A helping hand for single parents

Centrelink offers a range of financial benefits to help parents manage the cost of raising kids. And if you’re a single parent, you might even be eligible for additional financial support. This cheat sheet will give you an idea of which benefits you’re entitled to.

Being a parent is a tough gig – and being a single parent is even harder. Whether you’re divorced, widowed or simply making a choice to go it alone, life as a single parent can seem like a constant juggling act.

It can also put a major strain on your finances when you’re relying on a sole income, but a helping hand can make all the difference. That’s why it’s important to understand which types of government assistance you may be entitled to.

Here are some of the most common Centrelink payments for single parents. Remember, eligibility requirements and payment amounts often change, so be sure to check the Department of Human Services website for the latest information.

Parenting Payment

Who is it for? The main carer of a young child.

How much is it? The maximum payment is $780.70 per fortnight.

What you need to know: Eligibility is subject to an income and assets test, and there may be a waiting period.

Family Tax Benefits

Who are they for? Two part payment for parents caring for children under the age of 15, or aged 16–19 and studying full-time.

How much is it? There are two separate payments. For Family Tax Benefit A, the maximum payment is $186.20 a fortnight per child for children aged 0–12, and $242.20 a fortnight per child for children aged 13–19. For Family Tax Benefit B (an extra payment for single parents and one-income families), the maximum payment is $158.34 a fortnight per family if your youngest child is aged 0–5, and $110.60 per fortnight per family if your youngest child is aged 5–18.

You may also receive a Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement each year for each eligible child which is calculated after your payments are balanced, and a Family Tax Benefit B Supplement of up to $365.00 per year.

What you need to know: In order to be eligible for Family Tax Benefits in a particular financial year, you also need to ensure you lodge your income tax return no later than 30 June in the following financial year. You can’t get Family Tax Benefit B if you’re on paid parental leave, but you may be eligible after your leave ends.

Single Income Family Supplement

Who is it for? Those who have been eligible for Single Income Family Supplement since 30 June 2017 and care for an eligible child. You must have 1 main income earner with a taxable income between $68,000 and $150,000, and not have a second income earner with a taxable income above $18,000.

How much is it? A one-off annual payment of up to $300.

What you need to know: If you received Family Tax Benefits, you’ll receive this supplement automatically.

Child Care Subsidy

Who is it for? Parents with a child attending an approved child care facility (not a school).

How much is it? This is calculated once your family income, type of child care and hours required are factored in.

What you need to know: To receive this subsidy, your child must be immunised (or have a medical exemption).

Rent Assistance

Who is it for? Parents who receive more than the base rate of the Family Tax Benefit.

How much is it? Up to $183.00 per fortnight if you have three or more children, or $162.12 per fortnight if you have 1 or 2 children.

What you need to know: Rent Assistance doesn’t apply if you own your own home or live in government-provided housing.

Telephone Allowance

Who is it for? People receiving other types of government payments, pensions or allowances, including the Parenting Payment. You must have a telephone connected in your name.

How much is it? Up to $44.60 per quarter.

What you need to know: You don’t have to meet an income or assets test to receive this allowance.

Other payments

Depending on your situation, you may also be entitled to receive child support from your child’s other parent; a crisis payment or income support if you’re a victim of domestic violence; or assistance with your children’s health care costs.

Visit the Department of Human Services website to find out more.

Ask someone in the know

Remember, your financial adviser understands your unique financial circumstances. That’s why they’re in the best position to guide you through your Centrelink payments and make sure you’re receiving all the benefits you deserve.

For more information on single parent entitlements, and help with planning single income family finances, call Acumon Accountants and Business Advisors today on 4931 1100.

General advice warning: The advice provided is general advice only as, in preparing it we did not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before making an investment decision on the basis of this advice, you should consider how appropriate the advice is to your particular investment needs, and objectives. You should also consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision relating to a financial product.