A number of changes affect you if you receive family payments.
From 23 May 2018
These changes will affect separated families. You may be affected if you:
- pay child support
- receive child support, or
- receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
In most cases you don’t need to do anything. We’ll always tell you if you do.
Interim care periods
If a child’s care arrangements change from a written care arrangement, and the care change is disputed, an interim period may apply. This will affect disputed care changes for child support and FTB.
We use the amount of care in the written care arrangement during the interim period. This is used to work out a person’s percentage of care. When the interim care period ends, we use the actual amount of care each parent provides.
Interim care periods can be between 4 and 52 weeks long.
Amended tax assessments
If the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) amends your taxable income, we may use this to update your child support assessment. We can use the new income for both paying and receiving parents to update child support assessments.
If you’re receiving Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
You need to make sure each child you’re receiving FTB for meets the immunisation requirements. If they don’t, your FTB Part A payments may be reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight, per child.
We’ll contact you if your child doesn’t meet immunisation requirements. We’ll let you know what you need to do before your payments are affected.
Pauses to indexation
We won’t increase the following until 1 July 2020:
If you’re receiving FTB Part A and an income support payment
Income test exemptions
We’ll use your family income estimate to work out your FTB Part A payment rate. This means your FTB Part A payment may go down or stop for the period your income support payment is reduced to zero.
If we ask you to give us a family income estimate, you need to do this within 21 days. If you don’t, we’ll cancel your FTB Part A.
Your child’s payment may also be affected if we use your income to work out your dependent child’s payment rate of:
- Youth Allowance
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- ABSTUDY School Fees Allowance (Group 2)
- Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance
If you’re receiving family assistance and withdraw superannuation for your first home
We won’t count superannuation withdrawals made under the First Home Super Saver Scheme as taxable income. This means it won’t affect your:
- family assistance payments
- dependant student payments
- child care fee assistance
- child support assessments in most cases, and
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
If you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay
If you’re a separated family
Child support agreements
A child support agreement will end or be suspended for a child when:
- the receiving parent under the agreement has less than 35% care, and
- the other parent has at least 35% care of the child
In some cases, an agreement may be suspended for a period after the care change. The length of the suspension period will depend on your circumstances. If care changes back during the suspension period so the parent again has at least 35% care of the child, the agreement will restart.
Child support may still be payable for the child when we suspend or end an agreement. This depends on how your child support assessment started. If there was a formula-based assessment, child support will be payable for the child. If there wasn’t a formula-based assessment, no child support will be payable for the child. If we suspend or end your agreement we’ll tell you how this will affect you.
Binding child support agreements made before 1 July 2008
If one of the parents didn’t receive legal advice when making the agreement, a court can end the agreement if it would be unfair not to.
Child support overpayments
In most cases, if you’re receiving child support and you’ve been paid too much, this money must be paid back. If the money isn’t voluntarily repaid, we’ll enforce collection. This may include:
- recovering amounts from your ongoing child support
- asking your employer to deduct amounts from your pay
- deducting part of your Centrelink payments, and
- using all or part of your tax refund to repay the overpayment
Change in circumstances
You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes changes to care arrangements.
If you don’t tell us about the care change within 28 days and:
- your care has decreased, we’ll use that information in the assessment from the date the change occurred, or
- your care has increased, we’ll use that information from the date we found out about the change
We’ll only update income for periods before July 2008 in limited cases.
If you need assistance with child care fees before 2 July, you can claim for Child Care Benefit (CCB). When you claim online we’ll ask you some extra questions in your CCB claim so we can assess you for CCS. If you’re eligible for both payments, you’ll receive CCB until 1 July 2018 and CCS from 2 July 2018.
If you don’t need assistance with child care fees until after 2 July 2018, you can claim CCS online now. We won’t start paying the new subsidy until 2 July 2018.