A quick guide to Centrelink payments for parents

A quick guide to Centrelink payments for parents

The government has a number of support payments available to parents or carers of children in Australia and it can be confusing to get your head around which of these you might be eligible to receive.

Here is our easy-to-understand guide to the various government payments available to parents and families in Australia.

If you’re expecting …

If you’re pregnant or preparing to adopt a baby there are a number of payments that can help you following the birth or adoption of your child.

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

The Newborn Upfront Payment is a lump sum payment of $560 (amount correct January 2020). This amount is not taxable. To be able to receive the Upfront Payment you must be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A and must not be receiving Parental Leave Pay for the same child.

The Newborn Supplement is calculated based on your income and the number of children in your care. The most you can receive is $1679.86 for your first child and $560.56 for subsequent children (as of January 2020). You must be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A to receive the Newborn Supplement and you cannot also receive Parental Leave Pay for the same child.

The Newborn Supplement is paid in fortnightly installments with your Family Tax Benefits. However if you have chosen to receive your Family Tax Benefit Part A as a lump sum at the end of the financial year, you can also choose to receive the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement at the end of the financial year as well.

Parental Leave Pay

The government provides up to 18 weeks of pay at the minimum wage — currently $740.60 a week before tax (as of January 2020) — to eligible parents to help them afford to take time off work following the birth or adoption of their baby.

To be eligible you must meet the ‘Work Test’, which means you’ll have to have worked 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption, and 330 hours in that 10-month period (this is slightly more than one day a week) with no more than an 12-week gap between two consecutive working days.

You’ll also have to meet an income test, residency rules and be on leave and not working until the end of the 18-week period.

Parental Leave Pay is a taxable payment.

Dad and Partner Pay

Eligible dads or partners can receive two weeks of pay at the minimum wage — currently $740.60 a week before tax (as of January 2020) — after the birth of a baby or the adoption of a child.

To be eligible you must meet an income test and 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 12-week gap between two consecutive working days.

You must be on unpaid leave or not working while getting the payment.

Parents or carers of children

Family Tax Benefit

Family Tax Benefit is an ongoing payment to help with the cost of raising children. It is paid fortnightly, although you can opt to receive FTB as a lump sum at the end of the financial year. There are two parts — Part A and Part B.

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 their age.

Family Tax Benefit Part B is an additional payment for single parents, non-parent carers and couples with just one main income — where one parent stays at home to care for a child full-time or only earns a small income. It is paid per family (not per child) and is income tested.

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

Child Care Subsidy

The Child Care Subsidy helps cover some of the cost of child care. It is paid directly to the child care service provider.

The amount of subsidy you receive is based on:

  • your family income
  • the type of service
  • whether or not you meet the activity test — the number of subsided hours you can access depends on the number of hours you work each fortnight.

Both parents have to meet the activity test – and where one parent works less than the other, the subsidy is based on the parent who works the least.

Families earning $68,163 or less (as of January 2020) each year can access up to 24 hours of care a fortnight without having to meet the activity test.

Parenting Payment

Parenting Payment is an income support payment, similar to Newstart but for parents or carers of young children.

To be eligible you must:

  • be 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 Parenting Payment and the amount depends on the family income and assets..

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This article is only a very general guide to the government payments available to parents and families in Australia. To check which payments you’re eligible for, please contact the Department of Human Services.

A representative from Centrelink visits the Mackay Women’s Centre each month to talk on various topics and answer questions. To find out more phone us on 07 4953 1788