A new law enabling sole parents on a benefit to receive child support payments for their tamariki was passed in Parliament today.
“This change is estimated to lift as many as 14,000 children out of poverty and give families a median of $20 extra a week,” said Social Development and Employment Minister, Carmel Sepuloni.
Under the Child Support (Pass On) Acts Amendment Act, child support collected by Inland Revenue will be passed on directly to people on a sole parent rate of main benefit from 1 July 2023.
The first payments will be passed on to parents from 22 August 2023.
“At present these child support payments are kept to offset the cost of sole parent benefits – a policy that dates back to 1936. Passing on child support is a key component of our Welfare Overhaul programme. We firmly believe that money intended for children should not be withheld by the Government, and go towards their wellbeing,” said Minister Sepuloni.
“The change also means sole parents will no longer be required to apply for formula-assessed child support from Inland Revenue when they apply for a benefit, and instead can choose whatever child support arrangement works for them,” said Minister for Revenue, David Parker.
“From now on sole parents on a benefit will be treated the same as other people getting benefits, such as parents in a new relationship – making the child support rules the same for different family types.
“Inland Revenue will share child support information with the Ministry of Social Development through an Approved Information Sharing Agreement, and the money will be treated as income when calculating benefits and other financial help.
“The proposal will strengthen the child support scheme. If parents know that the child support they pay will get to their own children, it will also encourage more parents to pay,” he said.
There is no change for anyone receiving Unsupported Child’s Benefit, as Oranga Tamariki is undertaking longer-term work on financial assistance and support for caregivers.