There 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.
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.
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.