Access and Advocacy

October 10, 2022

A grandparent navigates the WINZ system with help from Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

It's often an unexpected or traumatic event that leads to a grandparent becoming the full-time caregiver of a grandchild. Parenting can be a challenge at the best of times. For grandparents, it can be an overwhelming learning curve to navigate and adjust to. They need access to information, advice, support, and advocacy. That's why our partner charity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, exists.

Marama* is raising her granddaughter. For the past 8 years, she has been covering the costs of her granddaughter’s daily and essential needs. At times it’s been a struggle. When Marama needed to buy a device for her granddaughter’s schooling, she went to WINZ, only to be told that she wasn’t eligible for any additional income support.

Tricia is a financial support advocate at our partner charity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ (GRG). Tricia worked with Marama to assess her circumstances and entitlements under the law. They discovered that Marama was eligible for extra income support – just like any parent in her circumstances. She should have been receiving the Unsupported Child’s Benefit for 8 years already. Tricia went into bat for Marama and had a win with WINZ.

Marama was granted the Unsupported Child's Benefit plus a lump sum back payment for the time she had been denied the proper support. GRG then helped Marama with an application for the Extraordinary Care Fund so that she could purchase a device for her grandchild's online schooling.

"Knowing that GRG are there to help us has taken a lot of stress off me. I didn’t know what my granddaughter was entitled to until GRG came into our lives. I'm so grateful."

Support from GRG didn’t end there! Through their donations service, Marama’s granddaughter received a care pack which included donated clothing and other essential items.

Since receiving GRG’s help, Marama says she has a better understanding of her rights, responsibilities and legal status as a caregiver.

“Without you to help us, we would have still been struggling. You are a Godsend, and I will be forever grateful for your support. My granddaughter is happier now because she knows she is able to play sport without the worry of how it will be paid for. Thank you!”

Words and images supplied by Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

*Name changed to respect privacy.

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