The extension will be signed into law after the adoption of the Welfare Amendment Bill later this week in Parliament.
This proposal was in one of two papers presented in Parliament last week during the continuing debate on the 2019/20 Appropriation Bill.
They were the Welfare Amendment Bill and an erratum to rectify errors in some variance figures that were raised by the Opposition Democratic Party last week.
The paper on the Welfare Amendment Bill was presented by Internal Affairs minister Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa. It was to allow amendment to the bill for child benefit extension.
In last year’s Budget, the government recognised the high costs of participating in secondary education for Cook Islands families, by extending the child benefit from 0-12 years, to 0-16 years old.
That was to be extended over a period of two years, so, as of October 1 last year, the child-benefit age was extended to under 14 years.
As of July this year, the government has promised to provide additional funds to accommodate the age extension to under 16-year-olds. The government hopes this additional funding to families will enable them to attend to their children’s basic necessities.
The rate of the child benefit payment was increased from $66 to $100 a month in the 2017/18 Budget.