Parenting Payment

The main income support payment while you’re a young child’s main carer.

Eligibility basics

You must have income and assets below the limits, and be the principal carer of a child:

  • younger than 8 if you’re single, or
  • younger than 6 if you have a partner

You can’t claim Parenting Payment before the birth of your child.

You may have got a letter from us asking you to confirm or update your and your partner’s earnings. Read more about how to update or confirm your earnings.

Eligibility & payment rates

Eligibility rules

You must meet the following to get Parenting Payment:

You may need to:

Principal carer rules

A principal carer is someone responsible for the day to day care, welfare and development of a child.

To get Parenting Payment you must be the principal carer of a child:

  • younger than 8 if you’re single, or
  • younger than 6 if you have a partner

If you share care, only one person at a time can be the principal carer of a child. This is generally the person who gives the greater amount of day to day care, such as a parent or guardian. If two people have equal care, either may nominate as the principal carer.

Residence rules

To claim Parenting Payment you must be:

To keep getting Parenting Payment

To keep getting Parenting Payment you must continue to be an Australian resident.

How long you need to have been a resident

You must be an Australian resident and be in Australia for 104 weeks before you can get Parenting Payment.

What may be different

You may be exempt from serving the 104 week period if you:

If you don’t meet these rules but you’ve lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Australia, the agreement may help you to claim.

Income and assets tests

You and your partner’s income and assets must be below the limits for Parenting Payment. The amount you get depends on you and your partner’s income and assets.

Read more about income and assets tests for Parenting Payment

Payment rates

Your payment rate will depend on your family situation. We update rates on 20 March and 20 September each year. The table is a guide only.

If you're the most you can get each fortnight is
single $752.60 including the Pension Supplement
in a couple $486.50
in a couple, separated due to illness, respite care or prison $582.80

Waiting periods

You may have to wait before your payments start.

Read more about waiting periods


Check if you're eligible before you start your claim.


  1. find out what you need before you start your claim
  2. fill in your claim form
  3. submit the form and other documents we ask for
  4. wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result

You can’t claim Parenting Payment before the birth of your child.


Managing your payment

Mutual obligation requirements

If you’re single, your Parenting Payment stops once your youngest child turns 8 years old. When your youngest child turns 6, to keep getting your payment you’ll have to meet part time mutual obligation requirements.

The requirements are part of your Job Plan to help you get ready for a job. You may need to look for work, work part time, study or take part in an approved activity. You must attend any appointments we make.

Read more about mutual obligation requirements.

There's also support if you want to return to work before your youngest child turns 6.  Contact an employment services provider through the jobactive website.

If you need child care while you’re job searching or working, you may get JET Child Care Fee Assistance.

If you don't meet your mutual obligation requirements

Not meeting your mutual obligation requirements as a job seeker can affect your Parenting Payment.

Read more about if you don't meet your mutual obligation requirements

Change of circumstances

We need to know about changes that could reduce or stop your payment. If you don’t tell us when these changes happen, you may be doing the wrong thing.

Read more about reporting your change of circumstances

Advance payment

You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.

Read more about advance payment

If you travel outside Australia

We may continue to pay Parenting Payment if you leave Australia for a short time. You must keep meeting Parenting Payment rules at all times.

Read more about Parenting Payment if you travel outside Australia

Weekly payment option

Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.

Read more about weekly payments

Income reporting

How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you and your partner earn so we pay you the right amount.

Read more about income reporting

When you reach age pension age

If you’re getting Parenting Payment and reach age pension age, you can transfer to Age Pension.

Read more about Parenting Payment when you reach age pension age

Cashless Debit Card

The Australian Government is delivering payments in some areas using a Cashless Debit Card.

Read more about Cashless Debit Card

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn


jobactive - helping you get work

jobactive is a service that helps connect you with employers and find work.

Read about jobactive on the Department of Employment website.

ParentsNext - helps you with study and work goals

ParentsNext connects you to local support services to help you with your study and work goals. ParentsNext is available in 10 local government areas.

Read more about ParentsNext.

Improve your skills for education and employment

The Skills for Education and Employment program may help you improve your speaking, reading, writing or maths.

Read about Skills for Education and Employment.

Help to find jobs in remote areas

If you live in a remote area the Community Development Programme can help you contribute to your community and gain skills and training while you look for work.

Read more about the Community Development Programme on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money


We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about regular deductions using Centrepay

Green Army Programme

Provides training and work experience in environment and heritage conservation for young Australians while generating environmental benefits.

Read more about the Green Army Programme

Page last updated: 20 September 2017