Government Benefits for Parents - Lifesherpa
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Government Benefits for Parents

Government Benefits for Parents

The Australian Government provides a number of benefit payments to parents and families.  Some of these are one off payments such as on the birth of a child.  Others are ongoing payments designed to, for example, help with the cost of child care.
But, it can be pretty tough to get your head around the many payments and the eligibility rules.

Here is Life Sherpa's quick guide to Government family benefit payments.

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

This payment replaces the Baby Bonus (scrapped in March 2014) and is paid following the birth or adoption of a child.

  • To be eligible for a newborn payment of up to $532 (for each child) which is not taxable you must:
  • have a baby or adopt a child 
  • be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • not be receiving Parental Leave Pay for the same child
The Newborn Supplement depends on your income and how many children you have. The maximum amount is $1595.23 for your first child and $532.35 for subsequent children.
You will recieve your payment on the same basis as you choose to receive your Family Tax Benefit Part A (either fortnightly or as a lump sum at the end of the financial year).

Parental Leave Pay

Parental Leave Pay provides eligible parents with up to 18 weeks pay (at the minimum wage) to help them take time off work following the birth or adoption of a baby.
Parental Leave Pay is means tested – which means that you won’t get it of you earn more than a certain amount. It currently pays $672.60 per week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks and is taxable. This means it may affect your existing family assistance entitlements, child support arrangements and tax obligations. Parental Leave Pay can either be paid by your employer or directly by the government.
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 (for at least 330 hours and with no more than an 8-week gap between two consecutive working days) before the birth or adoption of your child, and
  • 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
You will need to arrange the time off with your employer.  This scheme deals only with payment.

Dad and Partner Pay

Dads or partners may also be eligible for two weeks’ pay ($672.60 per week) after the birth of a new baby or the adoption of a child. This is also means tested and paid in a lump sum after your claim is finalised. You must claim within 52 weeks of the birth (or adoption) of the child.
To be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay you must:

  • provide care for a newborn or recently adopted child
  • have worked 10 of the 13 months (for at least 330 hours and with no more than an 8-week gap between two consecutive working days) before the birth or adoption of your child, and
  • be on unpaid leave or not working while getting the payment
There is an exception to the work test if a premature birth prevented you from meeting it.

You will need to arrange the time off with your employer.  This scheme deals only with payment. 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. Check with your employer.

Family Tax Benefit

This is the big one. Family Tax benefit is an ongoing payment intended to help with the cost of raising children. It has two parts:

  • 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. 
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B is an extra payment for single parents and families 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 can get Family Tax Benefit A, if you provide care for a child at least 35 per cent of the time (just over a third) and that child is 15 or younger or over 15 and in full-time secondary student and who is not receiving a pension, payment, or benefit such as Youth Allowance
A child will be eligible up until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 19.
Payments are based on your family income so if you are close to the cut-off amount it might be safer to wait until the end of the financial year. You’ll then receive a lump sum payment.
You may also be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B if you are a single income earner or you are a family and your youngest child is under.
A child will be eligible 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 Benefit

Child Care Benefits are intended to help parents meet the costs of approved and registered child care such as long day care, family day care, occasional day care, outside school hour care and vacation care. 
Child Care Benefit can be claimed as a reduction in fees or a lump sum payment.
You must be using approved or registered child care and be responsible for paying the fees.
Payment is means tested. You will receive the maximum benefit if your family income is less than $44,457. You will receive a reduced payment where your income exceeds this amount but is less than $154,697 (for one child), $160.308 (for two children), $181,024 plus $34,237 for each child after the third.
Your child must be immunized.
Grandparents, relatives, friends, neighbours and nannies can apply to be registered carers. 

Child Care Rebate

The Child Care Rebate covers half of your child care expenses for approved child care and is available even if you earn too much to get Child Care Benefit so long as you and your partner meet the Work, Training, Study test or are exempt from it
The maximum amount of Child Care Rebate you can receive is $7500 for each child each year.
You can choose to receive the Child Care Rebate directly to your approved child care service (fortnightly), directly to your bank account (fortnightly or quarterly), or annually to your bank account (if you receive your Child Care Benefit as a lump sum).

Parenting Payment

Parenting Payment is designed to help with the cost of raising children and is paid as additional income to parents or guardians.
It is means tested and is paid in to single parents of children under 8 or couples with a child under 6.
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
If in doubt ask your Sherpa or contact Centrelink.
Vince

Vince Scully | Founder and Chief Sherpa

With over 25 years in Financial Services from consulting to management, Vince Scully is the go-to guy for wealth management and financial advice. Vince founded the Calliva Group; a fund manager, product issuer, advisor and lender to Government and private clients. Vince is an advisor to the Wealth Management Industry, and prior to his role as CEO at Calliva, a senior member of Macquarie bank’s infrastructure team.

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