Parenting Payments in Australia: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

Blog Header Parenting Payments in Australia

Donna is a family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales with a double degree in Business and Law. Donna is drawn to family law as...

Understanding Parenting Payment in Australia: What it is, How Much it is, and Who Can Get It

Managing your finances after a divorce or separation can be very difficult, especially if you are the main carer for your children. Parenting payments are the main income support payments you may receive while being a child’s main carer. So its important to understand exactly what parenting payment is, how much you may receive and whether you are entitled to get it.

In this guide, we go through everything there is to know about parenting payments, and how you may apply for them.

What are parenting payments?

Parenting payments are financial support payments from the government to help parents or carers cover the living expenses of raising young children. They are designed to provide primary carers with financial support while they seek work. The amount of financial support a parent may receive will depend on their family situation.

Cartoon of family receiving parenting payments

Family and parenting payments and benefits

The Australian government provides families with income support payments to help with the cost of raising children. You may be eligible for many payments subject to meeting the eligibility criteria. These payments include:

  • Assistance for isolated children scheme
  • Carer adjustment payment. This payment is for carers already receiving a carer payment who are experiencing significant financial hardship
  • Carer payment (also known as the carer allowance) when you are caring for someone with a disability or other medical condition
  • Child care subsidy
  • Crisis payment
  • Dad and partner pay
  • Double orphan pension
  • Parental leave pay
  • Parenting payment
  • Remote area allowance
  • Pensioner education supplement
  • Single Income Family Supplement

To receive the Single Income Family Supplement, your household income must be between $68,000 and $150,000, you must have received Family Tax Benefit Part A or Family Tax Benefit Part B for at least one of your children, or would have been eligible if you weren’t receiving one of the following payments:

Eligibility for each of these payments will depend on your circumstances.

Who can get the parenting payment?

To receive the parenting payment you must meet the eligibility criteria. This means you must:

  • Live in Australia
  • Be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or a protected Special Category Visa (SCV) holder
  • Meet the income and assets test
  • Be the principal carer of a child
  • Meet the income test and the assets test

How to apply for parenting payment

To apply for a parenting payment you will need to follow these steps:

    1.    Log into MyGov using your MyGov account

    2.    Choose the “I have a CRN” option from the menu and follow the prompts that will take you to Centrelink (who administers parenting payments)

    3.    Choose Centrelink from your linked services on the dashboard

    4.    Choose to “make a claim or view claim status” from the dashboard

    5.    Choose “Get started” on the “Looking for work” category

    6.    Choose “Parenting payment”

    7.    Answer the eligibility questions

    8.    Answer questions about your situation

    9.    Submit the claim

After you have submitted your claim you will need to wait for Centrelink’s decision. You may then have a one-week ordinary waiting period to get your first payment. In some cases, you may need to wait longer.

What benefits are there for single parents?

Centrelink administers income support and payments for single parents on behalf of the Australian government. The benefits for single parents include:

  • Family Tax Benefit A (FTB Part A)
  • Family Tax Benefit B (FTB Part B)
  • Child care benefit and additional child care subsidy – this payment is dependent on the enrolment of your child being under the age of 13 and you using an approved child care service
  • Parenting Payment Single
  • Newstart Allowance (Principal Carer) – renamed Jobseeker.

You may be eligible for other payments depending on your situation. You can use Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder to see what other payments you may be eligible for. If you are experiencing domestic violence then Services Australia can provide you with financial assistance.

Graphic of single mum receiving parenting payment

Your commitments to keep getting parenting payments

When your youngest child turns six you have mutual obligation requirements and must participate in certain tasks and activities as part of your job plan. If you fail to meet your obligations your payments may be suspended until you do. Authorised carers can apply for an exemption to the mutual obligation requirements. 

If your application for an exemption is approved, then each June, Families and Communities Services (FACS) will send you a letter stating that you are exempt from the mutual obligation requirements.

Government support for single-parent families 

The Australian government provides financial support for single parents. The parenting payment is a payment from the Australian government to help you with the cost of raising children while you look for work.

You may be eligible for other government payments including:

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B
  • Rent assistance
  • Child care subsidy

FAQs about parenting payments

Below we answer some common questions about parenting payments.

How many hours can I work on a single parenting payment?

The single parenting payment is not based on the number of hours you work. It is based on your total income. This means income from all sources including any payments you get as a gift or allowance, money you earn from employment, or money from financial investments such as property or shares. 

Most government payments including Jobseeker (formerly known as Newstart allowance), child support payments, rent assistance, NDIS payments are exempt from the assessable income test.

All payment recipients need to report their income every 14 days. 

What benefits are you entitled to as a single parent?

As a single parent, the Australian government will provide financial support to you if you are out of work or seeking more hours and the main carer of young children.

This support is known as the Parenting Payment Single and as of the 1st of April 2021, it was $850.20 per fortnight including the Parenting Payment and the Pension Supplement.

You may be eligible for other benefits subject to meeting the eligibility criteria. You can use Centrelink’s payment and service tool on their website to see what other payments you may be eligible for.

💲 How much do you get for single-parent payments?

All Australian government parenting payments depend on your income and assets. 

The payment is also dependent on the number of children you have. The Services Australia website has a calculator so that you can estimate how much you will get. The income limits are reviewed on the 20th of March, 1st of July, and 20th of September each year. As your income increases through part-time work or full-time work, the single parenting payment you get will reduce. 

This means you will only get a part payment, rather than the full payment.

🕘 Are single parents better off working part-time?

To keep getting your parenting payment you must meet your mutual obligation requirements unless you have an exemption. 

Your mutual obligation requirements are activities that you undertake to get a job or to increase your income. They include applying for jobs or undertaking studies.

If you want to update your skills by participating in study then you may be eligible for a youth allowance or ABSTUDY. ABSTUDY is a payment for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australians who are in an approved course and who are not receiving another payment to study or train.

More resources and useful links for you

    •    Family and Community Services (FACS)

    •    MyGov

    •    NDIS 

    •    Services Australia

How Unified Lawyers can help you

As one of Sydney’s leading family law firms, our family lawyers are experienced in helping parents who have recently gone through a separation, divorce, or child custody disputes

Our lawyers are dedicated and will go above and beyond to help you get the result you desire.

Unified Lawyers are just a phone call away. We are 7 days days a week on 1300 667 461.

Donna is a family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales with a double degree in Business and Law.

Donna is drawn to family law as she is interested in helping clients during a difficult and transitional period following separation. She strives to achieve the best outcome for her clients and has their best interest at the forefront of her advice.