Understanding Australian Government parenting payments

Parenting payments are Australian Government financial supports that help families with the costs of parenting and raising children. Many of these payments are organised through Services Australia, which is responsible for services like Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.

Parenting payments are often income tested, assets tested or both.

Income tested means that the amount you can get (if any) is based on your family’s income or your individual income. This is what you or your family earn.

Assets tested means that the amount you can get (if any) is based on your assets or your family’s assets. This is what you and your family own. The family home isn’t included, but almost everything else is – for example, motor vehicles, home contents and so on.

It also helps to know that parenting payments can change. For example, they might change in the following situations:

  • Your personal or financial circumstances change.

  • The payment rate changes (usually because of indexation) – for most Centrelink payments, this happens once a year from 1 July.

  • The Government passes new laws on payments.

There’s a list of parenting payments below. Changes in payment can happen for all of them.

Financial support is also available for non-parent carers like grandparents, legal guardians and kinship carers.

Types of parenting payments

Additional Child Care Subsidy
This payment provides extra financial help to pay child care fees that are higher than the Child Care Subsidy rate. You can apply for the Additional Child Care Subsidy if you’re:

  • a grandparent, foster or kinship carer caring for a child more than 65% of the time and you also get an income support payment

  • going back to work and your income is below a certain amount – you might be studying, training or doing volunteer work or in rehabilitation

  • experiencing temporary financial hardship – the event must have happened in the last 6 months

  • caring for a child who is vulnerable or at risk of harm, abuse or neglect.

This payment is income tested but not assets tested.

You must be eligible and have applied for the Child Care Subsidy to receive the Additional Child Care Subsidy.

Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme
This payment is for families of students under a certain age who can’t go to a local government school on a daily basis because of their location, disability or additional needs. If you meet the age, study and living requirements for this scheme, you can get government assistance.

Types of assistance are:

  • Boarding Allowance (Basic and Additional)

  • Second Home Allowance

  • Distance Education Allowance

  • Pensioner Education Supplement.

This payment is not income tested and not assets tested, except for the Additional Boarding Allowance.

Carer Adjustment Payment
This is a one-off payment for full-time carers of children under 7 years who have experienced a catastrophic event resulting in a severe illness, severe medical condition or major disability. The carer must be getting the Carer Allowance but no other income support. This payment is for families experiencing financial hardship. You can apply for this payment only within 2 years of your child’s first diagnosis.

Carer Allowance
This payment is for people who care for someone with a disability or serious illness or for someone who is elderly and needs care and support. This payment is income tested and assets tested. Eligibility criteria apply to both the carer and the person being cared for.

Child Care Subsidy
This payment is for parents and carers to assist with the cost of approved child care for children 13 years and under. This payment is income tested but not assets tested.

Crisis Payment
This is a one-off payment for people in severe financial hardship, including people experiencing family violence. You’ll need to contact Services Australia within 7 days of your crisis to be able to apply or within 14 days if the crisis is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dad and Partner Pay
This is a 2-week payment for eligible biological fathers, partners of birthing mothers, adoptive parents and surrogate parents. The aim is to help these parents care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This payment is income tested (individual income) but not assets tested.

Double Orphan Pension
This payment is for carers of children whose parents can’t care for them or have died. The carer must care for the child at least 35% of the time. This payment is not income tested and not assets tested.

Family Tax Benefit (Part A)
This payment is for parents and carers. This payment is income tested but not assets tested.

Family Tax Benefit (Part B)
This payment is for parents and carers in single-income families. This payment is income tested but not assets tested.

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement
This payment is for parents and carers who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A. This payment is income tested but not assets tested.

Parental Leave Pay
This payment is for eligible working parents of newborn or recently adopted children. This payment is for up to 18 weeks and is income tested (individual income) but not assets tested.

Parenting Payment
This payment is for low-income parents and carers. This payment is income tested and assets tested.

Example of parenting payments

Here’s an example of how Australian Government parenting payments work.

A single parent with no income, no assets and dependent children might be eligible for:

  • Child Care Subsidy, if using approved or registered care

  • Family Tax Benefit (A and B)

  • Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

  • Parenting Payment.

Depending on other circumstances, this parent might also be eligible for payments like Rent Assistance.

Services Australia’s Payment and Service Finder can help you figure out what payments and services you can get. You’ll need to answer a series of questions and then you’ll see a list of payments and services relevant to your circumstances. If you can’t use this online tool, you can visit your nearest Centrelink office for more information.