Orphan's and Unsupported Child's Benefit survey

Published: December 12, 2019

Findings from a survey of 1300 caregivers receiving the Orphan’s Benefit or the Unsupported Child’s Benefit with the aim of understanding children and their caregivers, and the extra help that they might need.
 

Background

The Orphan’s Benefit is a weekly payment which helps carers supporting a child whose parents have died, can’t be found, or can’t look after them because of a long-term health condition or incapacity. The Unsupported Child’s Benefit is a weekly payment to help carers supporting a child whose parents can’t care for them because of family breakdown.

The Orphan’s Benefit supports 360 children and the Unsupported Child’s Benefit supports 17,200 children. 

The survey included the following topics:

  • What is the profile, needs and living situation of children and young people?
  • What extra help is needed for children and caregivers?
  • What is the awareness of the Clothing Allowance, School and Year Start-up Payment, and Extraordinary Care Fund?
  • What are the financial costs and challenges?

This is the first time these caregivers have been asked what they need to provide stable and loving homes for children.

Findings

What is the current financial situation of OB caregivers?

  • For caregivers on lower household incomes of $43,000 or less, 45% stated their income was insufficient to cover everyday necessities
  • Just over one in three (35%) caregivers said their care role has affected their paid work situation. This is mainly due to reduced paid work hours, taking time off to care for the child, and resigning from a job.
  • Around one in four (27%) caregivers also shared that their housing and living situation has been impacted by caring for the child.

How effective is the OB?

  • Caregivers are divided on whether the OB is enough to pay for the costs of caring for the nominated child with 43% stating it is enough and 53% state it is not enough.
  • Regardless, most (88%) caregivers stated they use some of their own money to cover the costs of raising the nominated child.

What support do OB caregivers need to care for their child?

  • Most (83%) caregivers needed some type of support in the last 12 months to care for their child. The top five support needs related to education and schooling (51%), the child’s mental and emotional health (46%), the child’s behaviour (36%), general health conditions (33%) and transport (33%).

Unsupported Child’s Benefit findings

What is the current financial situation of UCB caregivers?

  • While over half of all caregivers (59%) agree they have enough money to care for the children in their home, income level plays a strong role in a caregiver’s ability to cope financially.
  • Around six in ten (59%) caregivers with an income of $30,000 or less disagree or have mixed feelings about whether the money is sufficient to care for the children. Likewise, 64% of caregivers in this low-income group report that their total income is not enough to meet every-day needs like accommodation, food, and clothing.
  • A further 61% of carers reported that they use ‘a lot’ or ‘quite a lot’ of their own money to supplement what they receive from the Ministry of Social Development in covering the costs of raising the child.

How effective is the UCB?

  • Half (50%) of caregivers shared that the UCB does not cover the costs of caring for the child.
  • This rises to 60% for those with a household income of $30,000 and below.

What support do UCB caregivers need to care for their child?

  • Most (80%) caregivers needed some type of support in the last 12 months to care for their child. The top five support needs related to education and schooling (47%), the child’s mental and emotional health (39%), the child’s behaviour (38%), general health conditions (32%) and learning disabilities (31%).