September 30, 2023

Home Educators on Benefits

I have had a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know what they can be doing in regard to getting back to work.

Here is the deal.

In 2010 the MSD set up this policy for those on a benefit: unemployment, widows, sickness and DPB.

1. If your youngest child is 6 and over then you may need to work for 15 hours a week
2. If your youngest child is 14 and over then you may need to work full-time – 30 hours a week

There was no mention of how much money you had to earn just work the 15 or 30 hours a week.
I believe you can earn up to $80.00 on a benefit.

So you could be doing:

1. a paper run for 15 hours a week with the very small income that comes with junk mail runs.
2. Setting up an entrepreneurial business with all your children.  Ideas for a business where you can involve your children:

  1. lawn mowing
  2. gardening
  3. baby sitting
  4. cleaning
  5. Avon
  6. Tupperware
  7. Rawleighs
  8. Making things to sell: with wood, bread, sewing, etc
  9. paper runs
  10. selling things on Trademe/Sella – buy at garage sales
  11. art
  12. Proof reading
  13. Take some of your children’s (or yours) giftings and turn them into a business
  14. Plus heaps of other things – if you think of some good things then please let me know so I can add them to this list.

So if your youngest is 6 or 14 then you may have to be working (or you might be able to study still) for 15 or 30 hours a week.

Now the rest is not yet law.

So you DO NOT have to be working or looking for work if you youngest is 5 or younger.

The Social Security Bill has not been passed yet. We are hopeful that the Social Obligations will be dropped in the Bill. If they are dropped then we will seek to have the requirement for home educators to have to work for 15 or 30 hours a week, dropped from the policy made in 2010.

Now some WINZ workers let home educators off the work requirements and others are strict about home educators working. If you feel that your WINZ worker is being unreasonable then please read this link: Beneficiaries: Policy and Law.

Where are we in regards to the Social Security Bill:

The Select Committee is writing their report due 20 March 2013. They may write their report before this date.

Next week I plan to send a letter to the Human Rights Commission and to contact New Zealand First. I will also be sending out a press release. There will be things that all of us can be doing then. So keep an eye on this website for more information next week.


From the Smiths:

Updated 19 December 2012:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here


Needing help for your home schooling journey:


Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:


This link is motivational:


Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Make a submission: Reject compulsory Early Education for 3 year olds



  1. Some Comments from people that need to be considered if you are setting up a business:

    Not that I want to put a downer on your ideas, because I think they are marvellous, but if you set up a business (idea 2) with the children and you pay yourself to ‘manage’ the business. It would be classed as a viable going concern. Therefore, you may run the risk of heading into the minefield of child labour/minimum wages, producing financial statements etc. If you use that money and claim it as ’employment’ against benefits they will likely come at you from a different angle…. eventually. Just saying. Sorry. Having worked for government.

    Doesn’t the 15 hours work requirement need to be a wage? It is for working for families criteria for a working family. I believe it is not sufficient just to be 15 hours at self employed income ie a paperround. One option is to set up a company and pay yourself the minimum wage from the earnings. Ie if you do a paperound the contract money goes in the company and then you pay yourself a wage and pay PAYE etc

  2. Some more comments:

    3. you wont *have* to work 15 hours a week – you merely have to say that you are looking for, and available for, work for those hours…

    Just to clarify. I’m not sure for those on other benefits, but for single
    mums at least…you are considered in full time work if you work 20 hers a

    You can earn up to $80-100/week (the official stance was $80, but I was
    told it had changed)…and still receive the full benefit.

    However, once you are working 20 hours- whatever the wage/salary, you aha
    receiving working for families (as for low income two-parent families) and
    another $60 a week for being “in work”…and possibly an accommodation
    supplement on top.

    In addition, if the non-custodial parent is paying child support you will
    receive that as well. Not easy to work those hours as a single parent with
    children home 24/7…but it is possible.

    For instance, before I got my proper contract with one company…I worked
    stuffing envelopes, or making up gift packs, etc for one company, did
    market research for another (all with the children present) and marketing
    stuff for another company whenever I could get some child-free time.

    I found a company that was happy for me to say I had worked 8hrs a week for
    three weeks, instead of the actual 24 I did in one…for instance.

    It did get too hard for me for various reasons…but if you had family in
    town, for instance…or one child over 14…or a couple of single-parent
    families to split the load…I think it could be done.

  3. From another person:

    Another “business” to add to your list:

    – get Vistaprint (free) business cards advertising that you help people downsize, or get rid of junk/furniture etc
    – collect the junk/furniture/appliances/knick knacks etc from people (you may need a trailer or one you can hire) and either take to the tip, sell on trademe or to 2nd hand dealers
    – you need a working knowledge of how much you can sell things for. Some people just want to get rid of the stuff, others want a bit of cash for it.