Information for families with children 16 years of age or older

When a child turns 16, families can continue to get Family Tax Benefit for that child, or the child may be eligible for a different payment.

Payments for children aged 16 or older

Family Tax Benefit

You can continue to receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) for your child if they are:

  • 16 to 19 years old and in full time secondary study leading towards a year 12 or equivalent qualification, unless they are exempt from this requirement
  • not receiving a payment from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, such as Veterans’ Children Education Scheme (VCES) or Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme payment, and
  • not receiving Youth Allowance

Full time secondary study for Family Tax Benefit

Full time secondary study can be any of the following:

  • an accredited secondary course through a secondary school or TAFE institution, higher education institution, or special school
  • an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Certificate II or higher qualification issued by a registered training organisation or higher education institution, or
  • Certificate II, III or IV of General Education, the International Baccalaureate or other higher education pre-entry course

Home schooling

A year 12 qualification can't be completed through home schooling. You must tell us if your child is being home schooled.

Child not in study

If there is a reason your child can't to attend school, you should contact us to discuss.

Youth Allowance

Provides financial help for people aged 16 to 24 years old who are studying full time, undertaking a full time Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work or sick.

Read more about Youth Allowance.

Youth Allowance or Family Tax Benefit

In most circumstances, FTB will continue to be the most appropriate payment for children 16 or 17 years old who are in full time secondary study and living at home.

You can use our online estimator to compare rates between Youth Allowance and FTB.


Helps with costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are studying or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship.

Read more about ABSTUDY.

Disability Support Pension

Provides financial support for people between 16 years old and age pension age who have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working, or who are permanently blind.

Read more about Disability Support Pension.

Health services

Health Care Card

Having a Health Care Card gives families access to cheaper health care services and medicines. For example, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines will be cheaper, or free, once you reach the PBS Safety Net threshold.

In addition to health care services and medicines, you, your partner and your children can also get other concessions from state and local government authorities and private businesses. Not all card types give you the same type of concessions and the concessions on offer may also vary between states and territories.

If you get an FTB Health Care Card, your children will be covered by the card if they are 16 to 18 years old and in full time secondary study.

Students or Australian Apprentices who get Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY won't automatically get a Health Care Card but may still qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card. Call 132 490 to claim a Low Income Health Care Card.

Youth Allowance job seekers are automatically issued a Health Care Card if they live in Australia.

Medicare card

Having a valid Medicare card is important for claiming a Medicare benefit, visiting a doctor who bulk bills, seeking treatment as a public patient in a public hospital or getting a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription filled.

Children aged 15 or over can get their own Medicare card.

Child Dental Benefits Schedule

Children who are eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule will remain eligible until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18 old.

Child support

If you have a child support assessment and your child is continuing in full time secondary study after they turn 18, you can apply to have the assessment extended until the end of the school year in which they turn 18 in. You must apply before your child turns 18. If you don't apply for an extension to your child support assessment before your child turns 18, you'll only get the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for that child, which may be less than what you are entitled to receive.

You can apply for an extension by completing the child over 18 in full time secondary education form or calling the Child Support line on 131 272 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. Read more about changes of circumstances that affect your child support.

If you don't have a child support assessment, you can apply online. You must apply for a child support assessment before your child turns 18.

Start online application

When your child turns 18

When your child turns 18, you may still get Family Tax Benefit. Or you can consider their eligibility for a student payment such as Youth Allowance. It's important to consider all options, as in most cases they can't get more than one payment.

You may also get other payments and services when your child claims a payment in their own right. This can include Rent Assistance, a Low Income Health Care Card and Fares Allowance.

Use our Payment Finder to explore a suggested list of possible payments.

Page last updated: 16 December 2016