A helping hand for single parents
Centrelink offers a range of financial benefits to help parents manage the cost of raising kids. And if you're a single parent, you might even be eligible for additional financial support. This cheat sheet will give you an idea of which benefits you're entitled to and how much they're worth.
Being a parent is a tough gig – and being a single parent is even harder. Whether you're divorced, widowed or simply making a choice to go it alone, life as a single parent can seem like a constant juggling act.
It can also put a major strain on your finances when you're relying on a sole income, but a helping hand can make all the difference. That's why it's important to understand which types of government assistance you may be entitled to.
Here are some of the most common Centrelink payments for single parents. Remember, eligibility requirements and payment amounts may often change, so be sure to check the Department of Human Services website for the latest information.
Who is it for? Single parents caring for children under the age of 8.
How much is it? The maximum payment is $738.50 per fortnight.
What you need to know: Eligibility is subject to an income and assets test, and there may be a waiting period.
Family Tax Benefits
Who are they for? Parents caring for children under the age of 15, or aged 16–20 and studying full-time.
How much is it? There are two separate payments. For Family Tax Benefit A, the maximum payment is $182.84 a fortnight per child for children aged 0–12, and $237.86 a fortnight per child for children aged 13–19. For Family Tax Benefit B (an extra payment for single parents and one-income families), the maximum payment is $155.54 a fortnight per family if your youngest child is aged 0–5, and $108.64 per fortnight per family if your youngest child is aged 5–18.
You may also receive a Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement of $726.35 per year for each eligible child, and a Family Tax Benefit B Supplement of $354.05 per year.
What you need to know: In order to be eligible for Family Tax Benefits in a particular financial year, you also need to ensure you lodge your income tax return by no later than 30 June in the following financial year. You can't get Family Tax Benefit B if you're on paid parental leave, but you may be eligible after your leave ends.
Single Income Family Supplement
Who is it for? Parents who earned between $68,000 and $150,000 last financial year and received a Family Tax Benefit for at least one child.
How much is it? A one-off annual payment of up to $300.
What you need to know: If you received Family Tax Benefits, you'll receive this supplement automatically.
Child Care Rebate
Who is it for? Parents with a child attending an approved child care facility (not a school).
How much is it? Up to 50% of your out-of-pocket child care expenses, to a maximum of $7,500 per child per year.
What you need to know: To receive this rebate, your child must be immunised (or have a medical exemption).
Who is it for? Parents who receive more than the base rate of the Family Tax Benefit.
How much is it? Up to $153.30 per fortnight if you have one or two children, or $173.18 per fortnight if you have three or more children.
What you need to know: Rent Assistance doesn't apply if you own your own home or live in government-provided housing.
Who is it for? People receiving other types of government payments, pensions or allowances, including the Parenting Payment.
How much is it? Up to $28.20 per quarter.
What you need to know: You don't have to meet an income or assets test to receive this allowance.
Depending on your situation, you may also be entitled to receive child support from your child's other parent; a crisis payment or income support if you're a victim of domestic violence; or assistance with your children's health care costs.
Visit the Department of Human Services website to find out more.
Ask someone in the know
Speak to the team at JSA Accounting if you would like to understand more about how this information might impact your financial situation.
Robert Julian of JSA Accounting (ABN 48 088 331 739) is an Authorised Representative of Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.
This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision. This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. 'Count' and Count Wealth Accountants® are trading names of Count. Count advisers are authorised representatives of Count. Information in this document is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, as at 20 September 2015, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.