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Guide to government family benefit payments

Young Australian family sitting outside their home

NOTE: Australia has a new child care package. In 2018, the Child Care Subsidy replaced the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. Read our article on the Australian Government’s New Child Care Package and how it affects you.

In Australia, the Federal Government offers a number of payments to parents and families — some are one-off payments following the birth of a child while others are ongoing payments to support families or help with the cost of child care.

It can be pretty confusing trying to get your head around the many payments available.

You then have to work out whether you are eligible for them and if so, how much you are likely to receive.

Here is our quick guide to Government family benefit payments in Australia. Hope it helps!

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

This payment was introduced after the Baby Bonus was scrapped in March 2014. It is paid following the birth or adoption of a child.

To be eligible for newborn payments you must:

  • have a baby or adopt a child on or after March 1, 2014
  • be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • not be receiving Parental Leave Pay for the same child

The Newborn Upfront Payment is a lump sum of $550 (amount correct as of February 2019). It is not taxable and it is paid for each child that comes into your care.

The Newborn Supplement depends on your income and how many children you have. The maximum amount is $1649.83 for your first child and $550.55 for subsequent children (amount correct as of February 2019).

How you receive your Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement depends on how you choose to receive Family Tax Benefit Part A — eg. fortnightly or as a lump sum at the end of the financial year.

Parental Leave Pay

Eligible parents can receive up to 18 weeks of pay at the minimum wage — to help them take time off work following the birth or adoption of a baby.

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you must:

  • be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
  • have worked 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
    330 hours in that 10 month period (just more than one day a week) with no more than an 8-week gap between two consecutive working days
  • meet the Paid Parental Leave income test
  • be on leave or not working from the time you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period

Parental Leave Pay is currently $719.35 a week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks (amount correct as of February 2019). It is a taxable payment – which means it may affect your existing family assistance entitlements, child support arrangements and tax obligations. Parental Leave Pay can be paid by your employer or directly from the government.

You do not need to be working full time to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay.

The scheme provides you with Parental Leave Pay but does not give you an entitlement to leave. You need to work out your maternity leave entitlements with your employer — try to give them at least 10 weeks’ notice.

READ: More information about Parental Leave Pay and the eligibility criteria

Dad and Partner Pay

Dads or partners may be eligible for two weeks of government-funded pay after the birth of a new baby or the adoption of a child.

To be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay you must:

  • provide care for a newborn or recently adopted child
  • meet an income test
  • have worked at least 10 of the 13 months before the date your Dad and Partner Pay period starts, and 330 hours in that 10 month period (just more than a day a week) with no more than an 8 week gap between two consecutive working days
  • be on unpaid leave or not working while getting the payment
  • make a claim within 52 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption

Dad and Partner Pay is $719.35 a week before tax (correct as of February 2019). The government pays the money into your bank account in one installment after your child is born and your claim is finalised.

There is an exception to the work test if a premature birth prevented you from meeting it.

Dad and Partner Pay does not change your leave entitlements. Check with your boss as to what leave you’re entitled to — if you’ve worked for them for at least 12 months, you should be entitled to unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act 2009.

Family Tax Benefit

This ongoing payment is to help with the cost of raising children. It has two parts — Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B.

To be eligible for Family Tax Benefit you must:

  • have a dependent child or secondary student aged under 20 not receiving a pension, payment, or benefit such as Youth Allowance
  • provide care for the child for at least 35 per cent of the time
  • meet an income test

Family Tax Benefit Part A is paid for each child. The amount you get is based on your family’s income, the number of children you have and how old they are.

You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A if you have a dependent child who is:

  • aged 0-15 years
  • aged 16–19 years, paid until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 19, and undertaking full-time education or training in an approved course leading towards a Year 12 or equivalent qualification with an acceptable study load, or has been granted an exemption from education or training requirements

You should contact the Family Assistance Office to find out exactly how much your family will receive in Family Tax Benefit Part A. You will need to estimate your income — if you’re close to the cut-off amount then it might be best to wait until the end of the financial year once your actual is known. You’ll then receive a lump sum payment.

Family Tax Benefit Part B is an extra payment for single parents, non-parent carers and couples with one main income — where one parent stays at home to care for a child full-time or only earns a small income. This payment is income tested.

You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B if:

  • you are part of a couple and you care for a dependent child aged 12 years or younger at least 35 per cent of the time.
  • you are a single parent, grandparent carer or great-grand parent carer and you care for a child at least 35 per cent of the time and that child is either: 1. younger than 16 years of age or 2. a dependent full-time secondary student up until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18

You cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part B while you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay.

Child Care Subsidy

The Child Care Subsidy helps parents with costs for approved child care. The subsidy is paid directly to the child care service provider.

To be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy you must:

  • care for a child 13 years or younger (and not in secondary school, unless an exemption applies)
  • use an approved child care service
  • be responsible for paying the child care fees
  • meet residency and immunisation requirements

A family’s level of subsidy is determined by three things:

  • combined family income.
  • an activity test.
  • the type of service being accessed.

The Combined Family Income is how the government determines how much of your child care costs it will cover. The lower the family income, the higher the percentage they will cover.

To receive the Child Care Subsidy families must meet an activity test. The number of subsided hours you’re able to access will depend on the number of hours you work each fortnight. Both parents must meet the activity test – and in circumstances where one parent works less than the other, the subsidy will be based on the parent who works the least. Families earning $66,958 or less (amount correct as of February 2019) a year can access up to 24 hours of care a fortnight without having to meet the ‘activity test’.

There is a cap on the hourly rate that the government will subsidise. The cap is different depending on the type of service.

  • For centre-based day care (long day care and occasional care) the cap is $11.77 an hour*
  • For Family Day Care the cap is $10.90 an hour*
  • For Outside School Hours care (before, after and vacation care) the cap is $10.29 an hour*
  • For in-home care the cap is $32 per family*

* amounts correct as of February 2018

Schoolkids Bonus

The Schoolkids Bonus was phased out in 2016.

Parenting Payment

Parenting Payment is an income support payment for parents or guardians to help with the cost of raising children.

To be eligible for Parenting Payment you must:

  • single and care for a child under 8, or
  • have a partner and care for a child under 6
  • meet an income and assets test

Only one parent or guardian can receive the payment and the amount of Parenting Payment you get depends on the income and assets of both you and your partner (if you have one).

If you qualify for Parenting Payment, you may also be entitled to other payments and services, such as:

  • Clean Energy Advance
  • Energy Supplement
  • Health Care Card
  • Helping Young Parents
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance
  • Telephone Allowance

——————————————————————

This article is intended as a general guide to Government family benefit payments in Australia. To check your eligibility based on your own circumstances contact the Department of Human Services.

Image credit: leaf/123RF Stock Photo

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334 comments so far -

  1. Hi there,

    I’m currently pregnant with twins and I have an 18mo already. I resigned from my job before I knew I was pregnant and I’ve decided to not find more work as this pregnancy is higher-risk. Unfortunately, this means I will not be eligible for paid parental leave. My husband and I are looking at other options though so he can be home as long as possible after the twins are born. In your opinion, do you think it’s possible that husband receives ppl for one twin, whilst I receive ftb A for second twin and first child? I understand you cannot receive ftb B while ppl is being paid to anyone, and that with twins you can get ppl & newborn supplement for either child.

    In summary, can you have two primary carers where there is a twin birth & 1 other child at home?

    Really appreciate your help!

    • Hi Alex. Thanks for your question and congratulations on your pregnancy. How wonderful.

      I am honestly not sure about how the law applies to multiple birth but my thought is that your husband probably would not be eligible for Paid Parental Leave because the mother is considered (in the majority of cases) to the first primary carer as PPL is also to give her time to recover from the birth. I know this is the case for single births and afterwards the mother, if she’s eligible in the first place, can transfer her PPL to her husband if he becomes the primary carer. I’m not sure if there are different rules when it comes to multiple births though – sorry! – so you’ll have to double check this with Centrelink.

      If you’re not able to receive PPL you can receive the Newborn Upfront Payment and supplement for each child. As well as Family Tax A and B. https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/how-much-newborn-upfront-payment-and-newborn-supplement-you-can-receive/28481#a3

      Your husband should also be able to receive two weeks of Dad and Partner Pay.

      Does his workplace offer any other type of leave that might help him take extra time off?

      Sorry I didn’t have better news. Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  2. Hello, This may be a question for Centrelink however I am stressing slightly.
    It makes mention that one is eligible for Parental Leave Pay if you have earned an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year before the birth or adoption or the date you lodge your claim, whichever is earlier. My baby is due mid June 2019 which means my taxable income for 2017-2018 will be taken into consideration. This is fine as I meet the criteria (i.e. earned $150k or less) however for the next financial year 2018-2019, I will earn over $150,000. It makes no reference to the financial year after your baby is born so do you know if this will impact my Parental Leave Pay? I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find anything regarding this.
    I hope that makes sense. Thank you for any help.

    • Hi there! Congrats on your pregnancy and thanks for your question!

      I don’t think there’s any need for you to stress. Luckily as your baby is due just before the end of the financial year you’ll be asked only to show your income for the year before. Good timing 🙂

      Other ongoing payments require you to estimate your income for the current year – such as Family Tax Benefit — but not Parental Leave Pay.

      So I think you’ll be right. You can start your application for parental Leave Pay within 3 months before your baby’s due date.

      Hope this helps. All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  3. Hello!
    I am hoping you can assist me here. My bub is due on 19th April and I have just been made redundant after working with the company for 1.6 years. I finish on 16th Nov and get 4 weeks annual leave paid out and 4 weeks of notice period payment. Will either of those count towards “work” period for paid parental leave? Additionally, I have just started a skin consultancy business that is mostly through facebook and some meetings with potential buyer. Will that count as work even if i do an hour a week?
    Also if we jointly earn about 180k, will we be taxed heavily taxed on PPL payment?
    Just wondering how much we can expect to receive after taxes.
    Many thanks in advance for help!

    • Hi Kittoo,

      Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy. Paid leave does count as ‘work’ and so does a running a business so I would think that you’d be eligible. You will have to check your dates and individual circumstances though with Centrelink to be sure.

      If you’ve been made redundant then you’ll most likely receive your Parental Leave Pay from the government, if you’re eligible. They will apply a 15% tax deduction.

      Hope this helps. All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  4. Hi, I hope you can help!

    I’m an Aussie citizen but have been living overseas for the past 2 years. My partner and I are expecting in March next year, and will be moving back to Australia to settle end of November. He is British and on top of applying for the partner visa, we have saved loads, but aren’t sure of when he will be ready to work when we get there. I won’t be able to work and will solely be relying on savings – which I’d like to keep for baby, therefore, I was wondering what my options would be to help finance our situation and the past 2 years feels liek forever and I have no clue as I’ve never claimed for anything before….

    I’ve looked at the newborn supplement but don’t quite know where we will sit on income level, and won’t be getting maternity leave from NZ where we currently live – what do you think our option/s are??

    • Hi Cill,

      Thanks for your question – and congrats on your pregnancy.

      So it looks like you wouldn’t be eligible for Parental Leave Pay but you might be eligible for Family Tax Benefits. This payment is based on your projected earnings for the current financial year. So if you arrive in November and your partner starts work then he’ll only work for 7 or so months maximum before the financial years end and you won’t be working. So you might fall under the threshold. And if you’re worried that you won’t (or that you won’t be able to accurately predict it) you can put in your claim at the end of the year so you get exactly what you should.

      If you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefit A you’ll receive the Newborn Supplement and Upfront Payment.

      Also when you arrive you might also be able to put in a claim for Newstart and you might be exempt for having to look for work etc (please double check this, I don’t know much about other Centrelink payments). This will also depending on whether your partner is employed when you arrive.

      Hope that makes sense. Please feel free to ask more questions if you need. We are happy to help!

      All the best with the move x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  5. Hi. My due date is in January and I am on TR and my husband is Australian citizen and I am non working I haven’t worked in Australia. Do I get any benefits or payment on the birth of my baby.

    • Hi Shivalika! Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy.

      If I were you I’d look into your eligibility for Family Tax Benefits — this is a small allowance paid to families to help with the cost of raising children. You can still be eligible if you’re on a temporary visa, but it depends on which one. If you’re on a Partner Provisional or Temporary Protection Visas and you’re living in Australia you may be eligible.

      If you are eligible you’ll also be able to receive the Newborn Upfront Payment and Supplement.

      Hope this helps! All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  6. Hi,,, just wondering.. im temporary resident, and hubby is permanent,.. i understand that i am not eligible for any benefit, our baby is 5 months old now, are we eligible any benefit under husband residency? parenting paymen? or family benefit? thank you

    • Hi Suzanne, Thanks for your question and congrats on your new baby.

      You may be eligible for some payments but it is difficult for me to say without knowing more about your circumstance.

      Both payments – Parenting Payment and Family Tax Benefits – depend on your family income so it would depend on how much you both expect to earn this year.

      I’m afraid I can’t really help much, except to say that if I were you I would definitely check with Centrelink as to what you might be eligible for.

      If you have further questions please do not hesitate to ask. All the best!

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  7. Hi, We are moving to Australia for my husbands work, are were thinking of applying the TTS visa 482 so that also I could work. We have two small children, aged 1.5 and 3 years old by the time of the move. Do you know if we would be eligible to the Childcare subsidy? In the article it says “meet residency and immunisation requirements”. What are there requirements? The childcare seems to be insanely expensive even with the subsidy, but totally out of our reach without.
    Thank you for your help!

  8. hello, just a curiosity i got which is driving me nuts.I had my daughter back in 2016 and was and getting paid parental leave and partner pay, family tax benefit etc everything.I did not work for 2 years after she was born and only started working since jan 2018 but stopped working as it was getting hard for me from july 2018. I am expecting my second baby on Jan 2019. I am sure i have worked 330 during my work period from Jan 2018 to July 2018 but it is only 6 months. Would I still be eligible for paid parental leave when my second bub is born or i wud not be entitled to any payments?Plz help me get out of this curiosity and confusion.

    • Hi Anita, Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy.

      I’m afraid that I don’t think you would be eligible if you’ve only worked for six months. You need to have worked for 10 months out of the 13 months prior to your baby’s due date.

      If you’re still eligible for Family Tax Benefits then you’ll be able to receive the Newborn Upfront Payment and Supplement.

      Did you stop working because of a pregnancy complication? I ask because in those cases you can get a letter from your doctor to say that you were unable to continue working and a letter from your employer saying that had the complication not occurred you would have continued to work.

      Please still check this all with Centrelink so they can look at the finer details and your individual circumstances.

      Hope that helps! If you have further questions please do not hesitate to ask. Take care x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  9. Hi, just a question about the Upfront and Newborn Supplement. I’m still currently pregnant and my paid parental leave has been approved pending proof of birth. I’m pretty sure I selected the family tax benefit A to be paid in a lump sum at the end of the financial year, so does that mean I won’t receive the upfront and newborn supplement until after the financial year?
    If so, is there a way I can change it?
    Will I’ll still be entitled to receive the benefits even though my child would be almost a year old by the end of the financial year?
    Do most people choose to have it fortnightly?

    • Hi Jessica! Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy.

      Unfortunately if you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay you will not be able to receive the Newborn Upfront Payment and Supplement as well. It is one-or-the-other not both (unless you are expecting twins). However, the Newborn Supplement and Upfront Payment is just a little bit extra on top of your regular Family Tax Benefit payment, which you might be eligible for.

      If you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefits, the amount you’ll receive will be dependent on your family income and the number of children you have.

      If you choose to receive it fortnightly you’ll be asked to estimate your income for the financial year so they can work out how much you should receive. At the end of the financial year your payments will be balanced so hopefully you would have estimated correctly or you may end up owing money.

      Some people choose to receive the lump sum at the end of the financial year to avoid this happening. Especially if they are close to the cut-off or if they’re unable to estimate their income accurately.

      I guess you’d have to decide based on how much you think you’ll receive, and whether you’d prefer small amounts upfront or a larger amount later.

      Here’s some information that might help you to work out how much you might be able to receive: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/family-tax-benefit/payment-rates/how-your-income-affects-ftb-part

      Hope that helps! If you have further questions please do not hesitate to ask. Take care x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  10. Hi there,
    I’m pregnant with Twins and I’m a little confused about what payments I will receive. It seems I will get my 13 paid Maternity leave from my employer, however I just don’t know what I will receive from Centrelink for twins (I’ve read the website about a dozen times and still don’t get it). I’d love your help as I’m in discussions with my Employer about how long I will take off work. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Sam! Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy. Very exciting!

      It is my understanding that if you’re pregnant with twins etc and you’re eligible for Parental Leave Pay (18 weeks pay at minimum wage) from the government then you can receive that as well as receiving the Newborn Upfront Payment (if you’re eligible). Usually people can only receive one or the other, but if you have multiple children you can claim the Newborn Upfront Payment and Supplement for each additional child.

      So you will have to check your eligibility for the government’s Parental Leave Pay and then also see if you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefits. If you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefits you’ll be eligible for the Newborn Upfront Payment and Supplement (which is just a small bonus amount on top of the Family Tax Benefits).

      Here is a bit more information about Parental Leave Pay: https://www.bubhub.com.au/hubbub-blog/paid-parental-leave-pay-australia/

      Hope that helps! If you have further questions please do not hesitate to ask. Take care x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

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