Orphan's Benefit/Unsupported Child's Benefit caregiver survey

Published: March 5, 2024

A telephone survey of Orphan’s Benefit (OB) and Unsupported Child’s Benefit (UCB) caregivers was conducted to gain insight into the experiences of these caregivers and understand how Oranga Tamariki can support these caregivers in their important role.


While MSD manages the payments, Oranga Tamariki has the responsibility for driving policy changes about how all caregivers of children are being supported.

Oranga Tamariki can support these caregivers by identifying key factors for stress for these caregivers and helping to facilitate support systems to mitigate this, both financially and with regards to health and wellbeing of both caregiver and children in OB/UCB care.  

The Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit are weekly payments, administered by Work and Income, for carers supporting a child or young person (18 years old or younger), whose parents: 

  • cannot care for them because of a family breakdown, which was likely to last for at least 12 months (UCB); or 
  • have died, cannot be found, or cannot look after them because they have a serious long-term health condition or incapacity (OB).

Key findings

The 2023 survey included the views of a total of 1,037 respondents, comprised of 78 OB recipients and 959 UCB recipients. The findings from the survey highlighted that: 

  • Most OB and UCB respondents viewed caregiving as a rewarding experience. However, across the data we saw a picture of both financial and emotional stresses experienced by a group of caregivers with unique support needs.  
  • This year there was a slight decrease in caregivers feeling their income was enough to meet their needs, with half of respondents feeling their benefit was not enough. Close to a third needed to request further financial help to cover the costs of caring. 
  • While most respondents were aware of the School and Year Start Up Payment, there was an indication that, for some, this wasn’t enough of a contribution towards the actual costs.  
  • Awareness of the Extraordinary Care Fund Grant has decreased over time and, of those aware, nearly two thirds had not applied for it.  

Next steps

The findings from the survey highlight the areas where further focus and support would be beneficial for OB UCB recipients.    

  • The results of this survey will be used to inform ongoing work from Oranga Tamariki and MSD policy in reforming the system of financial assistance for OB/UCB caregivers.  
  • Despite the improvements made to supporting OB/UCB caregivers since the 2019 financial assistance reform was established, this survey shows that caregivers are still reporting high levels of need for them and their children. The results will be used to inform policy work and reinforce that this high level of need still exists and is not greatly improving from year to year.