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Changes to government family payments in 2017

A family affected by changes to the Australian government family benefit paymentsThere are quite a few changes to the Government’s family benefits in 2017 and many families will find that they could be worse off because of them.

We have made a quick list of these changes so you can quickly see which, if any, will affect you and your family.

Changes to government family payments in 2017

No more Schoolkids Bonus

The schoolkids bonus has been phased out. Families who were eligible for the bonus (which paid $430 for each child in primary school and $856 for each high school student) would have received their final payment in July 2016. There will be no Schoolkids Bonus in 2017.

Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay changes

If you have received Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay for a child born after October 1, 2016, the payment will count as income when you’re assessed for income support payments such as Parenting Payment, Newstart, Disability Support Pension etc. This means you could be eligible for less money when you are assessed for these payments. You don’t need to do anything, this will be automatically taken into account when your claim is assessed.

Changes to Family Tax Benefit A supplement

The Family Tax Benefit – Part A supplement is an amount paid at the end of the financial year to families eligible for Family Tax Benefit – Part A. Families can receive up to $726.35 for each child depending on their income. It is designed to be a safety net in the situation where a family may have a debt because they underestimated their income and were overpaid.

From the 2016/17 financial year the Family Tax Benefit A supplement will be income tested. If you receive Family Tax Benefit A, but your family’s income is more than $80,000 you will not receive the supplement. You do not need to do anything, this change will happen automatically.

READ: For more information check out our Guide to Government Family Benefit Payments

Reportable Fringe Benefits will affect family assistance payments

Centrelink has changed the way they assess reportable fringe benefits and this may affect your eligibility for or payment rate if you receive any of the following family payments: Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Stillborn Baby Payment, Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay.

You might be exempt from this if you receive Reportable Fringe Benefits from a not-for-profit organisation. If this affects you, first talk to your employer to confirm and then update your details with Centrelink. You will need to let them know that you are exempt otherwise you could lose money.

Some people will no longer receive the Energy Supplement

If you’re receiving an income support payment such as Parenting Payment you will continue to receive the Energy Supplement. If you’re receiving Family Tax Benefits you might be affected, depending on when you first started receiving the Energy Supplement.

If you receive FTB A and became eligible for the Energy Supplement before September 19, 2016, you will continue to receive it. If you became eligible between September 20 2016 and March 19 2017 your payment will stop on March 20. If you became eligible from March 20 2017 you will NOT receive this payment. You don’t need to do anything, this change will happen automatically.

Changes to the Single Income Family Supplement

The Single Income Family Supplement is a payment of up to $300 a year. It will not be paid to any new customers from June 30 2017. If you currently receive this payment you will continue to do so as long as you continue to be eligible. You do not need to do anything, this change will happen automatically.

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This article is intended as a general guide to the changes to family benefit payments in Australia in 2017. For more detailed information on how these changes may affect you and your family please contact the Department of Human Services.

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5 comments so far -

  1. Wow. Losing the Schoolkids Bonus is what will affect me the most, I think. I’m a single mum and I used the Schoolkids Bonus to buy my child his school shoes (Clarks are over $100 even when they’re on sale), and put any remaining money towards new items of uniform he might need.
    I don’t drink, smoke, or go out, so I’ve been able to manage so far…. this will make it just that bit harder.

    • Hi Wendy, Thanks for your comment. Yes, losing the Schoolkids Bonus will be a massive blow to many families. School costs add up – and yes, shoes especially! Kids feet grow way too fast!

      Take care xx

  2. Well as a pensioner of 71 years this is just another thorn in the foot for most persionets
    My pension is half of the average wage but no discount is given for my private rental ( rental assistance) what a joke.
    Also I have been waiting 6 yrs now on the public housing list when I ask how much longer I will have to wait the answer is we don’t know but I think on my death bed I will get an answer in the post
    Sir your application for housing has been approved?????
    What do you think
    Mike d

    • Hi Michael. Thanks for your comment. Yes, while we have focused on the changes affecting young families, there are many changes also affecting all other people who rely on the government for assistance – pensioners included.

      Is a terrible that the wait list for public housing is so long. There has to be a better way …

      Take care Mike. All the best

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