The parents of children who qualify for the increase in the age of child-benefit scheme will need to apply in order to benefit from the initiative.
Late last month, Parliament passed the Welfare Amendment Act 2018 that allowed the age of the child benefit to be increased from 0-12 to 0-14 years. This change was effective from October 1, 2018.
In a public notice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said all children born and residing in the Cook Islands up to the age of 14 years were now eligible for the child-benefit payment.
“If your child is between the ages of 12 and 14 they may be eligible to collect the Cook Islands child benefit. You will need to apply for the child benefit by filling in an application form at the Ministry of Internal Affairs or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org,” the notice stated.
“Submit your completed forms in person with identification for the child and a BCI bank account. For further enquiries ring the Welfare Division on 29370.”
The increase in the age of the child-benefit scheme was one of the initiatives of the Cook Islands Party-led coalition government in the 2018/19 Budget.
“The government recognises the impact of the high costs of participating in secondary education on Cook Islands families. To address this, the government will increase the age of the child benefit from the current 0-12 to 0-16 years old over a period of two years,” said Finance minister Mark Brown when announcing the Budget.
As of July 2019, the government will provide additional funds to accommodate the age extension to under 16-year-olds, Brown added.
“This will provide additional funding to families to enable them to attend to their children’s basic necessities,” he said.