Useful? Share it!

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

Post your comment

Comment Guidelines : Play nice! We welcome opinions, discussion and compliments. Especially compliments. But remember: the person on the other side of the computer screen is someone's mum, brother, nan or highly intelligent but opinionated cat. We don't tolerate nastiness or bullying. We'll delete disrespectful comments and any replies to them. more

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have a Gravatar, it will appear next to your comments. Read more about Gravatars here

*

Prove you're human ... *

334 comments so far -

  1. Hi I’m due with baby number 7 in Oct 2019. Hubby been outta work for 11 months so both on centrelink low income. I was told by family member I won’t get any added $$ to my centrelink. Is this true and if not what am I looking at for fun a and b. And new baby sup

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

      As far as I know (and I’m not an expert on this) Family Tax Benefits are paid per child. So if you’re welcoming a new baby then you’d receive extra for that baby.

      I’m assuming that because you’re on a low income you’d receive the maximum amount. But I can’t tell you much more than that because the amount you’ll receive will depend on the ages of your other children (and other things such as how much they’re in your care etc).

      However, if you or your partner receive an income support payment, or your family’s adjusted taxable income is $53,728 or less you’ll receive the maximum amount of Family Tax Benefit A.

      The maximum rates are (for each child per fortnight):

      $182.84 for a child 0 to 12 years
      $237.86 for a child 13 to 15 years
      $237.86 for a child 16 to 19 years who meets the study requirements

      If you’re eligible for Family Tax A you’ll also be eligible for the Newborn Supplement and Upfront Payment. The maximum amount is $1649.83 for your first child and $550.55 for subsequent children.

      I’m not sure if you’d receive any more Family Tax Benefit Part B as that is paid per family – not per child. The maximum rate for FTB Part B depends on the age of your youngest child.

      The maximum rate per family each fortnight is:
      $155.54 when the youngest child is 0 to 5 years of age
      $108.64 when the youngest child is 5 to 18 years of age

      Hope this helps!

      Take care!

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

  2. Hello, i just had a baby early Feb. I applied for parental leave pay and family assistance 3 months before my due date. I am on parental leave at the moment.
    Can i apply for ftb from 2017? Not sure so when i lodged ftb i clicked no and just put this year.
    How do you know if you are eligible for ftb A? Also Am i eligible for newborn supplement ?

    • Hi Shell!

      Thanks for your question and congrats on your new bub!

      To answer your questions, Family Tax Benefit is paid per child, so if you did not have any children before now then you wouldn’t have been able to claim FTB earlier.

      If you’ve received Parental Leave Pay, you would not be eligible to also receive the Newborn Supplement. It is one or the other.

      Now, with regard to your eligibility for Family Tax Benefits… as far as I am aware you would have been assessed for this at the same time they assessed your Parental Leave Pay claim. They should have let you know the outcome of that claim.

      If you have been eligible and for some reason they have not been paying you (or didn’t process your claim properly) it is not too late. In fact, many people (especially those close to the cut-off to receive FTB A) wait until after the end of the Tax Year to put in a claim for a lump sum amount. This is because to receive the fortnightly amount, you have to estimate your income for the financial year (and if you underestimate, you might end up owing money after your tax return is processed).

      I can’t say whether or not you’d be eligible or even give you a cut-off etc because it depends on your adjusted family income and the number of children you have.

      Have a read of this page though – it might give you some idea about how much you’ll receive (if any): https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/family-tax-benefit/how-much-you-can-get/income-test-ftb-part

      I hope this helps! If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

      Take care!

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

  3. Hi. I am keeping bridging visa A and waiting for PR. I havd worked in 11 months before I gave birth. So can I receive the Parental leave payment or not? Thank you for your concern!

    • Hi Kelly!

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately I don’t really know much about visas.

      The residence rules require that you be a permanent resident at the time of your baby’s birth, so I’m thinking that you probably won’t be eligible for Parental Leave Pay from the government.

      HOWEVER — there are some exceptions to the rule, and I’m not sure if any of these would apply to you. Have a look at this page: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/residence-descriptions

      It is definitely worth contacting Centrelink to make sure and to ask if there are any other payments you might be eligible for.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

      Take care!

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

  4. Hey
    I have just had a baby in january the 14th
    I applyed for a payment for bub on the 25 febuary
    I am single and stuggling atm does anyone know if they will back pay me and how long does it usually go through please thank u

    • Hi Kristy!

      Thanks for reading and congrats on your new baby.

      Sorry to hear that you’re struggling at the moment. I hope Centrelink doesn’t take too much longer for you.

      I believe that they will back pay you but I do not know how long it is currently taking them to assess applications.

      Perhaps there’s someone in our forum who has recently applied for Centrelink payments and they might be able to give you a more approximate time? Our forum is free, anonymous and easy to join. Here is a section specifically for Family Finance questions: https://www.bubhub.com.au/community/forums/forumdisplay.php?157-Family-Finances

      All the best!

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

    • Hi Topsy,

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your question.

      It really does depend on how much your son earns, if he has a partner (and how much that person earns) and what percentage of time his daughter is in his care.

      He could be eligible for Family Tax Benefit A, the child care subsidy and perhaps Parenting Payment too. But really it all depends on his income and family situation. He really needs to check with Centrelink.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

      All the best,

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

  5. I need a quick response here from anyone with information please! Me and my 3 kids are planning to travel overseas to my parents for 3 months but as far as i have read the family tax benefits stop if u tracel for more than 6 weeks. My question is if i stay there for 3 month would my payments stop altogether?? I mean will it stop for ever? Or just until i come back and it will start back from that date again???

  6. Help Please
    I am a mum of 5 Now as I’ve just had my 5th baby about 3 weeks ago I was working prior to giving birth but for only 6 months (I resigned in May this year as I had to stay home full time to look after my children because my partners work hours changed and crossed through mine (Before we had my mum looking after my children for the 1 -2 hour gap we had between our work hours. I know I’m not eligible for ppl but that’s okay Currently I’m receiving FTB part A and B and I believe I’m eligible for the upfront payment and newborn supplement as me and my partner earn under the income test amount (I can’t remember what that is . He Is the only one working atm and probably will for a while, we are both Nz citizens and have been here for over 2 years. I’m wondering if there are any other family payments we would be eligible for as tbvh the FTB part a and b fortnightly with 5 children doesn’t cover much even with my partners one income. We do rent privately as well and have accessed the rent assistance which helps a lot but just seeing if we have any other options available Thankyou so much

    • Hi Sandy! Thanks for your question and congrats on your new baby.

      I’m afraid I’m not really sure if there is anything else that you may be eligible for. The article pretty much outlines all the family payments available.

      Do you have a health care card? It’s not a payment but could help reduce costs.

      There is a Parenting Payment but this is an income support payment (rather than a supplement) and it is for those on very low incomes. I suspect your husband may earn too much for you to be eligible for this.

      I’m afraid I’ve not been much help. Sorry!

      Take care x

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

FEATURED SUPPORTER
Innovations Sports PhysiotherapyWomen’s Health Physios who are able to assess and treat a wide range of Pregnancy and Post Natal Issues. We offer ...
REVIEWS
"Made bed time less anxious"
by Meld85
My Little Heart Whisbear - the Humming Bear reviews ›
"Wonderful natural Aussie made product!"
by Mrstwr
Baby U Goat Milk Moisturiser reviews ›
"Replaced good quality with cheap tight nappies"
by Kris
Coles Comfy Bots Nappies reviews ›

ADVERTISEMENT

back to top