The start of the new financial year is a timely reminder for Centrelink customers about recent changes that may affect their payments.
“It’s been a busy year for us, including processing new claims and payments for more than 1.5 million Australians during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year,” Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said.
“It’s important people are aware of some of the recent payment changes and stimulus support which may affect them.”
Second Economic Support Payment
The second $750 Economic Support Payment will be paid to bank accounts between 15 July and the end of this month.
Mr Jongen said the eligibility criteria for the second payment has changed since the first Economic Support Payment was made in March and April.
“Since the first payment, other financial support – like the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement – has been paid to people getting certain Centrelink payments. That means if you get the Coronavirus Supplement, you won’t get the Economic Support Payment this time, even if you got the first one,” Mr Jongen said.
“If you have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card, make sure we have your bank account details. You can update your bank details with your Centrelink online account through myGov.”
To get the second Economic Support Payment, you needed to be both living in Australia and got an eligible payment or concession card on 10 July, including:
- Age Pension
- Bereavement Allowance
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Disability Support Pension
- Double Orphan Pension
- Family Tax Benefit A
- Family Tax Benefit B
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Pensioner Concession Card.
Child Care Subsidy
Child Care Subsidy (CCS) starts again from today (13 July).
“If you were getting CCS before 6 April, your subsidy will start again automatically, as long as you’ve stayed eligible. If you’re new to CCS, make sure you’ve made a claim. We’ll also ease the CCS activity test from today,” Mr Jongen said.
“Some families affected by the COVID pandemic will have access to more CCS. If you need access to more subsidised hours make sure you apply online through your Centrelink online account through myGov.”
Family Tax Benefit
“It’s balancing time again for Family Tax Benefit (FTB), and that also means it’s time to give us your new income estimate for the 2020-21 financial year. If your income changed because of the coronavirus, it’s even more important to check your income estimates for this year. You can do this using your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus mobile app,” Mr Jongen said.
“Before we can balance your FTB and CCS, you may need to confirm your income. You don’t need to call or visit us to do this. This can be done through your Centrelink online account with myGov or your Centrelink Express Plus mobile app.
“To confirm your income, you need to either lodge a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office or tell us if you don’t need to lodge one. If you have a partner, they also need to lodge their tax return.
“When we balance your FTB, we’ll check if you can get any supplements. You may get the FTB Part A and FTB Part B supplements, and the Single Income Family supplement,” Mr Jongen said.
Parental Leave Pay
“Parents now have more choice about how they take Parental Leave Pay, which is 18 weeks or 90 payable days,” Mr Jongen said.
“If your child’s birth or adoption was on or after 1 July 2020, you may still get up to 90 days. However, your payment will include both a continuous Paid Parental Leave period of up to 12 weeks, which is 60 payable days, and 30 Flexible Paid Parental Leave days. You must take the Flexible Paid Parental Leave days before your child turns 2.”
“You can still get your Parental Leave Pay in a single continuous 18 week block.
“From 14 September, we’ll use your child’s date of birth to work out if the changes will affect you. If it does, and you claim Parental Leave Pay before 14 September, we’ll send you more information about how you can manage your Flexible Paid Parental Leave days.”
“On 1 July, our income and assets test limits for Age Pension increased. We use these tests to work out how much Age Pension you can get,” Mr Jongen said.
“The income and assets test limits are regularly updated to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). When the CPI rises, the income and assets limit amounts also rise and you may see an increase to your regular payment amount. The amount you get depends on your individual circumstances.
“You don’t need to do anything, your payment rate will adjust automatically.”
From 3 July, eligible carers started receiving the annual Carer Supplement.
“You’ll get Carer Supplement if you got Carer Allowance, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension for 1 July,” Mr Jongen said.
“The supplement is a fixed rate of $600 each year for each eligible payment and is paid as a lump sum into your bank account.”
Child Disability Assistance Payment
Child Disability Assistance Payments also started from 3 July for eligible carers.
“You’ll get the $1000 Child Disability Assistance Payment if you got Carer Allowance for 1 July for caring for a child under 16.