- 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
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Eligibility & payment rates
Changes to Parenting Payment
The rules have changed for people who started receiving Parenting Payment before 1 July 2006. The same rules now apply to these parents as to someone who is claiming for the first time.
Eligibility for Parenting Payment
Parenting payment is paid to the principal carer of a child. Only 1 parent or guardian can receive the payment. You may qualify for Parenting Payment as a parent, grandparent, or foster carer, if:
- you are single and care for at least 1 child aged less than 8, or
- you have a partner and care for at least 1 child aged less than 6, and
- the income and assets of both you and your partner (if you have one) are below certain amounts
- you meet residence requirements
- are able to meet participation requirements if needed
You may have activity test requirements as a principal carer, more information is available in the Flexible arrangements for parents and principal carers brochure .
Payment rates for Parenting Payment
The amount of Parenting Payment you get depends on your family situation. The rates are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
|Family situation||Maximum fortnightly payment|
|Single||$713.20 (includes the Pension Supplement)|
|Couple, separated due to illness, respite care, or prison||$552.40|
Income and assets tests for Parenting Payment
The amount of Parenting Payment you get depends on the income and assets of both you and your partner, if you have one.
Residence requirements for Parenting Payment
To be eligible for Parenting Payment you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be an Australian resident and you must:
- have been an Australian resident for a period, or periods, that total at least two years, or
- be exempt from this requirement—for example, by being a refugee or by having become a lone parent during your most recent period of Australian residence.
You must also:
- meet residence requirements on the day you lodge your claim. Generally you will need to be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may help you meet these residence requirements.
Other benefits while receiving Parenting Payment
If you qualify for Parenting Payment, you may also be entitled to other payments and services, such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim and start the claim process
- provide supporting documentation
- complete a claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Parenting Payment
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your child stops living with you
- your relationship changes and you become partnered
- your relationship changes and you are no longer partnered
- your personal circumstances change
- you are getting child-support payments, and the amount changes
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits 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.
Participation requirements while receiving Parenting Payment
If you receive Parenting Payment (single), from the time your youngest child turns 6 you will have compulsory part-time participation requirements. The activities could include applying for jobs; taking a course or other study; or working part time.
Personal Contact Interviews
You will need to regularly attend Personal Contact Interviews so we can talk with you about your agreed activities and help you with anything that may be impacting on your participation in these activities. These interviews can be either face-to-face in your local service centre or over the phone, depending on your circumstances.
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.
Payments paid while outside Australia
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for that payment.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly in certain circumstances.
Information you need to know about your claim
Read the Information you need to know about your claim for Parenting Payment booklet.
Helping Young Parents
If you are aged 19 or younger, receive Parenting Payment and live in 1 of 10 selected Local Government Areas, we will provide you with extra assistance as part of our Helping Young Parents measure.
We will ask you to meet with us every 6 months from when your child turns 6 months old. When your child turns 1, we will meet with you to help you develop a plan that suits you so you can work toward achieving your year 12 certificate or an equivalent qualification. We will also give you information about local services that are available to assist you in caring for your children.
Skills for Education and Employment
A program to help develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to improve the chances of getting and keeping a job.
Read more about Skills for Education and Employment.