There are so many different types of government benefits these days that it is no wonder that families don't understand what they are entitled to. It is confusing and consequently some families are not claiming everything that they should be entitled to.
I know that some people feel indifferent in putting their hand out for government entitlements. But don't be shy in claiming your fair share. The government isn't shy when they tax you … so why should you!
Most entitlements are means-tested, which means the benefits you receive reduce in line with your income.
THE REGULAR PAYMENTS
Family Tax Benefit Part A
This benefit helps with the cost of raising dependent children and dependent full-time students under the age of 25. The amount of the benefit is determined by your family income as well as the number and age of your dependents.
Family Tax Benefit Part B
Restricted to families where the primary earner has an adjusted taxable income under $150,000, this benefit provides extra assistance to families with one main income. The lower earning parent can earn up to $4,745pa before the benefit reduces.
This payment provides financial help for people who are the primary carers of children. It is means tested on both your income and assets.
Child Care Benefit
If you have a child who is attending child care services approved by, or registered with, the Government then you may be eligible for this benefit. The amount you receive will depend on the type and amount of care that you use, your income, the reason you are using care and the number of children that you have in care.
Child Care Rebate
This benefit is an additional help available to eligible working families to assist with covering the cost of child care. It is 50% rebate, up to $7,500 per child per year, on the out of pocket cost for approved child care after the child care benefit entitlement has been paid.
THE ONE-OFF PAYMENTS
Maternity Immunisation Allowance
One of the few benefits not means tested. The allowance is paid in two instalments - one prior to your child's birthday and the second before they turn five.
Baby Bonus Maternity Payment
This is paid over 13 fortnightly instalments to help with the extra costs of a new baby. To be eligible parents must not earn more than $75,000 in the first six months after birth.
OTHER BENEFITS AVAILABLE
The following additional payments may also be available:
- large family supplement;
- multiple birth allowance;
- rent assistance:
- health care card;
- 20% rebate on out of pocket medical expenses over $1,500 per annum; and
- paid parental leave (from 1 January 2011).
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
To receive these benefits you must:
- Register with Centrelink;
- Fill in and lodge the relevant entitlement forms with the Family Assistance Office;
- Provide accurate estimates of your family's annual income; and
- Have your tax returns up to date.