8 ways Centrelink changes will leave families out of pocket

Whether you are currently expecting a baby, planning to expand your brood or just getting by raising the little ones you already have, significant changes to family payments will likely affect you.

If the politics surrounding it all have you a little lost, we have put together a list to help break it down for you.

When the 2016 Federal Budget was announced little mention was made of the impact to families.

Since then, we have seen a fiery debate in parliament unfold as decisions affecting millions of Australian families were locked in.

While some changes to the Family Tax benefit remain in limbo some big cuts have already taken affect leaving many families with a lot less in the household budget, and more cuts remain on the horizon.

Here’s what you need to know.

Childcare support in limbo

The Jobs for Families childcare package announced in the 2015 budget will continue with $40 billion to be invested in childcare support over the next four years aimed at simplifying access to financial help. But the promised Child Care Subsidy, focused on encouraging stay-at-home mums back to work, has been pushed back to July next year because the Senate has not yet passed changes to the Family Tax Benefit.

In addition, the nanny pilot program will be extended until June 30, 2018 to continue helping those families who struggle to access mainstream childcare, such as shift workers.

New threshold for Family Tax Benefit Part A

Families earning more than $80,000 this financial year will lose the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement of up to $726.35 per child.

Parental leave pay seen as income

Parental Leave Pay is financial support given to working parents for up to 18 weeks to help care for a newborn or recently adopted child. Since October last year, this financial support is assessed as income, for income support payment eligibility. This means it is considered when calculating if a family is eligible for any FTB help.

Schoolkids Bonus gone

The $4.5 billion Schoolkids Bonus (SKB) scheme was phased out in July, 2016. This means that all families, even those on low to medium incomes, won’t get the $430 previously paid for each primary school child and $856 previously paid for each high school aged child.

Single Income Family Supplement scrapped

The Single Income Family Supplement of up to $300 per financial year won’t be paid to new customers after June 30 this year.

Fringe Benefits count as income

From January 1 this year, 100 per cent, instead of 51 per cent, of the total value of reportable fringe benefits will be used to calculate eligibility for Centrelink payments for all employees except those working for charities, some hospitals and public ambulance services.

Pauses to indexation

The Australian Government has frozen income limits for FTB Part A and B until 2020, meaning many families will lose some or all of their family and parenting payments between now and then.

Energy Supplement phase out

Families receiving Family Tax Benefit prior to September 19, 2017 remain eligible for the Energy Supplement but customers who became eligible for FTB afterwards will only remain eligible until March 20 this year. This could represent a loss of up to $91.25 a year per child aged 13 and under. Anyone on FTB from March 20 will not be eligible for the Energy Supplement at all.

Those families receiving a Parenting Payment face losses of $12 for single-parents and $7.90 for partnered per fortnight.

We would love to hear your tips for maintaining a healthy family budget.



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