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Glossary Terms

Accommodation Area

New Zealand has four Accommodation Supplement Areas each with a different maximum rate of Accommodation Supplement. The maximum rate is based on the cost of housing in each Area. This means the maximum amount of Accommodation Supplement you can receive is determined by where you live.

Accommodation Supplement

The Accommodation Supplement is a payment to help both beneficiaries and working people with housing costs. The amount of assistance depends on how much rent, board or mortgage you pay, your personal circumstances such as your income and cash assets, where you live and the number of people in your household.

Childcare Assistance

Childcare Assistance is a general term covering both the Childcare Subsidy for pre-school children and Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) Subsidy for school-aged children.

Childcare Subsidy

Childcare Subsidy is a payment for low-and middle-income parents to subsidise the costs of childcare and early childhood education for preschool children. It is available for up to 50 hours a week for parents in work, education or training and for up to nine hours a week for other parents. Childcare Subsidy is paid directly to the childcare provider.

Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) Subsidy

This is a payment to low-and middle-income families in work, education or training to subsidise care for 5 – 13 year olds outside of school hours. In some cases OSCAR can be paid for a child 13-18 years if the child receives a Child Disability Allowance. It is available for up to 20 hours a week during term-time and up to 50 hours a week during school holidays. OSCAR Subsidy is paid directly to the childcare provider.

Early Childhood Education

Children aged three and four attending teacher-led Early Childhood Education services (kindergartens, centre based and home-based) may be offered 20 Hours  per week of free childcare.

Foster Care Allowances

These are payments made by Oranga Tamariki and other care providers to caregivers to meet the reasonable costs of children in foster care under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act.

Working for Families Tax Credits is a general term covering

Best Start tax credit is a payment that will be available from 1 July 2018 (replaces the Parental tax credit). It was introduced to assist families in a child’s early years. The family can get $60 a week for each qualifying child for the first year, regardless of family income. For the second and third years, payments depend on your family’s income. Payments will stop when the child turns 3 years old.

Family tax credit (FTC) is a payment to families with children, whether in work or on benefit, to help with the day-to-day living costs of the family. It’s paid by Work and Income when the family’s main source of income is a benefit, or by Inland Revenue when the main source of income is from work, a student allowance or NZ Super.

In-work tax credit (IWTC) is a payment to working families with children. It pays up to $60 per week per family with three children, and up to an extra $15 a week for each other child. To get in-work tax credit, couples must normally work 30 hours a week or more between them, and sole-parents must normally work 20 hours a week or more. Provided the working hours condition is met, in-work tax credit is also available when parents are self-employed, receiving NZ Super or a Veteran’s pension. It’s not available to families receiving an income-tested benefit or student allowance. In-work tax credit can be paid for children for whom an Unsupported Child’s Benefit, Orphan’s Benefit or Foster Care Allowance is paid. IWTC is paid by Inland Revenue.

Minimum family tax credit (MFTC) is a payment for families working for salary or wages earning up to $24,493 a year before tax and ensures families have a minimum income of $395 a week after tax. MFTC is paid by Inland Revenue.

Parental tax credit (PTC) (to be replaced with Best Start tax credit from 1 July 2018) is a payment for families to help meet the costs that come with having a new baby. The payment is for the first 56 days (or 8 weeks) after your baby is born and you can receive up to $1,200 depending on your family income. Receiving accident compensation payments, a benefit, student allowance or NZ Super during the 56 day period could affect entitlement. PTC is paid by Inland Revenue.

Paid parental leave is an alternative to parental tax credit is paid parental leave. This is a government-funded entitlement for eligible parents when they take parental leave from their job(s) to care for their newborn or adopted child. To be eligible, a parent must first qualify for parental leave from their job. You are entitled to paid parental leave if you have worked for the same employer for an average of 10 hours a week for six months or more before your baby’s due date. You can also qualify for paid parental leave if you adopt a child aged under six years. You cannot receive both paid parental leave and parental tax credit for the same child. If you would like some advice on which would be the better one for you, call Inland Revenue on 0800 377 777 or the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20.