- have a dependent child or secondary student 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
Express Plus Families app
Express Plus Families offers you a simple, fast, mobile way to do your Centrelink business on the go using your mobile device.
Important update about the Schoolkids Bonus
As Parliament is yet to pass the legislation to end the Schoolkids Bonus, the July 2014 instalment will be automatically paid to eligible families and students between 2 and 16 July 2014. Payments should be expected into your bank account on the same day as your regular payment.
Details about the payment won’t appear in your Centrelink online account until the day it is paid to you. Read more about this important update.
If you claim Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum at the end of the financial year, you will be paid the Schoolkids Bonus, if you’re eligible, after we assess your claim and after your income has been confirmed.
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A
Family Tax Benefit Part A is paid for each child. The amount you get is based on your family’s individual circumstances.
You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A if you care for a dependent child who is:
- aged 0-15 years, or
- 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 also need to satisfy an income test, meet residence requirements and be caring for the child at least 35 per cent of the time.
Your payments will stop when your child reaches a certain age and study level. If your child is aged 16–19 years, and
- they complete Year 12 or an equivalent qualification before November, payments will stop 28 days after they have completed school
- they complete Year 12 or an equivalent qualification in November or December, payments will stop on 31 December, or
- they are 19 years old and still in full-time secondary study, payments will stop on 31 December
If you are eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A for a child who is born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014, you may also be eligible for the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement. Newborn Supplement is a component of Family Tax Benefit Part A, paid over a 3 month period with your regular fortnightly Family Tax Benefit Part A payment.
Immunisation requirements for Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement
Children need to be ‘fully immunised’, be on a recognised immunisation catch up schedule, or have an approved exemption to be eligible for the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement for that period.
Read more about immunising your children.
Eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part B
Family Tax Benefit Part B gives extra help to single parents and families with one main income. An example of this may be where one parent stays at home to care for a child full-time or balances some paid work with caring for a child. This payment is income tested.
You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B if you have care of a child for at least 35 per cent of the time who is:
- a dependent child under 16 years of age, or
- a dependent full-time secondary student up until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18
The rate of Family Tax Benefit Part B is based on an income test. You also need to meet residence requirements.
You and your partner cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part B during a Parental Leave Pay period, but it may be paid after the Paid Parental Leave period ends.
If you are a parent, guardian, foster carer, grandparent, or other carer, you may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B.
From 1 May 2014, the child income limit no longer applies. For the period 1 July 2013 to 30 April 2014, you will not be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A or Part B if your child earns $14,078 or more during the financial year and is:
- aged 5–15 years and not studying full time, or
- aged 16–19 years and not in full-time secondary study, or
- exempt from this requirement
Payment rates for Family Tax Benefit Part A
The amount of Family Tax Benefit Part A you get paid depends on your actual family income, how many children you have, and how old they are.
Payment rates for Family Tax Benefit Part B
The amount of Family Tax Benefit Part B you get usually depends on the age of your youngest child.
Income test for Family Tax Benefit Part A
The income test for Family Tax Benefit Part A is a guide only, and is updated on 1 July each year.
Income test for Family Tax Benefit Part B
The income test for Family Tax Benefit Part B is updated on 1 July each year.
Adjusted taxable income
We will calculate your adjusted taxable income as part of the income test.
Residence requirements for Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B
To be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be living in Australia and:
- have Australian citizenship, or
- hold a permanent visa, or
- hold a special category visa, or
- hold a certain temporary visa type for example a partner provisional, interdependency or temporary protection visa
Your child must also meet the residence requirements or be living with you and you must continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment.
You may be able to claim a payment during a temporary absence from Australia if you have been absent for less than three years.
Healthy Start for School
If you and/or your partner receive Family Tax Benefit Part A and an income support payment such as Parenting Payment, Newstart Allowance, or a payment from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, your child may need to have a health check for you to get the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.
Other benefits while receiving Family Tax Benefit
If you qualify for Family Tax Benefit Part A or Part B, you may be entitled to other payments and services such as:
If you share care of a child for at least 14 per cent of the time (two or more nights per fortnight), you may be able to receive Rent Assistance, a Health Care Card, Remote Area Allowance (with your Centrelink payments such as Newstart Allowance), Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and access to the lower threshold of the Medicare Safety Net.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- decide how you will receive your payment; fortnightly or annually
- decide how you will submit your claim; online or in person
- complete your claim forms
- provide supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Changes to the time period for lodging lump sum claims and confirming income
From 1 July 2013, the amount of time you have to lodge a lump sum claim or confirm your income changed.
You can do most of your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service. There are options using mobile apps, online services or phone self service.
Your family income estimate
You can update your family income estimate even if you have not registered for online services.
Change of circumstances while receiving Family Tax Benefit
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- you change your address
- you become partnered
- you separate from your partner
- your or your partner’s income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your child care arrangements change
- your child starts or stops full-time primary or secondary study
- your child leaves your care
- you or your child leave Australia, even for a short time
- your care arrangements change
- your child passes away
If you do not advise of changes as soon as you know, you may be overpaid Family Tax Benefit and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Balancing your family assistance payments
At the start of each financial year, we ask you to estimate your family income so we can work out how much Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Benefit to pay you.
Payment choices for Family Tax Benefit
There are several ways you can choose to receive Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
Family Tax Benefit while travelling outside Australia
From 1 July 2014, the length of time you can be paid Family Tax Benefit while temporarily outside Australia will reduce from 3 years to 56 weeks.
If you or your children leave Australia to live in another country your payments will stop on departure.
Your payment rate will not change, for the first 6 weeks, if you or your children leave Australia temporarily. This includes if your child is studying outside Australia.
After 6 weeks your Family Tax Benefit Part A will reduce to the base rate and Family Tax Benefit Part B will stop.
After 56 weeks your Family Tax Benefit Part A base rate will stop.
If you or your children leave Australia for more than 6 weeks, return and then leave again within 6 weeks, your Family Tax Benefit Part A will reduce to the base rate and your Family Tax Benefit Part B will stop from your next departure.
Australian Defence Force members deployed overseas or Australian Federal Police engaged in peacekeeping or capacity building activities overseas, may be paid for longer than the usual period up to a maximum of 3 years.
If you have a Partner Provisional Visa subclass 309 or 820, or Interdependency Visa subclass 310 or 826, you will only be paid outside Australia for a negotiated period of up to 6 weeks, for the following approved reasons:
- an acute family crisis, for example to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill
- humanitarian reasons, for example to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
- eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia
If you have a Temporary Protection Visa will not be paid Family Tax Benefit Part A or Part B if you leave Australia for any reason.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you or your dependent children are leaving Australia and:
- will be away for longer than 6 weeks
- are travelling on a cruise ship and have not been back in Australia for 6 weeks since your last absence
- you hold a Partner Provisional or Interdependency visa and you are leaving due to an acute family crisis, for medical treatment overseas or for humanitarian reasons, or
- you are a member of the Australian Defence Force or Federal Police and have been deployed overseas
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Child support and your Family Tax Benefit Part A
Child support payments and Family Tax Benefit Part A are closely linked. The more child support you are entitled to receive, the less Family Tax Benefit you may be entitled to receive. Likewise, the less child support you are entitled to receive, the more Family Tax Benefit you may be entitled to receive. This is important to know, if you have chosen to transfer your child support privately, or through Child Support.