In May 2015, a team from the Inland Revenue Department approached us and asked if they could come onto our Facebook page and answer questions around the recent changes to child support in NZ.
We agreed, a little hesitantly as we had no idea of what the response would be, but we figured that the more that people are talking about the issues, the better.
The response from our community was overwhelming.
In one of the recent changes, effective from April 1st, 2015, the living allowance underwent a massive restructure that has directly impacted on a large number of families.
Some of the questions IRD received, on our page, were regarding that living allowance…
Michelle also asked about the living allowance:
Thanks for the answer IRD, however there are a number of areas of concern that remain:
- The answer given is somewhat confusing, firstly it mentions that they appreciate that everyone’s costs are different (yet the living allowance is one set amount), then it goes on to say that it is the minimum level of income necessary to cover a parents own living costs. There is however, no break down or justification of these costs.
- Why is it just a flat rate i.e one size fits all, yet IRD constantly states that the reason child support is based as a percentage of income is because “One size doesn’t fit all”. Surely either one size fits all, or one size doesn’t fit all?
Ref IRD website-Rather than being a one size fits all, from 1 April 2015 a new formula includes both parents’ incomes and circumstances, and recognises a wider range of care. So the amount of child support some parents pay or receive may change
- When you go for an admin review to try to get an increase on living allowance, why do you have to justify how you spend every cent, yet the receiving parent doesn’t need to state how they spend the child support money or even need to submit their expenses?
- It’s not quite the same as the sole parent support benefit, as that particular benefit offers additional amounts of help including an accommodation supplement (which appears to be related to where you live interestingly, yes cost of living is different in different towns).
Over the next few weeks we intend on breaking down the answers given, we want you to share with us what you think.
This problem is not going away and we all need to unite together to highlight the inadequacies of the new formula.
Come and join the conversation.