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Benefit for Youth: Youth Payment

What is the Youth Payment?

The Youth Payment is a WINZ benefit for young people aged 16 or 17 who are not getting any support from their parents.

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) is the department that pays out the Youth Payment. However, most of the time, you will deal with your Youth Service Provider and not WINZ. You can find out more information about the youth payment in this section.

Who can get a Youth Payment?

You may be eligible for the Youth Payment if:

  • You’re 16 or 17; and
  • You do not have any dependent children; and
  • You’re living independently from your parents; and
  • You’re undertaking, or are available for full-time secondary or tertiary education, or approved full-time training or work-based learning.

You can be either single, married or in a civil union or de facto relationship. If you’re single, you will need to show ‘exceptional circumstances’ as to why you’re living independently. For example, you have left the care of MCOT. If it is possible for you to live with your parents, but you decide to move out instead, you generally will not be eligible for a Youth Payment.

Can I get a youth payment if I move in with my partner?

If you get married or have a civil union, or a de facto relationship (where you live with your partner like you’re married), you may be able to get a youth payment. Keep in mind that you can only do these things before you turn 18 if you have permission from your parents. You can’t get a youth payment if you are in a relationship with someone who is getting an Emergency Benefit, a Supported Living Payment or a Jobseeker Support.

What happens to my youth payment if my partner and I break up?

If you were getting a Youth Payment because you were married or in a civil union or de facto relationship, you can still keep getting it once you break up.

What is a Youth Service Provider?

Even though WINZ pays you your youth payment, most of the time you will deal with a Youth Service Provider. A Youth Service Provider is an organisation that works with young people to help them get into education, training or work-based learning. If you’re getting a youth payment, you’ll be assigned to a Youth Service Provider in your local area who will help you work through all the requirements.

What requirements do I need to meet to receive the youth payment?

To be eligible for a youth payment, you must be studying full time or be ready to do full-time study. You have to be studying towards qualifications that are NCEA Level 2 or higher and fulfil your education requirement, e.g. attend classes, take exams. You will also need to have regular meetings with your Youth Service Provider who will help you manage your money. You will need to update them on the changes in your life. You will also need to attend a money budgeting course.

If there are reasons why you can’t complete full-time study, you should talk to WINZ or your Youth Service Provider about it and see whether you can get a special exemption.

How much do I get from the youth payment?

At the moment, the most that you can get for a youth payment is $177.03 per week (after tax). However, you don’t get all of this money directly. Your Youth Service provider will make sure that your accommodation costs and some other core bills and debts get paid straight from the payment first, you’ll receive what is left after your core bills are paid. You may also be able to apply for some further assistance like an accommodation supplement.

How much do I actually get from the youth payment?

Generally, you’ll get paid up to $50 per week straight into your bank account. This is your spending money for the week. If there is any of your youth payment left after all the deductions have been taken out and you have received a $50 allowance, the rest will be put onto a payment card. Your payment card works like a debit card, except that you can only use it at approved stores (like supermarkets) to buy food and groceries.

Is there any way I can receive the full youth payment in my account?

You might be able to get your full youth payment paid straight to your bank account if you can prove to your Youth Service provider that you can manage your money well. This will mean that you must be capable of paying your own rent and bills, you’ll need to pay all your bills instead of the Youth Service Provider doing this for you.

How can I get more money while on the youth payment?

The youth payment has ‘incentives’ to encourage you to stick with your budgeting and studies. You can get an extra $10 per week once you have been in your course for 6 months. You can also get an extra $10 per week once you have done a budgeting course and have had conversations with your Youth Service Provider about how you have been spending your money for 3 months.

You’re also allowed to work while you’re receiving a youth payment. If you earn more than $200 per week from your job, then WINZ will start decreasing your youth payment.

When does the youth payment end?

If you’re still at high school when you turn 18, your youth payment will stop at the end of the year you turn 18. If you turn 18 while you’re studying somewhere other than high school, then your Youth Payment will stop either at the end of the year or when your course finishes for the year – whichever happens first.

What happens if I don’t meet my youth payment requirements?

The first or second time that this happens, WINZ will stop paying you your $50 allowance into your bank account and any incentive payments that you were getting. If you start meeting the conditions again within 4 weeks, then they will start paying you again. If you still don’t meet the conditions after 4 weeks, then WINZ could stop paying you altogether.

If you stop meeting your conditions for a three or more times, WINZ will stop your whole youth payment immediately. You will not be able to get any main benefit for 13 weeks.  You’ll have to apply again after 13 weeks if you want to receive the benefit again.

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