Social Welfare Division – Benefits
The Social Welfare Division is responsible for administering welfare payments and the Government Funded Paid Maternity Leave.
To receive a welfare benefit:
- You must be eligible. The eligibility requirements depend on the welfare benefit you are seeking but most importantly, you must be a Cook Islander or a permanent resident who normally resides in the Cook Islands. See below for further information.
- You must have a Bank of Cook Islands account to receive any welfare payment made from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Payments are made on or about the 1st and 16th of each month.
Click onto one of the following benefits for eligibility criteria and information.
For information about the destitute and infirm benefit, please contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 29370 and ask to speak with a member of the Social Welfare Division.
To apply for the Old Age Pension, Child Benefit, Destitute or Infirm Benefit click here for an application form
If you are expecting, or have recently had, a baby, you may be eligible for the following payments in addition to the Child Benefit for that baby.
•New Born Allowance – for more information about the New Born Allowance call us on 29370.
Do you need information on Maternity Leave and the Government Funded Paid Maternity Leave Scheme? Maybe you need an application form for Government Funded Paid. click here.
GOING OVERSEAS ?
You must inform us if you are going overseas, even if it is not permanently, to avoid the risk of receiving an overpayment of your entitlement.
An overpayment is when you receive a welfare payment that you are no longer entitled to.
ABSENCE FROM THE COOK ISLANDS
The most common cause for an overpayment is when you travel overseas for a period of time that is longer than the allowable absence period under the rules of eligibility.
The time you are allowed overseas while still receiving the welfare payment depends on the payment that you receive, for example:
•For the Old Age Benefit – you can receive your benefit for up to six months absence from the Cook Islands
•For the Child Benefit – you can receive the benefit for up to 6 weeks absence of the child from the Cook Islands
•For the Destitute and Infirmed Payment – you can receive the payment for up to one month absence from the Cook Island
Please contact us if you are unsure of your entitlement when going overseas.
ALREADY RECEIVING A PENSION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY?
Another common cause for an over-payment is if you do not declare that you are already receiving a pension payment from another country such as New Zealand and Australia.
Under the Welfare Payments Act, you cannot receive the Cook Islands Old Age Benefit if you are already receiving payment from another country and the amount you have received from the Cook Islands Old Age Benefit will be treated as an over-payment which you must repay.
If you receive an over-payment, we are required to undertake recovery action and ask you to pay back the amount that you were over paid.
You may be eligible for other forms of assistance or support:
•if you are caring for someone with a profound disability
•if you are an organisation that delivers services to vulnerable people
•if you are a pensioner and require some special assistance
Please contact us if you would like to discuss these options.