Here it comes – the avalanche of back-to-school costs. Feet will have grown, shirts will have shrunk and sports gear will have got lost in the abyss. Even for those on a good income, it can be tough finding the money to kit out a child or two at the beginning of the year. For those on low wages or a benefit, the problem can be far harder. Things get trickier still when a school changes its uniform, and the option of a hand-me-down uniform is lost.
There is some assistance available for people on a low income or on a Work and Income benefit to assist with costs such as school stationery, school uniforms and school camps. These payments are in the form of an interest-free loan, called an Advance Payment or Recoverable Assistance payment. The loan needs to be repaid over a two-year period.
If a person isn’t on a Work and Income benefit, they need to be on a low income to apply.
The gross income limits for someone to apply are as follows …
If you would like to find out more about how to access one of these payments, or want to check that you meet the criteria, just call Work and Income on 0800 559 009. Alternatively, check out their website and look under “help with living expenses”, or you can call us at Homebuilders Family Services on 425 7048 for free and confidential advice and support. There is an inevitable rush for appointments at Work and Income as the school year starts, so get in contact with them early.
Homebuilders also offers a small school uniform exchange. This is a free service where we encourage people to drop off old uniforms which are in good condition or come and look for uniforms that will fit their child. Our uniform exchange is always looking for donations of uniforms in good condition, so please feel free to drop in any that you no longer need, so someone else can benefit from your generosity.