Skip to main content

For information about COVID-19, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website

Apply for Best Start payments

Everyone can get a weekly payment in their child’s first year — if the child was due or born on or after 1 July 2018. Some people can get a payment until their child is 3 — it depends on family income.

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, Inland Revenue or Work and Income may be able to help.

What you need to know

  • If you’re the primary caregiver, you can get the payment. For the first year of getting Best Start, it does not matter how much your family earns.
  • Payments start when your parental leave payments end.
  • When the child turns 3 your entitlement to Best Start ends.

Who is eligible

You can get the payments if:

  • you’re the primary caregiver
  • your child was born on or after 1 July 2018
  • you’re a NZ citizen or resident, or you care for a child who is a resident and present in NZ.

Inland Revenue has more information about eligibility for Best Start, which is 1 of 4 types of Working for Families payments.

Can I get Working for Families?

How much you can get

It does not matter how much you earn — in your child’s first year, you will get a weekly payment.

Payments in your child’s second and third year depend on your income.

Types of Working for Families payments — Inland Revenue

Get your information ready

You’ll have to provide your:

  • IRD number
  • name and contact details
  • bank account details (if you’re not already a Working for Families Tax Credit or Ministry of Social Development customer)
  • citizenship or resident status
  • MSD client number (if you’re a Ministry of Social Development customer).

If you have a partner (or had 1 in the last year), you need to provide their:

  • name
  • contact information
  • IRD number.

You’ll need to provide your children’s:

  • names
  • birthdays
  • IRD numbers.

You might need to provide information about your family income

Do not complete the family income section if you apply when your child is under 12 months old.

Do complete the family income section if you’re applying:

  • for a child aged up to 3 years
  • for Working for Families Tax Credits as well as Best Start.


The easiest way to apply is when you register your child’s birth, or you can apply at any time through Inland Revenue.

If you’re registering your new baby at the same time

You can apply for Best Start online when you register your baby.

Register your baby — SmartStart

If you apply through Inland Revenue

Best Start is 1 of 4 types of Working for Families payments.

Apply for Best Start — Inland Revenue

What happens next

Your payments start as soon as your application is processed. It usually takes about 3 weeks.

You have to apply for Best Start each year, it does not automatically keep going. When your child is 11 months old, you’ll get a letter asking you to confirm your details.

Utility links and page information

Last updated