parent Payment directly?
The Young Parent Payment is subject to the same “money management” system as the Youth Payment. Under this system, most of the benefit is not paid to you directly. Instead of getting money directly into your bank account, your Youth Service provider will pay your key costs on your behalf, this includes rent/board, power and phone. You’ll receive up to $50 a week directly into your bank account (your “in-hand allowance”) and any money left over is placed on a payment card, which you can use to buy food and other groceries from approved suppliers (for example, supermarkets, pharmacies or butchers).
Special “incentive payments” on the Young Parent Payment
While you’re receiving the Young Parent Payment, you may also qualify for all of the following incentive payments:
- You’ll receive an extra $10 a week if you complete six months’ successful participation in education, training or work-based learning.
- You’ll receive an extra $10 a week if you complete an approved budgeting course and if, for three continuous months, you’ve also been attending budgeting discussions with Work and Income or a Youth Service provider.
- You’ll receive an extra $10 a week if you complete a parenting education course and meet other related requirements.
If you’ve met the relevant requirements, you’ll continue to receive the incentive payment for as long as you’re on the Young Parent Payment.