Immunising your children
Some of our payments can only be paid for children who have been immunised or have an approved immunisation exemption.
New immunisation requirements started on 1 January 2016.
Did you receive a letter from us advising that you needed to get your child’s immunisations up to date, and the due date on the letter was between 18 March and 29 April 2016? If you did and you haven’t taken action to meet immunisation requirements, you will no longer receive child care payments from 2 May 2016. You also may have to repay any child care payments that you received after the due date in your letter.
Australian Childhood Immunisation Register
Keep track of your child's immunisation history using the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (Immunisation Register). The Immunisation Register is a national register that records vaccinations given to children and young individuals under 20 years of age.
You can check your child’s immunisation history at any time by using:
- your Medicare online account through myGov. If you don’t have a myGov account, you can create one and then link it to your Medicare online account, or
- the Express Plus Medicare mobile app. If you don’t have the app, you can download it to your mobile device from the App Store or Google Play™
Children and young individuals 14 years of age or older can access their immunisation history by signing in or creating their own Medicare online account through myGov or by using the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
If there’s information missing from your child’s immunisation history statement, please ask your vaccination provider to send the information to the Immunisation Register.
Read more about the Immunisation Register.
Immunisation requirements for payments
- be up to date with their immunisations according to the early childhood vaccination schedule appropriate for your child's age, or
- have a medical exemption
The National Immunisation Program Schedule on the Department of Health Immunise Australia Program website specifies the age your child should receive certain vaccines. Most of the immunisations on the National Immunisation Program Schedule are linked to family assistance payments.
Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement
Immunisation requirements apply to all children and young individuals until the end of the calendar year they turn 19 years of age.
After the end of the financial year when your family assistance payments are balanced, we will check with the Immunisation Register to see whether your child is up to date with their immunisations. This happens after you lodge your tax return and your income details are confirmed by the Australian Taxation Office, or you tell us that you don’t need to lodge one.
If your FTB Part A supplement isn’t paid because immunisation requirements haven’t been met, we’ll send you a letter. You have 1 year from the end of the financial year to meet the requirements and still be paid the supplement.
If you claim or intend to claim Family Tax Benefit, your child needs to be up to date with their immunisations when you claim. You’ll need to provide your child's Medicare number when you claim. We’ll use the Medicare card number to check if your child meets the immunisation requirements on the Immunisation Register.
Ensuring your child is up to date with their immunisations is your responsibility. If there are special circumstances that prevent your child from meeting the immunisation requirements within the 1 year timeframe, please contact us.
Child Care Benefit
Immunisation requirements apply to all children and young individuals under 20 years of age.
If you claim or intend to claim Child Care Benefit, your child needs to be up to date with their immunisations when you claim. You’ll need to provide your child's Medicare number when you claim. We’ll use the Medicare card number to check if your child meets the immunisation requirements on the Immunisation Register.
If your child isn’t up to date with their immunisations for Child Care Benefit, it will also affect your eligibility for Child Care Rebate, Grandparent Child Care Benefit, Special Child Care Benefit and Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance.
If your child isn’t up to date with their immunisations
If your child has missed vaccines on the National Immunisation Program Schedule, talk to your general practitioner or vaccination provider to arrange a suitable catch up schedule for their age.
We will electronically check your child's immunisation status with the Immunisation Register. You don’t need to tell us when your child is up to date with their immunisations or has started a catch up schedule.
Under the Australian Government’s Immunise Australia Program:
- children under 10 years of age can be vaccinated for free, and
- from 1 January 2016, for a limited time only, children 10 years of age or over can be vaccinated for free. If your child is eligible for this, you’ll receive a letter from us to take to your vaccination provider
If you have a catch up schedule in place with your vaccination provider, and your child is receiving the immunisations in line with this schedule, your child will be meeting the immunisation requirements. This means your Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate or Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement won’t be affected.
Read more about the Immunise Australia Program on the Department of Health Immunise Australia Program website.
If there is information missing from your child’s immunisation history statement, please contact your vaccination provider. They’ll be able to update your child’s immunisation details on the Immunisation Register.
If your child has received vaccinations overseas, you need to take evidence of your child's overseas vaccinations to your Australian vaccination provider who’ll update the Immunisation Register.
If you’ve recently arrived in Australia and require translation services of your child's immunisation evidence, read more about the Free Translating Service on the Department of Social Services website.
If there’s a medical reason why your child can’t be fully immunised, your general practitioner can provide the Immunisation Register with a completed ACIR Immunisation Medical Exemption form (IM011). The Immunisation Register can only accept this form from a general practitioner.
If your child doesn’t have a Medicare card number
We use your child's Medicare number to electronically check your child's immunisation status with the Immunisation Register.
However, if your child doesn’t have a Medicare card number, you can enrol your child with Medicare and they’ll also be automatically added to the Immunisation Register.
Once enrolled, you’ll need to advise us of your child’s Medicare card number by using your Centrelink online account through myGov. We’ll use your child's Medicare number to electronically check your child's immunisation status with the Immunisation Register.
If your child isn’t eligible for Medicare because they don’t meet residence requirements, but they have received vaccinations while overseas, you should talk to your Australian vaccination provider.
If your child is not eligible for Medicare for any other reason, please phone us to discuss further.
Other government and community support services
There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use Service Finder to locate assistance in your local area.
The Department of Health Immunise Australia Program is a government initiative that promotes immunisation in Australia. The program supports the increase of national immunisation rates for vaccine-preventable diseases for all ages.
MoneySmart has information to help you make the most of your money. Read the Families section on the MoneySmart website.