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May 18 2011

Child and Family Benefits

Child Benefits / Family Tax Benefit

Government Benefits for New Residents

The majority of new Migrants to Australia will have to wait a period totalling 104 weeks of residence before becoming eligible for most Government Benefits.

However, there are a few that are available without this qualifying waiting period, and these do relate to Families with Children.

The main benefits that are available to new arrivals consist of:

Payments to help raise children

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A – for parents or carers to help with the cost of raising children.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B – for single income families or sole parents.
  • Child Care Benefit – for families to help with the cost of child care.
  • Child Care Rebate – to cover some of your out-of-pocket expenses for approved child care.
  • Rent Assistance may also be paid, if you get more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A, paid fortnightly, and pay rent privately.
  • Baby Bonus / Maternity Payment – From July 2014 this payment will cease, and will be replaced with higher Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payments, although at a lower rate than currently paid.
    The income test is based on the combined income in the 6 months following the birth of the child.
  • Maternity Immunisation Allowance – To help towards Immunisation Costs, this is payable in two payments, the first at about 18 to 24 months of age and the second at about 4 to 5 years of age. (Each payment currently $122.75, as at 20th Mar 2009).

Most of these benefits are Income tested.

Suspension of Family Tax Benefits

Anyone who received FTB during 2000/01 to 2007/08, but did not submit a tax return, or notice of no return required, for the relevant year, will now have their FTB payments stopped. This tax return ruling applies to both parents.
Effective Date Jan 18, 2010

Estimates of Family Tax Benefit

Estimates of Family Tax Benefit can be checked at the Centrelink Online Services and selecting:

Payment Enquiries
1. Centrelink/Family Assistance Rate Estimator.
2. Family Assistance/Child Support July 2008 Projected Estimator.

Then under the “Estimate your entitlements” section, select:
Estimate Family Assistance rates only

Details are available at the CENTRELINK website and offices. Call Centre telephone number is 13 1021 from in Australia only.

Note:
The following quote is from www.centrelink.gov.au.

For other benefits you will have to serve a waiting period if you have not been an Australian resident, and in Australia, for periods totalling 104 weeks.

Periods spent in Australia as an Australian resident at any time in your life can be counted towards the waiting period.

However: Age Pension and Disability Support Pension have qualifying residence requirements of ten years.

Family Tax Benefit:
Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A

Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A is payable to families who’s income is below a certain threshold.

The maximum payment is made to families who’s income is $42,559 or less, in the 2008/2009 income tax year. Any income above that figure will reduce the FTB payment.
FTB part A stops totally when a family, with one child under 17, earns $100,801 or more.

Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part B

Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part B will be limited to families where the primary earner has an adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less, and the lower income earner is on less than $22,302 before they lose all entitlement if they have a child under five (or $17,356 if the youngest child is aged five to 18). (Rates for 2008/2009)

Example Family Tax Benefits Rates as at March 2009
  • Family with 1 child between 5 and 13
    Single gross income of $50,000 per year:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $183.96 per fortnight or $4,782 per year. (Tax Free)

    This is made up of:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A $94.22
    • Family Tax Benefit Part B $89.74.
  • Family with 3 children between 5 and 13,
    Single gross income of $50,000 per year:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $588 per fortnight or $15,288 per year. (Tax Free)

    This is made up of:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A $487.90
    • Family Tax Benefit Part B $89.74
    • Large Family Supplement $10.36 .
  • Family with 3 children between 5 and 13,
    Joint Income of $75,000. One wage $50,000 2nd wage $25,000:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $306.46 per fortnight or $7,967 per year. (Tax Free)

    This is made up of:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A $296.10
    • Family Tax Benefit Part B $nil
    • Large Family Supplement $10.36
  • Family with one child under 5
    Single gross income of $50,000 per year:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $223.02 per fortnight or $5,798 per year. (Tax Free)

    This is made up of:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A $94.22
    • Family Tax Benefit Part B $128.80
  • Family with one child under 5
    Joint Income of $75,000. One wage $50,000 2nd wage $25,000:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $48.30 per fortnight or $1,255 per year. (Tax Free)

    This is made up of:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A $48.30
    • Family Tax Benefit Part B $nil

Example Family Tax Benefits as at March 2008 were:

  • Family with 3 children between 5 and 13,
    Single gross income of $50,000 per year:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $466.90 per fortnight or $12,139.40 per year.
  • Family with 3 children between 5 and 13,
    Joint Income of $75,000. One wage $50,000 2nd wage $25,000

    • Possible Family Assistance of $188.02 per fortnight or $4,888.52 per year.
  • Family with one child under 5,
    Single gross income of $50,000 per year:

    • Possible Family Assistance of $203.84 per fortnight or $5,299.84 per year.
  • Family with one child under 5,
    Joint Income of $75,000. One wage $50,000 2nd wage $25,000

    • Possible Family Assistance of $46.90 per fortnight or $1,219.40 per year.

The Government has announced that subject to the passage of legislation, the option of claiming and receiving annual lump sum payments of Family Tax Benefit from the Australian Taxation Office will cease from 1 July 2009.

The last income year the Australian Taxation Office can process Family Tax Benefit claims and payments is for the 2007-08 income year.
After this date. all annual Claims will be made via Centrelink / Family Assistance Office, in the same way as Fortnightly Claims.

Child Care Benefit

Child Care Benefit is available for most people to help with the cost of child care whilst parents are working, looking for work or studying etc.

Most people are eligible to have some of the child care costs reimbursed, although there is an income test for this benefit

The maximum income to be allowed any benefit, as at March 2009, is:

  • 1 child $126,793
  • 2 children $131,457
  • 3 children $148,452 plus $28,028 for each child after the 3rd child

To get the maximum benefit, as at March 2009, the income must not exceed $36,573

Example Child Care Benefits March 2008

Family with two parents and 1 child between 5 and 13 years:

  • 2 parents, 1 works earning $50,000, the other doesn’t work: 76% rebate of schedule fees.
  • 2 parents, 1 earns $50,000, the other $25,000: 41% rebate of schedule fees.
  • 2 parents, both earn $50,000 each: 16% rebate of schedule fees.
Child Care Tax Rebate

On 1 July 2009, the Child Care Tax Rebate was re-named the Child Care Rebate. The name change is in recognition that the rebate is no longer a tax offset under taxation legislation but is paid to families under the Family Assistance Law by the Family Assistance Office.

The Child Care Rebate is an extra payment from the Australian Government, that may be payable as well as the Child Care Benefit, to help working families with the cost of child care.

If you are eligible for Child Care Benefit for approved care, even if the eligibility rate is 0%, you may also be eligible to receive the Child Care Tax Rebate, if you are using the approved child care for work, training or study related reasons.

This rebate can be worth 50% of any extra out of pocket child care costs, up to $7,500 (indexed) for each child each year, that you incur.

There is currently no Income Test for this Child Care Tax Rebate.

Payments will be made quarterly once the child care attendance details from your approved child care service have been received. The final quarters payment of the Child Care Rebate will be made after your tax returns have been lodged and all your child care attendance information has been received.

More details at:

A poll on Child Care Benefits

  • 14 per cent of parents didn’t know if they were eligible for child care benefit or not.
  • 37 per cent of parents didn’t know that they could claim the child care tax rebate even if they weren’t eligible to receive child care benefit.
Baby Bonus/Maternity Payment

This is a government payment for each child born to an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident in Australia

The payment is made fortnightly in 13 payments of about $384 per fortnight, and NOT as a one off lump sum, as it was in prior years.

There is an income test for this payment which is based on the combined income in the 6 months following the birth of the child.

The current threshold is $75,000 at April 2009

Links
UK Child Maintenance Orders

There is a reciprocal arrangement governed by international conventions, which means that maintenance orders made by UK courts on behalf of UK residents can be registered and enforced by courts or other authorities in other countries against people resident there. Australia is one of those reciprocal countries.

More information at:

For Books with Free Delivery to Australia: BookDepository UK and USA

13 comments

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  1. Jane

    I am currently on a 457 Visa and my first baby is due in May. I can also apply for Permanent Residency in May as my partner is being nominated by his company. When I (hopefully) receive PR will I be able to claim for paid parental leave and tax benefits for my child (back date them?)

    I have been Australia for 3 years and it sucks I’m not entitled for anything from here or UK and we have never received LAHFA Thanks

    1. ABCDiamond

      I doubt very much if you can back date them to before becoming a PR. One of the conditions is that we must be Australian Residents to be eligible.

      I have just created a new page: http://www.britzinoz.com/paid-parental-leave-eligibility

  2. MsW

    My sister who is my only sibling is married to an australian,I am now a divorced single parent of 2 boys one of which gets the UK disability allowance ,i also get carers allowance for him. I will be applying to Australia to live there permanently as travel is difficult for both my sister and I.I am very concerned that they will turn me down on the basis i am unable to work due to caring for my eldest son.However if they did not will i still get the equivalent benefits in Australia when hopefully i arrive? Thanks

    1. ABCDiamond

      Disability Allowance has just become a lot harder to get here, even for Australians. I am not up to date on the new rules.

      The details of the Disability and Carer Payment Rates are at:
      http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/co031.htm

      Payments are subject to an income test and assets test, and will have a 10 year exclusion period, from arrival. ie: Nothing for 10 years.

      Residence Requirements:
      To qualify for Disability Support Pension, you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day that you lodge your claim.

      To qualify you must be living in Australia as:

      • an Australia citizen, or
      • the holder of a permanent resident visa, or
      • a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before that date, or was assessed as ‘protected’ before 26 February 2004.

      You also need to meet the 10-year permanent residence requirement, unless:

      • you are claiming under an international social security agreement, or
      • you are a refugee or former refugee, or
      • your inability to work or blindness happened while you were an Australian resident.

      http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/dsp_residence.htm

  3. sue

    are you entitled to any benefits on 4yr 457 visa for a family with four children under 13 yrs and only 1 person working? and what if apply they apply for residency are they entitled to anything while residency application is being processed?

    1. ABCDiamond

      No Family Tax Benefits for a temp Visa holder.

      I am also pretty sure that will apply until a PR visa is actually granted.

  4. Babs

    I think the chilcare costs need to be included as part of LAFHA as it is an extra expense just like the rental part.

    I am here on a temp 457 and will be returning home in 4 years but I think that might happen sooner and the childcare costs are crippling us. Over $350 a week!

    On top of the drop in the AUD $, it is now costing me more to pay my mortgage back home.

  5. George

    I think it is unfair that people on a 457 visa cannot claim the child benefits, why not??? We are still paying into the Australian tax system the same as everyone else is doing. Yet people can come into this country and pay taxes and claim benefits just because they are on a different visa. How ridiculous!!!!!

    1. ABCDiamond

      It does seem a tad unfair, when you consider that they pay the same taxes etc. However, the 457 is only a Temporary Visa, and as such it is easier to get than a Permanent Visa. If they did get the same benefits, then it would seem unfair to PR applicants, when they have to go through so many more hurdles than Temp applicants, and get the same benefits?

      It would also seem unfair to the PR’s who are NOT able to claim the LAFHA, which generally gives a 457 holder much higher financial benefits than the Child Benefit.

      Maybe it is time for those who make decisions to drop the LAFHA benefits for 457′s and allow child benefits instead ?

      1. Jes

        What if you don’t have LAFHA? Can we get an entitlement from ATO?

        Thanks

  6. Paul evans

    Thanks for your response

  7. Paul

    Family allowance
    I am on a 457 long stay business visa, I just wondered do you know if you can claim family allowance from either country?

    1. ABCDiamond

      Australian Rules:
      A 457 visa holder in Australia is not able to claim the FTB which is the family allowance equivalent.
      Residence requirements shown at: http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/ftb_a_residence.htm

      British Rules:
      If you expect to be out of the UK for less than 52 weeks, you can still claim the Child Benefit. However, intended absence for over 1 year will mean that you cannot claim it at all.

      The end result is that a 457 visa holder, for a visa period of more than 52 weeks, is not entitled to it in either country.
      Details at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/start/who-qualifies/live-work-abroad.htm

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