Having a child can easily be one of the most joyous and simultaneously exhausting and stressful times of your life, especially financially. So it’s important to make sure you are aware what support is available to you – after all, you’re going to need all the help you can get!
It’s no secret that navigating Centrelink Payments, especially on minimal sleep, is no easy task. So to help we have put together a quick guide to what you need to know about Family Tax Benefit.
What is Family Tax Benefit?
Family Tax Benefit is a fortnightly or annual payment made to eligible low and middle income families to help with the cost of raising kids. Family Tax Benefit is made up of several components:
FTB Part A is paid at a maximum base rate of $1,529.35 per child per year.
FTB Part A supplement is an additional lump sum of $751.90 per child that is paid after the end of the financial year if your family has a combined adjusted taxable income less than or equal to $80,000.
FTB Part B provides extra assistance to families with one main income earner who earns $100,000 per year or less. The maximum payment rate depends on the age of your youngest child and is $155.54 a fortnight when the youngest child is under five-years-old, and $108.64 a fortnight when the youngest child is aged five to 18 years.
FTB Part B supplement is an additional lump sum payment up to $357.70 per year is available for families who receive Family Tax Benefit Part B.
Am I eligible for Family Tax Benefit?
To be eligible for Family Tax Benefit you must be the parent or guardian of a child, be an Australian resident and have an income under a certain amount.
To assess whether you are eligible, Centrelink uses your Adjusted Taxable Income. This means that if you or your partner salary sacrifice or have an investment property these amounts are also taken into account, in addition to your salary.
To be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A the annual income limit depends on the number of children you have and their ages. The limit ranges from $99,536 for one child under 12, to $221,373 for three children under 19.
To be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B you must be a single parent or member of a couple where the main income earner earns less than $100,000.
In addition to the income requirements, from 1 July 2018, your child needs to remain up to date with their immunisation otherwise your Family Tax Benefit payments will be reduced by up to $737.30 per year for each child not meeting immunisation or health check requirements.
A quick way to determine what you are eligible for is to use the Centrelink payment and service finder.
How do I claim Family Tax Benefit?
The easiest way to make a claim is online via your MyGov account.
You can lodge a claim for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) any time, including up to three months before the expected birth of your child or when the child is expected to enter your care. It is important to note that you only have 12 months from the end of the financial year to lodge a claim relating to that year, and you need to be up to date with your tax returns.
With the exception of the supplements which are paid yearly, you can choose whether to receive FTB A and B fortnightly or yearly. If you can manage your cashflow without them it’s a good idea to claim yearly as this can help you build up some savings as well as ensure you avoid ending up with a Centrelink debt (which can happen if you underestimate your income and receive too much FTB).
What other support is available?
If you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A you may also be eligible for additional payments including: Newborn Supplement, Newborn Upfront Payment, Rent Assistance, Healthcare Card, and Multiple Birth allowance if you have care of triplets or quadruplets.
Regardless of whether or not you receive FTB payments, you may also be eligible to claim:
Paid Parental Leave:
If you are a working parent, you may be eligible to receive up to 18 weeks government paid parental leave, providing that you worked for 10 out of 13 months in the lead up to the birth or adoption of your child and earned under $150,000 in the previous financial year. Your partner may also be eligible for up to two weeks of Dad and Partner Pay.
If you are a working parent with a child in childcare, you may be eligible to receive a government subsidy for up to 85% of your childcare fees. The amount of the subsidy will depend on your income and the number of hours you and your partner participate in an approved activity such as work or study.
For further details on Centrelink payments and latest payment rates visit the Centrelink website or check out the latest edition of A Guide To Australian Government Payments.
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