Single Parenting Payment: What am I entitled to?

The cost of raising children keeps increasing. For single parents, managing finances within the household can be even more challenging, but a single parenting payment can help ease the burden. So what are single parents entitled to? Read on..

Introduction

If you are a single parent, you may be eligible to receive financial support from the Australian government to assist with your daily expenses. The 2021 census revealed that there were over 1.1 million one-parent families, which is equivalent to 15% of all families. Of this percentage, 59.5% have dependents under the age of 15. It was also found that 80% of the one-parent families were single mothers.

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which government benefits you may be eligible for but there are various Centrelink payments available for single-parent families, whether you’re in severe financial hardship, or you need a basic level of family assistance. Knowing your financial rights can help reduce the economic burden, especially if you are the primary carer for children. The main income support payment is known as the parenting payment. There are a few requirements parents will need to meet to receive the payments. Here is a quick guide to help you get a better understanding of what you may be eligible to receive from the Australian government.

single parenting payment
The amount you receive for single parent payments depends on your income and assets

How much do you get for single parenting payment?

Parenting payment is paid to the person who is the primary caregiver for a dependent child. A primary caregiver is someone who has a legal responsibility to look after a child. This can be:

–        A child’s natural or adoptive parent

–        The child’s step-parent

–        A foster carer for a child

The amount you receive for single parent payments depends on your income and assets; the maximum fortnightly payment for single parents currently is $880.20. To receive this maximum amount, the recipient’s income must be no more than $194.60 per fortnight (for one child), plus $24.60 for each additional child. You can see this on the table below, found on the Services Australia website.

single parenting payment

How much does Centrelink pay per child?

If you’re a single parent, you can receive any income up to a certain amount before Centrelink reduces the parenting payment. This limit is dependent on how many children you have. For one child, the gross income limit per fortnight to receive the full payment is $194.60. For two children, $219.20 and for three children $243.80. For every additional child, it increases by $24.60.

It is important to note that if you earn more than $2,440.60 gross per fortnight, you are not eligible to receive payments.

single parenting payment

How long does it take to process single parenting payments?

After you have completed your claim, you can check the progress on your Centrelink online account through the myGov website. After Centrelink has accepted the claim, the payment will start. This can take 1-4 weeks. In some circumstances, people may have to wait a little longer.

When does single parenting payment stop?

Single parenting payments will only be paid until your youngest child turns eight years of age. An article by The Sydney Morning Herald highlights how tough it can be for a single parent once payments stop. However, you may be eligible to seek jobseeker payment (formally known as Newstart allowance), or another type of income support payment. Services Australia will have more detailed information on what financial help you may be eligible for, based on your personal situation.

How many hours can you work on single parent payment?

The single parenting payment isn’t paid according to how many hours you work; it is calculated based on an income test, and the total income you earn. This includes any other income sources, for example, allowances, money earned from employment and financial investments, such as properties or shares.

Can I get Family Tax Benefit and Single Parenting Payment?

Both payments are separate, so if you are eligible and meet the requirements, you can receive both. The Family Tax Benefit Part B is paid per family and provides extra income support to single parents or some couple families who may be dependent on one income. For more information, visit Services Australia here: Services Australia

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Family Tax Benefit Part B pays a maximum amount of $162.54 each fortnight (for children under 5) and $113.54 every fortnight for children aged 5-18. However, the child must be studying full-time as a secondary student between 16-18 to receive this payment.

This payment can be received every fortnight or entirely accumulated and received as an annual payment at the end of the financial year to your bank.

It’s important to know that the Family Tax Benefit B also includes a supplement of up to $383.25 per family for the 2021-22 financial year, which will be paid after you have lodged your tax return. 

Is Single Parenting Payment taxable?

Yes, the parenting payment, both single and partnered, are taxable incomes. Centrelink generally sends a Centrelink Payment Summary at the end of each financial year, so you can check the transactions. It should also appear in your MyGov inbox for easier access.

single parenting payment
There are several government payments available depending on your circumstances – be sure to check the Payment and Service Finder

How to apply for single parenting payment

The first thing to do before applying is to ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements, These are:

●      Be under the income and assets threshold

●      Be the primary carer

●      Care for a child under 8 (for single parents)

●      Live in Australia

●      Meet all Australian Residency Requirements

After confirming these factors, you can start to submit your claim by using your MyGov account. Here are some simplified steps to guide you through the submission process:

1)      Log on to your MyGov account

2)    You will need to provide your CRN (Customer Reference Number). Click “I have a CRN” and enter your details

3)     All the linked services should appear. Choose Centrelink to proceed.

4)     Click on “Make a Claim or view claim status” on the dashboard

5)     In the “Looking for work” category, click “Get Started.”

6)     Click on “Parenting Payment”

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7)     Answer all the questions to verify your eligibility.

8)     Answer the questions about your situation

9)     Submit your claim and wait for the response.

 If you have trouble making an online claim, you can call the Centrelink Families Line on 136150 or visit your closest Centrelink Service Centre.

 Conclusion:

There is no doubt that single parenting can be challenging when you are the primary caregiver, and the cost of raising children is only getting more expensive. The government does offer eligible families income support payments but finding what is right for you can be quite a task. Single parenting payment is what most single parents would be eligible for if their income does not exceed the specified threshold and meets all the other requirements. The easiest way to make a claim is online.

There are many other payments available depending on your circumstances, such as Child Care Subsidy (if your child is attending an approved child care service), rent assistance, the Family Energy Rebate and various other government payments or rebates. For further information, you can contact Centrelink or use Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder to see what income support payments you are entitled to receive.

You might also be interested in my other Money Related articles on:

Financial Abuse; Definition And My Story As A Victim

Subsidy For Childcare; Everything You Need To Know

Emergency Fund; Why, Where, And How Much?

Barefoot Investor Buckets – How Do They Work?

A Single Mum’s Money Journey

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