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My Child Has Started School: Single Parent Centrelink Pay

My Child Has Started School: How Will This Affect My Centrelink Pay as a Single Parent?

When your child reaches school age, your Centrelink payment can change. The requirements to be eligible for payment can be different and you may need to look for work to continue receiving payments. You might also be considering returning to work or study once your children are at school. It’s important to know what you can/can’t do when receiving a government allowance while your children are in school.

Single parent Centrelink payments available

Single parents can continue to qualify for a range of payments from Centrelink after their children start school. However, some become limited for as long as you care for at least 1 child younger than 8 years of age. Here’s what you might be eligible to receive, subject to income and asset tests:

  • Family Tax Benefit – FTB is available, as long as you have a dependent child or secondary student who is not receiving another benefit, such as Youth Allowance.
  • Child Care Benefit – You are still able to receive Child Care Benefit after your child turns 8, but your benefit may be changed or reduced if you do not meet the Work, Training, Study Test.
  • Parenting Payment Single – You may already be receiving this payment. To continue to receive it after your youngest child turns 8, you will need to prove that you are looking for 15 hours of work per week.
  • Newstart Allowance – You must enter a job plan and be looking for paid work to receive Newstart allowance once your youngest turns 8.

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What if you’re partnered?

If you have a partner, you are still eligible for some of the above payments, depending on your joint income and assets. These payments can change when your youngest turns 6 years of age for partnered families.

What if you choose to go back to study?

If you choose to go back to study when your children start school, you may qualify for the following:

  • Education Entry Payment – This is a taxable amount of $208 given each year of study.
  • AUSTUDY – If you study full-time and you are over 25 years of age, you may be able to get AUSTUDY payments.
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance(JET) – This is a payment to assist with childcare while you study.
  • Higher Level Skills Subsidy – This offers a subsidy payment and is a program that supports the Queensland Government’s Working Queensland jobs plan. Find out more

What can you study?

If you have completed other study in the past, you may not be eligible for the Higher Level Skills subsidy as it is specifically to assist in learning a set of skills to lead to employment. If you have prior qualifications in the same area or a different one, you may not qualify for payment.

How do you work it all out?

It can be very daunting and confusing to decide what you would like to do and what will give your family the best possible outcome! Talking to Centrelink about your individual situation and options before, or as soon as, your child enters school age will allow you to make an informed decision on this next phase of your family’s life.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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