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									Information in your language
March 2012
Help in other languages
If you need an interpreter or documents translated for your business with us, we can arrange this for you free
of charge.

To speak to the Department of Human Services in languages other than English, call the multilingual call
centre on 131 202 for Centrelink services and payments, or the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131
450 for Medicare and Child Support services. For information in languages other than English visit
humanservices.gov.au and select the language button.

Call charges apply.

Information in other formats
Some information is available in alternative formats. These formats include audio CD/DVD, large print,
Braille and E-text. You can also select the ‘listen’ icon to hear the contents of selected web pages from our
website. We can also arrange to provide information products in other formats upon request.

If you are interested in this service call 132 717 or ask at a service centre.

Sign language interpreters
An Auslan interpreter can be arranged if you need to attend an appointment with us. If you have a TTY
phone, call Freecall™ 1800 810 586 to request an interpreter, or ask at a service centre before your
appointment.

TTY Service
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us through our TTY service on
Freecall™ 1800 810 586. To provide compliments, suggestions or complaints, please call our TTY
Customer Relations Line on Freecall™ 1800 000 567. A TTY phone is required to use this service.

National Relay Service
If you are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment, you can also contact us through the National Relay
Service. Call 133 677 and request any of our ‘13’ or ‘1800’ numbers at the back of this booklet. For more
information visit relayservice.com.au



Contents
Introduction 6

About this booklet     6
Are you a parent or guardian?          7

Family Tax Benefit     7

Family Tax Benefit Part A     7

Family Tax Benefit Part B     8

Paid Parental Leave scheme 9

Baby Bonus     12

Maternity Immunisation Allowance 12

Child Care Benefit     13

Child Care Rebate      13

Jobs, Education and Training Child Care
fee assistance 15

Double Orphan Pension         15

Registering the birth of your child    15

Parenting Payment      15

Sharing the care of a child   16

Child Support 16

Looking for work? 16

Newstart Allowance 16

Youth Allowance        16

Requirements for principal carers of
dependent children 18

Seasonal work 19

Part-time and casual work     19

Losing your job        19

Help finding a job     19

JobSearch facilities   19

Employment services providers          20

Widow Allowance        20

Studying or training?         21

Youth Allowance        21
Austudy        21

Assistance for Isolated Children     21

Pensioner Education Supplement       21

Are you a farmer, self-employed
or rural Australian? 22

Transitional Income Support 22

Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment 22

Interim Income Support        23

Support for children of drought-affected families   24

Self employed 24

Needing help in a crisis?     25

Crisis Payment        25

Special Benefit       25

Are you ill, injured or
do you have a disability?     26

Disability Support Pension    26

Sickness Allowance 26

Mobility Allowance 26

Caring for someone? 27

Carer Payment 27

Carer Allowance       28

Carer Supplement      29

Child Disability Assistance Payment 29

About to retire or in retirement?    31

Age Pension 31

Asset Hardship Provisions     31

Pension Loans Scheme          31

Pension Bonus Scheme          31

Work Bonus 31

Needing help after someone has died?         32
Bereavement Payment             32

Bereavement Allowance           32

Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment          32

Extra assistance from Centrelink 33

Weekly Payments        33

Advance Payments       33

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card 33

Concession cards       33

Education Tax Refund            33

English language classes        34

Financial Information Service        34

Medicare program       34

Translated Medicare information      35

Pension Supplement 35

Pharmaceutical Allowance        35

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme       35

Remote Area Allowance           35

Rent Assistance        35

Residential aged care 36

Seniors Supplement 36

Skills recognition     36

Telephone Allowance 37

Utilities Allowance    37

Making a claim         38

Proof of identity      38

Residence requirements          38

International social security agreements   39

Comparable foreign payment rules     39

Definition of a partner 39
Assurance of Support 39

Your rights and responsibilities    40

Your rights     40

You must tell us if things change   40

Avoid a debt 40

Dealing with third parties   40

Getting someone to deal with us for you   40

Person Permitted to Enquire 40

Nominee arrangements         41

Your privacy 41

Reviews and appeals 41

Help in your language        42

Interpreters    42

Document translation 42

Multilingual Call Centre     42

Translated Centrelink information   42

Letters 42

Translated Medicare information     42

More information      42

Income Management 42

Centrepay       43

Rent Deduction Scheme        43

Specialist staff 43

How to contact us     44

Centrelink Self Service      45

Medicare Online Services     46
Introduction
The Australian Government Department of Human Services provides access to social, health and other
payments and services through Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support and CRS Australia. We started
delivering our services as one organisation on 1 July 2011.

We advise customers about relevant payments and service options. We can also refer you to our specialist
staff and other departments and agencies.




About this booklet
This booklet is a guide to payments and services we offer to support you if you need assistance.

It includes details about:
• payments, services and opportunities

• how to claim payments and use our services

• your rights and responsibilities, and

• how to find out more.

The information complements and should be read in conjunction with The basics booklet. This is available
by calling 132 300 or asking at a service centre.

Are you a parent or guardian?
The Department of Human Services delivers a number of payments to assist you with the cost of raising
children and to balance work and family needs.

Family assistance payments can be claimed online or in person up to three months prior to the expected birth
or adoption of your child.

Online estimators let you estimate or compare payments you may be able to receive based on your current or
proposed circumstances.

Use the online estimators to work out what assistance is available by visiting
humanservices.gov.au/families

Family Tax Benefit
Family Tax Benefit is an income-tested payment to help you with the cost of raising children. It is in two
parts: Family Tax Benefit Part A and Family Tax Benefit Part B.

You do not have to be a parent to be eligible for Family Tax Benefit. Foster parents, step-parents,
grandparents or another carer responsible for the day-to-day care of children/grandchildren may also be
eligible.

Family Tax Benefit can be claimed up to three months prior to the expected birth of a child or the expected
date a child will enter your care.
Family Tax Benefit Part A
Family Tax Benefit Part A helps with the cost of raising children and is paid for each child.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A if you:
• have a dependent child aged under 16, or

• have a dependent child aged 16–20 years who has completed a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, or who
  is undertaking full-time education or training leading to a Year 12 qualification, or who is exempt*, or

• have a dependent full-time student aged 21–24, and

• have care of the child for at least 35 per cent of the time, and

• meet the income test.

In addition, to receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, your child’s income must be under the Family Tax
Benefit child income limit where applicable.

*Your child may be exempt from these requirements under certain circumstances if the child is unable to
participate in full-time education or training.

If you care for a child between 14 per cent and less than 35 per cent of the time you will not be entitled to
Family Tax Benefit payments, but you may be eligible to receive Rent Assistance, a Health Care Card,
Remote Area Allowance, Child Care Benefit and/or the lower threshold of the Medicare Safety Net.

If you have a dependent child under 21 years of age who is not in full-time study, they may be eligible for
Youth Allowance (job seeker).

Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement

Family Tax Benefit Part A includes a supplement for each child, which is paid after the end of the financial
year. It is paid after you and your partner have lodged your tax returns or have told us you do not need to
lodge a tax return. You must do this within two years of the financial year you were claiming Family Tax
Benefit to receive the Part A supplement.

Healthy Start for School—Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement

From 1 July 2011, if you and/or your partner are on an income support payment with a child turning four
years old, you can only be paid the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement for your child for the financial
year your child turns four if a relevant health check is completed for your child. More information is
available on the fact sheet Healthy Start for School or by calling 136 150.

Large Family Supplement and Multiple Birth Allowance

If you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A for three or more children, a Large Family Supplement will be
added to your payment.

If you have triplets or larger multiple births, you will get a Multiple Birth Allowance as well as Family
Tax Benefit A.
Child Support

The department uses the same rules to work out the percentage of care a parent provides.

If you receive Family Tax Benefit and pay or receive Child Support, you will only need to have your
percentage of care assessed once by us.

If you or your partner have a child from a previous relationship (including same-sex relationships) in your
care, you or your partner must take reasonable steps to obtain a Child Support assessment to determine your
eligibility for more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.

From 1 January 2012, this requirement also applied to children aged 16 to 18 who are in full-time secondary
study. You or your partner must take reasonable steps to obtain a Child Support assessment for your child
and this assessment must remain in place until the child turns 18 years of age or until the last day of school
in the year in which the child turns 18, whichever is later.

If you receive Child Support payments this can affect how much Family Tax Benefit Part A you will be
paid. You can check with us by calling 131 202 if you think this applies to you.

Education Tax Refund

If you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, you may also be eligible for the Education Tax Refund. For more
information visit educationtaxrefund.gov.au or call the Australian Taxation Office on 132 861.

For more information about family payments and services you may be eligible for, see Are you a parent or
guardian? Get this booklet by:
• visiting humanservices.gov.au

• calling us on 136 150, or

• asking at any service centre.

Family Tax Benefit Part B
Family Tax Benefit Part B gives extra help for families, including single parents, where one parent chooses
to stay at home or balance some paid work with caring for children.

You and your partner cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part B during a Paid Parental Leave period. Family
Tax Benefit Part B may be paid after the end of the Paid Parental Leave period.

You may get Family Tax Benefit Part B on its own, or both Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Family Tax Benefit Part B if you:
• have a dependent child under 16 years of age in your care, for at least 35 per cent of the time, or

• have a dependent full-time secondary student aged up to 18 years (who does not receive Youth
  Allowance or a similar payment) for at least 35 per cent of the time, and

• meet the income requirements.

Family Tax Benefit Part B Supplement
Family Tax Benefit Part B includes a supplement for each family, which is paid after the end of the financial
year. It is paid after you and your partner have lodged your tax returns or have told us you do not need to
lodge a tax return. You must do this within two years of the financial year you were claiming Family Tax
Benefit to receive the Part B supplement.

Estimating your income

If you get Family Tax Benefit, you will need to estimate your income to make sure you are getting the right
amount of payment. You can update your estimate as often as you like.

If you get Family Tax Benefit, you may have your ongoing Family Tax Benefit instalment payments
adjusted automatically as required to avoid or reduce a projected Family Tax Benefit overpayment. This
may apply if you receive your payment in fortnightly instalments and your income estimate or Child Support
income is revised.

For information on estimating your income, call us on 131 202.

Lodging your tax returns

If you receive Family Tax Benefit, you and your partner must lodge your tax return/s or tell us that you are
not required to do so. The Australian Taxation Office can tell you whether you are required to lodge a tax
return.

What if I don’t lodge my tax return?

You may no longer receive your Family Tax Benefit on a fortnightly basis if you or your current partner:
• do not lodge your tax return/s and as a result, a debt is raised, or

• do not advise us if you are not required to lodge your income tax return/s within the required timeframe.

This may also apply if you or your current partner have outstanding tax returns for past years when you were
in receipt of Family Tax Benefit.

If you and your current partner continue to receive further debts as a result of not lodging your tax return/s,
your family assistance payments may be cancelled. If your payments are cancelled, you and your current
partner must lodge all outstanding tax returns for the years you were in receipt of Family Tax Benefit, advise
us that you were not required to lodge one, or repay in full all outstanding debts resulting from not lodging
your tax returns. Once you have done this, you will need to lodge a new claim for Family Tax Benefit.

Paid Parental Leave scheme
The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides Parental Leave Pay for working parents. It helps parents to stay at
home and care for their children full-time.

Can I get Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus?

Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. If you have a multiple birth (for
example, twins, triplets), you may be able to get Parental Leave Pay for one child and Baby Bonus for the
other children.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if you:
• are the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child

• are an Australian resident

• have met the Paid Parental Leave work test before the birth or adoption occurs

• have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year prior to the
  date of birth, adoption or date of claim, whichever is earlier, and

• are on leave or not working from the time you become the child’s primary carer and do not return to work
  during your Paid Parental Leave period.

The birth mother or the initial primary carer of an adoptive child must make the claim for Parental Leave
Pay, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

There are other conditions that may apply, so talk to us to find out if you are eligible.

The Paid Parental Leave work test

To meet the Paid Parental Leave work test you must have:
• worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of your child, and

• worked for at least 330 hours in that 10 month period (just over one day a week), with no more than an
  eight week gap between two consecutive working days.

Note: a working day is a day you have worked for at least one hour and includes paid leave periods.

There are some exceptions to the work test if you cannot meet it due to pregnancy complications and/or
premature birth.

You do not need to be working full-time to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. You may meet the work test
even if you:
• are a part-time, casual or seasonal worker

• are a contractor or self-employed

• work in a family business such as a farm

• have multiple employers, or

• have recently changed jobs.

If you work for a family business, such as a farm, you can include your hours of work even if the business is
not generating any income, providing you are undertaking the work for financial gain or benefit.

If you think you may be eligible for both Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus, you should use the Paid
Parental Leave Comparison Estimator to help you decide which payment is the best financial decision for
your family visit humanservices.gov.au/estimators

Lodge your claim before your child arrives

Lodging a claim for Parental Leave Pay before your child is born or adopted will help prevent any delay in
providing Parental Leave Pay. You can lodge a claim up to three months before the expected date of birth or
adoption of your child by:
• using Online Services at humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices

• calling 131 202 to request a claim form, or

• asking at any service centre.

Can I get family Tax Benefit as well as Parental Leave Pay?

If you are eligible, you can receive Family Tax Benefit Part A during and after your Paid Parental Leave period.
You and your partner cannot receive Family Tax Benefit Part B during your Paid Parental Leave period. Once
you have stopped receiving Parental Leave Pay you will be able to receive Family Tax Benefit Part B if you are
eligible.

What should I do before my child arrives?

If you think you are eligible for Parental Leave Pay there are a number of things you should do before your
child arrives.

Plan your caring role and work leave arrangements before you claim
• Consider what paid and unpaid leave you might take from work, when you would like your Parental
  Leave Pay to start, and when you plan to return to work.

Use the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator before you claim
• Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. If you meet the eligibility criteria
  for both payments, you can choose which payment is the best financial decision for your family.

• Most eligible families will be better off receiving Parental Leave Pay rather than Baby Bonus. You should
  use the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator at humanservices.gov.au/estimators to work out
  which payment is best for your family.

Please note: If you choose to receive Parental Leave Pay, you and/or your partner will not be eligible for
Family Tax Benefit Part B and the dependent spouse, child housekeeper and housekeeper tax offsets during
the 18 week Paid Parental Leave period.

Talk to your employer
• Organise your leave from work. You should try to do this at least 10 weeks before you intend to take
  leave.

• If you have worked for 12 months or more for the same employer you are entitled to up to 12 months
  unpaid parental leave. For more information on your employment entitlements visit fairwork.gov.au

Lodge your claim before your child arrives
• Lodging a claim for Parental Leave Pay before your child is born or adopted will help prevent any delay
  in providing Parental Leave Pay. You can lodge a claim up to three months before the expected date of
  birth or adoption of your child by:

  – using Online Services at humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices

  – calling 136 150 to request a claim form, or

  – visiting a service centre.
When can my Parental Leave Pay start?

You can tell us the date you would like your Parental Leave Pay to start when you lodge your claim.

To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, your nominated start date for Parental Leave Pay needs
to be within 34 weeks of the birth or adoption of your child.

Your Parental Leave Pay can start from the day your child is born or adopted, or a later date. It must be fully
paid within 52 weeks from the date of birth or adoption.

How will I be paid?

Your Parental Leave Pay will be provided to your employer in your usual pay cycle if you:
• have a child born or adopted from 1 July 2011

• worked for your employer for 12 months or more prior to the expected date of birth or adoption

• will be their employee for your Paid Parental Leave period

• are an Australian based employee, and

• expect to receive at least eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay.

If you do not meet these criteria your employer is not required to provide your Parental Leave Pay. However
they can still choose to provide it to you, if you both agree for this to happen. Before you lodge your
employer will need to register for Centrelink Business Online Services and then opt in to provide Parental
Leave Pay.

If your Parental Leave Pay is not provided by your employer it will be provided by us.

Can I work while receiving Parental Leave Pay?

If you return to work, your Parental Leave Pay will stop. Before returning to work contact us on 136 150 as
the unused part of your Parental Leave Pay may be transferred to your partner if they meet the eligibility
criteria and claim your unused Parental Leave Pay.

Baby Bonus
Baby Bonus helps with the costs of a newborn baby or adopted child and is paid in 13 fortnightly
instalments. Baby Bonus is paid for each eligible child. A higher amount of Baby Bonus is paid in the first
fortnightly instalment than in the subsequent 12 fortnightly instalments for those parents and carers who
become eligible on or after 1 July 2011.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Baby Bonus if you:
• are eligible for Family Tax Benefit for your child (or would be eligible except for the income test) within
  26 weeks of your child’s birth or entry into your care for an adopted child (where the child is born or in
  your care on or after 1 January 2011, you must also be the primary carer of your child within the same 26
  week period), or

• if you are claiming for a child other than your own, you must be eligible for Family Tax Benefit for the
  child (or would be eligible except for the income test) within 26 weeks of the child’s birth and be likely to
  continue caring for the child for at least 26 weeks (where the child enters your care on or after 1 January
  2011 you must also be the primary carer of the child within the same 26 week period), and

• meet income requirements, and

• are an Australian resident

• have not received Parental Leave Pay for the child.

• have registered the birth of your child with the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your state or
  territory*. There is no cost for registering. New parents will receive birth registration forms in hospital.

*This does not apply to parents whose child is stillborn, adopted or born outside Australia.

Claims for Baby Bonus can be lodged up to three months before the expected date of birth or the expected
date a child will enter your care.

To receive Baby Bonus, you must lodge your claim through us:
• no later than 52 weeks from the day after the birth of the child, or

• in the case of an adoption, no later than 52 weeks from the day after the child enters your care.

You cannot claim Baby Bonus and Parental Leave Pay for the same child.

Baby Bonus can also be paid if you have a stillborn child or a child who dies shortly after birth.

A Newborn Child Claim form will be given to you at the hospital or by the midwife. This form includes
proof of your baby’s birth, along with information we need to finalise your claim for Baby Bonus and
information to add your baby to your Medicare card.

Maternity Immunisation Allowance
Maternity Immunisation Allowance is a non-income tested payment to encourage parents or guardians to
immunise the children in their care. Maternity Immunisation Allowance is generally paid in two separate
amounts; the first amount is paid between 18 months and two years of age; the second amount is paid
between four and five years of age.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Maternity Immunisation Allowance if:
• your child is less than five years of age and is fully immunised, or has an approved immunisation
  exemption, and

• you meet Family Tax Benefit requirements for the child (except for the Family Tax Benefit income test),
  and

• you have care of your child for at least 35 per cent of the time.

You are able to get immunisation exemption for your child if:
• your child cannot be immunised due to a medical condition

• your child has a natural immunity to a disease or a vaccine is unavailable, or

• you have personal, philosophical, religious or medical belief that immunisation should not occur.
If you are seeking immunisation exemption for your child, you will need to speak to your doctor or
immunisation provider. Maternity Immunisation Allowance can also be paid if your child was adopted from
outside Australia and enters Australia before they are 16 years of age.

You can claim Maternity Immunisation Allowance at the same time as Family Tax Benefit and Baby Bonus
or Parental Leave Pay, or separately if you are not eligible for these payments. Apply by using Online
Services at humanservices.gov.au before your child’s second or fifth birthday.

If you claimed Family Tax Benefit for the current financial year, receive Baby Bonus or Parental Leave Pay
we will automatically assess your eligibility for Maternity Immunisation Allowance. If you did not receive
Baby Bonus or Parental Leave Pay, you will need to claim Maternity Immunisation Allowance through us.
This needs to be done on or before your child’s second or fifth birthday, depending on whether you are
claiming the first or second amount of Maternity Immunisation Allowance, or within two years of their
arrival in Australia (whichever is later).

Maternity Immunisation Allowance can be claimed up to three months prior to the expected birth of a child
or the expected date a child will enter your care.

Child Care Benefit
Child Care Benefit helps with the cost of approved or registered child care.

You do not have to be a parent to get Child Care Benefit. Guardians, foster parents and grandparents
responsible for the day-to-day care of children may be eligible for Child Care Benefit.

Eligible grandparents with the primary care of their grandchildren and using approved care may be able to
receive additional assistance. The Department of Human Services will balance your payment of Child Care
Benefit at the end of each financial year with information from the Australian Taxation Office after you and
your partner lodge your tax returns or advise us that your are not required to lodge tax returns.

The balancing process will compare your actual family income to your estimated family income and
calculate your annual entitlement. Any Child Care Benefit or Rebate already received throughout the year,
either paid to you or as reduced fees, will be included in the calculations.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/childcarebenefit or call 131 202.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Child Care Benefit if:
• your child goes to approved or registered child care

• you meet income requirements

• your child meets the immunisation requirements or has an approved exemption

• are liable and have paid the child care fees

• you or your partner are an Australian resident, or a special category visa holder residing in Australia, or
  are the holder of a certain temporary visa or have other special circumstances.

Approved child care is care provided by a service approved by the Australian Government. Most long day,
family day, before and after school, vacation, and some in home and occasional services offer approved
care.
Registered child care is provided by nannies, grandparents, relatives or friends. It can include care provided
by individuals in private pre-schools, kindergartens, occasional care centres and outside school hours care.
The carer or teacher must be registered with us for you to receive your Child Care Benefit.

You should check with your carer whether the care you are using is ‘approved’ care or ‘registered’ care.

Child Care Rebate
To get the Child Care Rebate, you must first claim and be eligible for Child Care Benefit and use approved
child care. The Child Care Rebate helps families with the costs of approved child care. It is paid in addition
to Child Care Benefit and covers a percentage of your out-of-pocket child care expenses, up to a maximum
amount for each child for each financial year. Out-of-pocket expenses are total child care fees less your
Child Care Benefit. Currently the Child Care Rebate is 50 per cent.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Child Care Rebate if:
• you use approved care

• you are assessed as eligible for Child Care Benefit even if you receive no payment because your income is
  too high, and

• you and your partner (if you have one) meet the work, training, study test at some time during the week
  the approved care was provided (or have an exemption).

If you are not eligible for Child Care Benefit for approved care, you will not be able to get the Child Care
Rebate.

For more information on Child Care Rebate, call 131 202.

Your payment choices for Child Care Rebate

There are four ways to receive your Child Care Rebate:

1. Direct to your approved child care service—Your Child Care Rebate will be paid fortnightly and in
   many cases weekly to your child care service when your child’s attendance is received. If you are
   receiving Child Care Benefit at a legislative rate greater than zero rate and you choose this payment
   option then 15 per cent of your Child Care Rebate entitlement will be withheld until the end of the
   financial year. If you choose to have your Child Care Rebate paid directly to your approved child care
   service(s), the amount of your Child Care Rebate will be deducted from the amount of your child care
   fees.

2. Direct to you—Your Child Care Rebate will be paid directly to your nominated bank account fortnightly
   and in many cases weekly when your child care attendance is received. Note: If you are receiving Child
   Care Benefit at a legislative rate greater than zero and you choose this payment option then 15 per cent of
   your Child Care Rebate entitlement will be withheld until the end of the financial year.

3. Quarterly payment to you—Your Child Care Rebate will be paid directly to your nominated bank
   account quarterly.

4. Annual payment to you—Your Child Care Rebate will be paid directly to your nominated bank account
   annually.
For more information on Child Care Rebate, call 131 202.

Estimating your income

If you get Family Tax Benefit, you will need to estimate your income to make sure you are getting the right
amount of payment. You can update your estimate as often as you like. For information on estimating your
income, tell us on 131 202.

Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance
Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance provides extra help with the cost of approved care
for eligible parents who are receiving Child Care Benefit at the maximum rate and are taking part in
activities such as work (paid or unpaid), study, job search or rehabilitation as part of an Employment
Pathway Plan to help them enter or re-enter the workforce.

Double Orphan Pension
Double Orphan Pension is a non means tested payment which helps you meet the costs of caring for children
who are unable to be cared for by their parents in certain circumstances.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible to receive Double Orphan Pension for a child in your care if:
• you and the child meet eligibility criteria for Family Tax Benefit (with the exception of the income test),
  and

• the child is under 21 years of age (if aged between 16 to 21 years of age the child must be a full time
  student who does not receive Youth Allowance), and

• the child’s parents or adoptive parents have died, or

• where one of the child’s parents has died and the other parent is unable to care for them as:

• they have been convicted or sentenced and in custody for a term of at least 10 years, or

• they are on remand for an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for a term of least 10 years, or

• they are in a patient in a psychiatric institution or nursing home indefinitely, or

• their whereabouts are unknown.

For more information about family payments and services you may be eligible for, see Are you a parent or
guardian? Get this booklet by:
• visiting humanservices.gov.au

• calling us on 136 150, or

• asking at any service centre.

Registering the birth of your child
You must register your child’s birth as required by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your state
or territory before you can be paid Baby Bonus. There is no cost for registering.
Birth registration forms are given to parents in hospital. If you have not applied to register the birth of your
child within 52 weeks of the birth you cannot be paid. This requirement does not apply to parents whose
child is stillborn, adopted or born outside Australia.

Parenting Payment
Parenting Payment helps you if you are the main carer of a dependent child or children. It can only be paid
to one member of a couple. When care for a child is shared between two parents, only one person can be the
main carer.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Parenting Payment if:
• you are partnered and the main carer of a dependent child under six years of age or you are single and
  the main carer of a dependent child under eight years of age

• you meet asset and income requirements, and

• you agree to enter into an Employment Pathway Plan and meet your participation requirements when your
  youngest child turns six years of age.

If you were receiving Parenting Payment before 1 July 2006 your participation requirements may vary
depending on your circumstances. For more information call 131 202.

Sharing the care of a child
If more than one person is responsible for the care of a child, each carer may be eligible for some family
assistance.

If a carer looks after a child for 35 per cent of the time or more, they may be eligible for a percentage of the
Family Tax Benefit for that child.

If you care for a child between 14 per cent and less than 35 per cent of the time, you will not be entitled to
Family Tax Benefit but may be eligible for Rent Assistance, a Health Care Card, Remote Area Allowance,
Child Care Benefit and/or the lower threshold of the Medicare Safety Net.

We use the same rules to work out your percentage of care.

If you receive Family Tax Benefit and pay or receive Child Support, you will only need to have your care
percentage assessed once by us.

Child Support
Child Support aims to balance the interests of both parents and focus on the needs and costs of raising their
children. The scheme applies to all parents, regardless of the type or length of their relationship. The
scheme aims to:
• support shared parental responsibility

• ensure Child Support is paid in full and on time, and

• reduce conflict between parents about parenting arrangements.
Child Support provides support and assistance to both parents, including calculating, collecting and
transferring Child Support.

We can also provide products, services and referrals to help parents with other aspects of separation.

If you are a parent or non-parent carer (for example a grandparent), you may be eligible to receive Child
Support.

More information

For more information if you are a parent or guardian, call 131 202 to speak to us in a language other than
English.

Looking for work?
Newstart Allowance
Newstart Allowance helps if you are looking for paid work, or you are taking part in approved training or
other activities that may improve your chances of finding work.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Newstart Allowance if you:
• are 21 years of age or over and under age pension age

• are unemployed or working part-time

• are prepared to enter into and comply with the terms of an Employment Pathway Plan

• are not involved in industrial action

• meet the income and assets test, and

• meet Activity Test or participation requirements, or are exempt from these requirements.

Youth Allowance
Youth Allowance provides assistance for young people who are studying, undertaking training and/or
looking for work.

Youth Allowance may also assist if you are ill or temporarily incapacitated, have a partial capacity to work,
or are the principal carer of a dependent child.

Am I eligible?

You may get Youth Allowance if you are:
• a full-time student aged 18 to 24* years and are studying full-time in an approved course at an approved
  institution, or

• an Australian Apprentice aged 16 to 24* years of age.

You may also get Youth Allowance as a job seeker if you are:
• 16 to 20* years of age, have not completed Year 12 or an equivalent Certificate Level II qualification and
  are undertaking:

  – full-time study

  – part-time study and other approved activities for at least 25 hours per week, or

  – have a temporary exemption from the Activity Test (for example due to illness), or

• 16 to 20* years of age, have completed Year 12 or an equivalent Certificate Level II qualification and are:

  – actively looking for suitable work

  – undertaking a combination of approved activities such as part-time work and training, or

  – have a temporary exemption from the Activity Test (for example due to illness)

* or 15 years of age if considered independent and above the minimum school leaving age in your state or
territory.

Note: Family Tax Benefit is the primary payment for families with dependent 16–17 year old children living
at home who are in full-time secondary study (until the end of year 12 or equivalent). These children will
generally not have the option to be paid Youth Allowance.

When you turn 18 years of age, you can either choose to apply for Youth Allowance or your parent or
guardian may claim or continue to receive Family Tax Benefit for you. To help you work out which is the
best payment option for your family, visit the Family Assistance—Youth Allowance Comparison Estimator
at humanservices.gov.au

In some circumstances where a student under 18 is eligible for Youth Allowance, such as if you are living
away from home, you are usually required to be studying full-time, undertaking a full-time Australian
Apprenticeship or other approved activities to be eligible for Youth Allowance, although some exemptions
apply. Contact us to discuss options for approved activities or visit humanservices.gov.au for details.

Activity Test and participation requirements

Some Centrelink payments, such as Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seekers), Parenting
Payment and Special Benefit have ‘Activity Test’ or ‘participation’ requirements.

This means that you must:
• demonstrate that you are actively looking for suitable paid work

• accept all suitable work offers (not just work you prefer to do)

• attend all job interviews

• attend all interviews with us and your employment services provider

• agree to attend approved training courses or programs

• never leave a job, training course or program without a valid reason

• enter into and comply with the terms of an Employment Pathway Plan when asked to do so.
What happens if I fail to meet my Activity Test or participation requirements?

If you are a job seeker and receive a Centrelink payment you must meet your Activity Test or participation
requirements to get your payment.

Your Activity Test or participation requirements include:
• compulsory activities included in your Employment Pathway Plan, and/or

• interviews that you need to attend (for example with your employment services provider, with us or a job
  interview).

It is important that you contact us or your employment services provider if you are unable to attend an
appointment or activity they have arranged for you before the appointment or activity is due to occur.

Meeting your requirements is a condition of your payment. If you do not meet your requirements and/or you
do not contact us to advise why you will be unable to attend a compulsory appointment or activity
beforehand, your payment may be stopped until you speak with us. You may also receive a failure and you
may lose some or all of your payment, even if you have a good reason for not being able to attend. You may
lose your payment for a longer period if you persistently avoid your obligations.

Requirements for principal carers of dependent children
If you are a principal carer receiving Parenting Payment or Special Benefit, you will be required to enter into
an Employment Pathway Plan once your youngest child is six years of age.*

If you are a principal carer receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance you will have to enter into an
Employment Pathway Plan from the time you claim payment, unless you are granted an exemption from the
Activity Test.

Under the plan you will need to be working, looking for at least 15 hours of suitable work per week, or
engaged in another activity which has been approved by us or your employment services provider.

*For some people this applies when their youngest child turns seven years of age.

You can satisfy your Activity Test or participation requirements as a principal carer by doing at least 15
hours per week (or 30 hours per fortnight) of:
• suitable paid part-time work (including self-employment)

• study or training

• voluntary work (in some circumstances), or

• a combination of these activities.

Activity Test and participation requirements for principal carers take into consideration a greater range of
special circumstances under which a person receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting
Payment or Special Benefit would not be expected to satisfy their normal requirements. Exemptions may be
granted under the following examples of special family circumstances for principal carers:
• registered and active foster carers, including emergency and respite foster carers

• facilitating home schooling of dependent children

• facilitating distance education of dependent children
• having a large family (four or more dependent children)

• caring for a child as a relative (but not the parent) in accordance with a family law order or formal
  state/territory protection case plan, or

• experiencing domestic violence or significant stress as a result of a relationship breakdown.

There are also special provisions for principal carers who are unable to satisfy their Activity Test or
participation requirements during school holiday periods, and at other times when an employer may
temporarily close down their business, or reduce the hours of work available.

For more information on Activity Test and participation requirements for principal carers and other parents,
see the Flexible arrangements for parents and principal carers brochure. This is available by calling 132
850 or asking at a service centre.

Mature Age requirements (if you are 55 years of age or over)

If you are receiving Newstart Allowance or Parenting Payment and are 55 years of age or over, you may
meet your Activity Test or participation requirements by undertaking 30 hours per fortnight of approved
voluntary work, suitable paid work or self employment, or a combination of these activities. You will need
to be connected to an employment services provider, such as Job Services Australia or Disability
Employment Services and accept any referrals to suitable work.

Lodging a medical certificate

If you submit a medical certificate, we assess whether your medical condition affects your ability to do
suitable work or to participate in other activities such as training. Lodging a medical certificate does not
automatically mean you can stop looking for work or participating in other activities.

Seasonal work
If you have seasonal, intermittent or contract work, you may have a Seasonal Work Preclusion Period
applied to your payment. This means you may have a waiting period applied when you make a claim for a
payment.

If you take up any seasonal work opportunities while receiving an income support payment, you must report
the amount you earn to us.

Seasonal work can include:
• fruit picking

• fishing

• harvest work

• shearing, or

• work in an industry affected by shutdowns.
Part-time and casual work
You may still receive some payment from us if you take up part-time or casual work. To ensure you receive
the correct amount you must tell us about any employment income and hours you have worked.

Your earnings may affect the amount of payment that your partner receives from us.

If you do not tell us about your work, or do not give us accurate details of your income, you may be
overpaid and have to pay back the money. A payment penalty also applies. We match information with the
Australian Taxation Office and verify income details with employers.

Losing your job
If you have lost your job because of reasons such as retrenchment or staff cutbacks, you may be eligible for
payments and/or access to employment services, even if you have not previously been a customer.

If you cease suitable work voluntarily without a valid reason or are dismissed due to misconduct, you may
have to serve an Unemployment Non Payment Period before you can be paid. An Unemployment Non
Payment period is generally eight weeks, but may be up to 12 weeks if you received relocation assistance
through a Job Services Australia provider to take up the work. It is important that you talk with us if you are
experiencing financial hardship during an Unemployment Non Payment Period.

Help finding a job
We provide services to help you:
• find and access full-time or part-time work

• while you are undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship

• when entering the workforce.

For more information see The basics booklet.

JobSearch facilities
The Self Service JobSearch facilities at some service centres can help you identify employment
opportunities and assist you in other job-related activities. You can use the facilities to:
• update and print your resume

• search and apply for jobs online

• find your local Job Services Australia provider, and

• look for information about apprenticeships, education and training.

You may also wish to check job vacancies in:
• commercial employment agencies

• local and national newspapers

• trade and professional magazines

• Job Services Australia Providers’ offices, or
• Disability Employment Services Providers’ offices.

Employment services providers
If you are eligible, we can refer you to Job Services Australia or Disability Employment Services, which
together form a national network of employment services funded by the Australian Government to help you
find paid work.

Job Services Australia can help you develop a résumé, match your skills to all vacancies lodged nationally
and provide you with general job search assistance to improve your employment prospects and job search
techniques. If you are eligible for the full range of services, your provider may be able to provide additional
assistance to help you secure work.

Disability Employment Services offer specialist employment services for people with a disability, illness or
injury. If you do not already have a current assessment of your work capacity you will generally need to
undergo an Employment Services Assessment to decide whether you can access these services. Your
Assessor will refer you to the service that best suits your needs.

For more information visit deewr.gov.au or call 136 268.

Widow Allowance
Widow allowance helps if you have become widowed, separated or divorced later in life and you have no
recent workforce experience and no dependent children under 16 years of age. Widow Allowance was
phased out from 1 July 2005. New grants for Widow Allowance can only be made to women born on for
before 1 July 1955.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Widow Allowance if you are a woman who:
• has become widowed, divorced or separated (including from an opposite-sex or same-sex registered or de
  facto partner) since turning 40

• has no recent workforce experience, and

• meets the income and assets test.

If you are the principal carer of a dependent child under 16 years of age you may be eligible for Parenting
Payment or Newstart Allowance, instead of Widow Allowance.

You will not be eligible for Widow Allowance if you are a woman living in Australia under an Assurance of
Support. There may be exceptions in cases where the person who gave the Assurance of Support is
unwilling and unable to provide an adequate level of support. Widow Allowance is an Assurance of Support
recoverable payment.

For more information in a language other than English call 131 202.
Studying or training?
Youth Allowance
Youth Allowance helps if you are studying full-time, undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship or if
you are undertaking approved activities.

Am I eligible?

You may get Youth Allowance if you are:
• 18 to 24 years of age* and studying full-time in an approved course at an approved institution, or

• 16 to 24 years of age* and a full-time Australian Apprentice, or

• 16 to 20 years of age*, have not completed Year 12 or an equivalent Certificate Level II qualification and
  are undertaking:

  – full-time study, or

  – part-time study and other approved activities for at least 25 hours per week, or

  – have a temporary exemption from the Activity Test (for example due to illness), or

• 16 to 20 years of age*, have completed Year 12 or an equivalent Certificate Level II qualification and are:

  – actively looking for suitable work, or

  – undertaking a combination of approved activities such as part-time work and training, or

  – have a temporary exemption from the Activity Test (for example due to illness).

* or 15 years of age if considered independent and above the minimum school leaving age in your state or
territory.

You may be eligible for Youth Allowance if you are 16 to 17 years old and studying full-time if you:
• need to live away from home to study, or

• you are considered independent for Youth Allowance.

If you are under 18 years of age, some exemptions apply if you are studying part-time or undertaking a part-
time Australian Apprenticeship or other approved activities.

Approved courses generally include secondary education courses, undergraduate courses, associate and
other diplomas, TAFE courses and some postgraduate courses.

Youth Allowance may also help if you are ill or temporarily incapacitated, have a partial capacity to work,
or are the principal carer of a dependent child.

Austudy
Austudy provides financial assistance for people 25 years of age or over and studying full-time, or
undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship.
Am I eligible?

You may get Austudy if:
• you are a full-time student 25 years of age or over and undertaking an approved course, or

• you are a full-time Australian Apprentice 25 years of age or over, and

• your and/or your partner’s income and assets are below a certain amount.

Approved courses generally include secondary education courses, undergraduate courses, associate and
other diplomas, TAFE courses and some postgraduate courses. Doctorates are not approved courses.

Assistance for Isolated Children
Assistance for Isolated Children helps if your family has a primary or secondary student who cannot go to an
appropriate state school on a daily basis because of geographical isolation or they have a disability or special
health need. It also helps some isolated families with tertiary students.

Pensioner Education Supplement
Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) helps customers with the costs associated with study and is not
income and asset tested.

The Pensioner Education Supplement is a non-taxable payment available to customers who are receiving
certain Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments and who are undertaking approved full-time
or part-time study.

For more information if you are studying or training, call 131 202 to speak to us in a language other than
English.

Are you a farmer, self-employed or rural Australian?
The department has a number of payments to help farmers who are experiencing hardship and difficult
circumstances such as drought.

Transitional Income Support
Transitional Income Support can assist farmers in financial difficulty, who are, or are likely to be,
adversely impacted by climate change. If you are a farmer and need short term income support Transitional
Income Support can provide support to help you and your family adjust to the impacts of climate change.

You may receive:
• a fortnightly payment at the same rate as Newstart Allowance.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Transitional Income Support if, for two years immediately prior to the payment
period, you are a farmer and you have:
• contributed a significant part of your labour to the farm enterprise

• derived a significant amount of your gross income from the farm enterprise, and
• contributed a significant part of your capital to the farm enterprise.

You also must be an Australian resident* living in Australia and meet the required income and assets tests.

* For more information on residence requirements see The basics booklet.

What else should I know?

There are three assets tests which determine your eligibility for Transitional Income Support. The first is an
off-farm assets test, and is the same as that used for Newstart Allowance. This includes all funds in any
Farm Management Deposits. All other assets essential to the operation of the farm are exempt from this
initial assets test. The second assets test assesses your (and your partner’s) total net assets. These assets
must be below $1.5 million (including all farm assets).

The third assets test requires that you have less than $20,000 in liquid assets.

Transitional Income Support is a payment paid to eligible farmers for up to 12 months*. If you receive
Transitional Income Support you may also be eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card. To test your
eligibility you must complete the relevant questions on the claim form for Transitional Income Support.

* Transitional Income support is due to close on 30 June 2012.

Note: The Climate Change Adjustment Program Advice and Training Grant is also available to assist
farmers in financial difficulty, who are, or are likely to be, adversely impacted by climate change, and help
them to obtain professional advice and training. The Climate Change Adjustment Program Advice and
Training Grant will close on 30 June 2012. For further information about Transitional Income Support, call
Freecall™ 1800 050 585 or ask at a service centre.

Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment
Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment may assist you with everyday living expenses if you are a
farmer, the owner of an eligible agricultural-dependant small business or a rural small business in a
drought declared area.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment if you:
• are a farmer*, and

• contributed a significant part of your labour to the farm, and

• derived a significant amount of your gross income from the farm, and

• contributed a significant part of your capital to the farm, and

• meet the income and assets test. Assets essential to the running of the farm enterprise are exempt. Other
  exemptions apply, and

• are an Australian resident**, and

• are in Australia when you claim, and

• are in an Exceptional Circumstances declared area, and
• are not receiving Newstart Allowance, or other income support benefits or pensions (including a Service
  Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs), and

• are not a full-time student.

* Certain rural small business operators may also qualify up until 30 June 2012.

** For more information on residence requirements see The basics booklet.

Your farm must be located in an area that has a current Exceptional Circumstances declaration. If the
Exceptional Circumstances declaration expires for the area you are in then your payment will stop.

For more information see the Drought Assistance for farmers factsheet. This is available by calling 132 316
or asking at a service centre.

How does it work?

Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment is paid fortnightly at the Newstart Allowance rate. You will also
receive a Health Care Card.

What else should I know?

Exceptional Circumstances Interest Rate Subsidies (IRS is a Commonwealth funded program and
administered by the states) may be provided on the interest payable on new and existing loans. For more
information visit daff.gov.au or call your local state or territory Rural Adjustment Authority.

Interim Income Support
At times, the Australian Government may declare that an area is being assessed for declaration of
Exceptional Circumstances. You may be eligible for Interim Income Support if you are a farmer in one of
these areas. This can be paid for up to six months while the area is being assessed for full Exceptional
Circumstances. If the Australian Government makes a full Exceptional Circumstances declaration for your
area, Interim Income Support will be replaced by Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility criteria and payment are the same as for Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment. If you
receive this payment you will not automatically receive a Health Care Card, so you may wish to apply for a
Low Income Health Care Card.

For more information call 132 316 or ask at a service centre.

Support for children of drought-affected families
If you are a farmer and are receiving Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment, you may be eligible for
Family Tax Benefit for dependent children and exempt from the parental means tests for Youth Allowance,
ABSTUDY and the Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance. For more information
call 132 316 or ask at a service centre.
Self employed
If you are self employed and want to receive Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance, we will need to
assess your situation.

A number of initiatives are available if you are a job seeker living in an eligible community severely
affected by drought.

These include:
• JobSearch Support—provides assistance if you wish to look for work outside the farm to supplement your
  income

• access to Intensive Support (job search training)—provides job search skills to help you to find work. For
  more information visit workplace.gov.au or call 136 268

• Drought Force—helps rural communities with their workforce needs, retaining and building local skills
  during drought. For more information visit deewr.gov.au or call Freecall™ 1800 004 226

• Harvest Labour Service—connects job seekers with growers. For more information visit
  harvesttrail.gov.au or call Freecall™ 1800 062 332.

For more information if you are a farmer, self-employed or rural Australian, call 131 202 to speak to us in a
language other than English.

Needing help in a crisis?
Crisis Payment
A Crisis Payment is a one-off payment that may be paid in addition to your regular income support payment.

Am I eligible?

You may receive a Crisis Payment if you:
• have been forced to leave your home and find a new home because of an extreme event such as domestic
  violence, natural disaster or other unforeseen extreme circumstances

• remain in the home after experiencing domestic violence where the family member responsible has left or
  been removed from the home

• have been released from a correctional facility or psychiatric confinement after being imprisoned for a
  period of at least 14 days as a result of being charged with an offence, or

• have arrived in Australia with an Australian Humanitarian Visa for the first time. You must have been
  granted the visa before you arrived.

You must also be:
• in severe financial hardship, and

• eligible to receive a social security pension, benefit or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.
You must register your Intent to Claim within seven days of the event. If you are being released from a
correctional facility or psychiatric confinement you must register your Intent to Claim within seven days of
being released or up to 21 days before your release.

If you or your family are experiencing domestic violence

Our social workers can offer counselling, support, referrals to community services and assess whether you
are eligible for a Crisis Payment.

If you are being released from a correctional facility or psychiatric institution

If you are claiming Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance, you must come and see us so we can discuss
your circumstances and offer assistance.

You will need to provide:
• proof that you have been in a correctional facility or psychiatric institution for at least 14 days. This is
  usually provided on discharge papers issued to you by the facility or institution on release, however if you
  don’t have these we can confirm this with them directly

• proof of your bank account balances, and

• any identification you have. If you have difficulty getting identification, let us know as soon as possible.

You may also apply for a Hardship Advance of up to seven days of your pension or benefit on release.
Check with your correctional facility or psychiatric institution to find out if you can claim pre-release
services from us.

Some correctional facilities and psychiatric insitutions will assist you with applying for identity documents
like birth certificates pre-release. If you have difficulty getting identification, let us know as soon as
possible.

Special Benefit
Special Benefit helps you if you are in severe financial need due to circumstances outside your control. In
some cases, you may be able to receive an advance of your first payment of Special Benefit.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Special Benefit if you:
• are in severe financial hardship, and

• are not able to earn enough income for yourself and your dependants because of age, physical or mental
  disability or domestic circumstances, or for any other reason over which you have no control, and

• are not eligible for any other Centrelink payment.

For more information if you need help in a crisis, call 131 202 to speak to someone in your language.
Are you ill, injured or do you have a disability?
Disability Support Pension
Disability Support Pension helps if you have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment that prevents
you from working for at least two years, or if you are permanently blind.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Disability Support Pension if you are ill, injured or have a disability and you are:
• 16 years of age or over and, at time of claiming, be under age pension age, and

• assessed as not being able to work 15 hours or more each week at or above the relevant minimum wage
  for the next two years or to be retrained for such work within the next two years because of your illness,
  injury or disability, or

• permanently blind, or

• participating in the Supported Wage System.

To speak to someone in your language call 131 202.

Disability Support Pension is income and assets tested, except if you are receiving the payment because you
are permanently blind. This excludes Rent Assistance.

Sickness Allowance
Sickness Allowance helps you if you are employed or in full-time study but are temporarily unable to work
or study because of illness, injury or disability.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Sickness Allowance if you are temporarily unable to work or study because of a medical
condition and you:
• are 21 years of age or over and have a job to return to, or

• are 25 years of age or over and receive Austudy, and

• are under age pension age, and

• meet income and asset requirements.

You must have work or study to return to when you are well again.

Mobility Allowance
Mobility Allowance helps you if you have a disability and cannot use public transport, either permanently or
for an extended period without substantial assistance and you are engaged in certain activities. These
activities include looking for work, participating in the Disability Employment Services program, or any
combination of paid employment, voluntary work, vocational training and independent living/life skills
training.
Am I eligible?

You may receive Mobility Allowance if you:
• are 16 years of age or over, and

• cannot use public transport without substantial help for the next 12 months or longer because you have a
  disability (there does not need to be public transport in your area for you to be eligible), and

• need to travel to and from work, training or job seeking.

There are two rates of Mobility Allowance. The rate you receive will depend on whether you meet certain
criteria in addition to those mentioned above.

To be eligible for the standard rate of Mobility Allowance, you must also:
• be undertaking vocational training, voluntary work, paid work, independent living/life skills or any
  combination of these for at least 32 hours every four weeks on a continuing basis, or

• have an agreement to look for work through an employment services provider (for example, Job Services
  Australia or Disability Employment Services), or

• be participating in a Disability Employment Services-Disability Management Service program, or

• be receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy and be required to meet Activity Test or
  participation requirements.

Voluntary work must be for a charitable, welfare or community organisation on a continuing basis.

To be eligible for the higher rate of Mobility Allowance, you must also be receiving Disability Support
Pension, Parenting Payment, Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job seeker) and:
• be working for at least 15 hours per week on wages that are at or above the relevant minimum wage, or

• be undertaking job search activities for work of at least 15 hours per week on wages that are at or above
  the relevant minimum wage under an Employment Pathway Plan with us or an employment services
  provider (e.g. Job Services Australia or Disability Employment Services), or

• be working for at least 15 hours per week on productivity based wages under the Supported Wage System.

How does it work?

You may receive a:
• fortnightly Mobility Allowance

• Health Care Card if you are not getting any other payments from us.

Mobility Allowance is not subject to an income or assets test and is not taxable.

You do not need to get any other payments from us to be eligible for the standard rate of Mobility
Allowance.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/mobilityallowance call 132 717 or ask at a service
centre.
Caring for someone?
Carer Payment
Carer Payment can provide you with income support if, because of the demands of your caring role, you are
unable to support yourself through substantial paid employment.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Carer Payment if, in the home of the person being cared for, you are personally
providing care for:
• an adult 16 years of age or over with a severe disability or medical condition, or

• an adult with moderate care needs and supervision of their dependent child if this child is:

  – under six years of age, or

  – between six and 16 years of age and the person caring for this child receives Carer Allowance for doing
    so, or

• a single child under 16 years of age with a severe disability or a severe medical condition, or

• two to four children under 16 years of age with a severe disability or severe medical condition whose
  combined care needs are equal to that of a single child under 16 years of age with a severe disability or
  severe medical condition, or

• one to two children and an adult who each have a disability or medical condition and their combined care
  needs are equal to that of a single child with a severe disability or severe medical condition, or

• two or more children under 16 years of age with a severe disability or a severe medical condition in an
  exchanged care arrangement*, and

• both (you and the person you care for) be Australian residents.**

*Exchanged care refers to a situation where:
• you provide a significant level of care to two or more

 children, and
• you exchange the care of these children with the

 other parent or legal guardian who you are not in a
 relationship with, and
• each of the children has a severe medical condition or

  severe disability, and
• you have a parenting plan, registered parenting plan, or court approved parenting plan, that outlines your
   caring arrangements, and

• you and the other parent each provide a significant level of care to one of these children every day.

** For more information on residence see The basics.
In addition, you also need to:
• meet the income and assets tests, and

• not be working, studying or training for more than 25 hours per week (including travelling time).

The person you care for needs to:
• be receiving a Centrelink payment, a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Partner Service Pension, or

• be unable to receive any of these payments because they have not lived in Australia long enough to be
  eligible, or

• meet the care receiver income and assets limits.

You need a medical report from a doctor or a treating health professional to help establish eligibility.

If you are caring for a child under 16 years of age a medical report must be completed by one of the
following health professionals who is currently involved in the treatment of the child being cared for:
• a legally qualified medical practitioner

• a registered nurse

• an occupational therapist

• a physiotherapist

• a registered psychologist

• an Aboriginal Health Worker (in a geographically remote area), or

• speech pathologist
if you are caring for an adult 16 years of age or over a medical report must be completed by one of the
following health professionals who is currently involved in the treatment of the person being cared for:

• a legally qualified medical practitioner

• a registered nurse

• an occupational therapist

• a physiotherapist

• a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team, or

• an Aboriginal Health Worker (in a geographically remote area).

Generally Carer Payment (caring for a child under 16 years of age) is paid where a child requires care for six
months or more. However, it can also be paid where a significant level of care for a child is required and is
being provided on a short-term or episodic basis for a minimum of three months but less than six months. The
child’s treating health professional will advise on the medical report whether the condition is short-term or
episodic.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/carerpayment call 132 717 or ask at a service centre.
How does it work?

You may receive:
• a fortnightly Carer Payment—see the Disability and Carer Payment Rates factsheet for the amount
  and details of how the income and assets tests may affect your payment

• a Pensioner Concession Card.

What else should I know?

You may also receive:
• Assistance for Isolated Children

• Carer Allowance

• Carer Supplement

• Education Entry Payment

• Mobility Allowance

• Pension Supplement

• Pensioner Education Supplement or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement

• Remote Area.

Carer Allowance
Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment that may be available to you if you are a parent or carer who
provides additional daily care and attention for an adult or child with a disability or medical condition, or for
an adult who is frail aged. Carer Allowance is not income and assets test, is not taxable and can be paid in
addition to wages, Carer Payment or any other Centrelink payment.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Carer Allowance if you:
• are looking after a child or an adult with a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability who needs
  additional care and attention, and

• live with the child you are caring for, or

• provide care for an adult in either your home or the home of the person you are caring for*.

Carers who are eligible for Carer Payment (caring for a child under 16 years of age) will generally receive
Carer Allowance (caring for a child under 16 years of age) automatically, even if they provide short-term
or episodic care.

You need a medical report from a doctor or treating health professional to help establish eligibility.

If you are caring for a child under 16 years of age, a medical report must be completed by one of the
following health professionals who is currently involved in the treatment of the child being cared for:
• a legally qualified medical practitioner
• a registered nurse

• an occupational therapist

• a physiotherapist

• a registered psychologist

• an Aboriginal Health Worker (in a geographically remote area), or

• a speech pathologist.

Written evidence from a medical practitioner will be required if the care receiver has a condition listed in the
List of Recognised Disabilities. A recognised disability is a condition or disability that is consistently
associated with severe levels of disability.

If you are caring for an adult 16 years of age or over a medical report must be completed by one of the
following health professionals who is currently involved in the treatment of the person being cared for:
• a legally qualified medical practitioner

• a registered nurse

• an occupational therapist

• a physiotherapist

• a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team, or

• an Aboriginal Health Worker (in a geographically remote area).

Carer Allowance may be shared between two people for the same receiver provided that the two people are
not a couple.
*You may get Carer Allowance even if you do not live with the person you are caring for. However, if you
do not live in the same home you will need to meet the following requirements:
• you must be providing some personal care every day, and

• this care must amount to at least 20 hours per week, and

• you must not be receiving wages (at or above the relevant minimum wage) for providing this care.

Carer Allowance cannot be shared when one carer lives with the person being cared for and the other carer
does not. In this case, the carer living with the person is paid the full amount of Carer Allowance.
How does it work?

If you are caring for a child under 16 years of age you may receive a:
• fortnightly Carer Allowance payment plus a Health Care Card, or

• a Health Care Card.

For more information about other consessions available to card holders see The basics booklet.

You may receive Carer Allowance for more than one child.
If you have two children with disabilities and the children are not individually eligible for Carer Allowance,
but together create a substantial caring responsibility, you may still be entitled to a single rate of Carer
Allowance.

If you are caring for an adult 16 years of age or over you may receive a fortnightly Carer Allowance
payment.

You may receive Carer Allowance for up to two adults.
What else should I know?

You may also receive:
• Carer Supplement

• Child Disability Assistance Payment

• Assistance for Isolated Children.

When the child you care for turns 16

When you are paid Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance for a child under 16 years and your child is about
to turn 16 we will need to establish if you can continue to receive Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance
payments for a person 16 years or over. You will need to complete a review form and a medical report will
need to be completed by a doctor or treating health professional to help establish eligibility.

Health care cards may be available to 16 to 25 year olds who are full-time students and who have a disability
or medical condition that previously qualified their carer for Carer Allowance (child).
Carer Supplement
Carer Supplement is an annual payment to assist you with the costs of caring for a person with a disability.

To be eligible for Carer Supplement you must have been paid one of the following payments for a period
that includes 1 July of that year:
• Carer Allowance

• Carer Payment

• Wife Pension with Carer Allowance

• Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension with Carer Allowance, or

• Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension.

Carers whose payment has been back dated to include 1 July are also eligible.

This payment is paid automatically every July and no separate claim is needed. If you receive a part-
payment of Carer Allowance due to shared care, you will receive a part-payment of Carer Supplement. If
you receive Carer Allowance for more than one person with a disability, you will receive a separate Carer
Supplement for each person you are caring for.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/carersupplement call 132 717 or ask at a service centre.
Child Disability Assistance Payment
Child Disability Assistance Payment is an annual payment to assist you with the costs of caring for a child
with a disability.
Am I eligible?

To be eligible for Child Disability Assistance Payment you must have been paid Carer Allowance for a child
under 16 years of age for the period including 1 July of the relevant year. This includes carers whose
payment has been backdated to include 1 July.
How does it work?

This payment will be made automatically every July. No separate claim is needed.

If you receive a part-payment of Carer Allowance you may receive a part-payment of Child Disability
Assistance Payment.

If you receive Carer Allowance for more than one child under 16 years of age you will receive a separate
Child Disability Assistance Payment for each child.

About to retire or in retirement?
Age Pension
If you have reached age pension age, Age Pension ensures you have an adequate income in your senior years.
Australia has international social security agreements with a number of countries. These may help you qualify for
Age Pension even if you are not an Australian resident or do not have a long enough period of residence. For
more information visit humanservices.gov.au/agepension call 132 300 or ask at a service centre.

How does it work?

You may receive:
• a fortnightly Age Pension

• a fortnightly Pension Supplement

• a Pensioner Concession Card.

For more information about concession cards, see the About to retire or in retirement booklet or A guide to
Centrelink concession cards booklet.

Online Services

You can claim Age Pension using Online Services. For more information visit
humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices

Asset Hardship Provisions
Generally, if you have significant assets you are expected to use those assets to support yourself before
claiming a payment from us. However, where you cannot use your assets to help yourself in times of severe
financial hardship, you can apply to be paid an income support payment under the Asset Hardship
Provisions.
How does it work?

The amount you receive under the Asset Hardship Provisions depends on each individual case. Payments
start from the date you lodge your hardship claim. In some cases payment can be backdated for up to six
months. You may also be eligible for a concession card.

For more information see the Assets Hardship Information factsheet.

If you are unable to receive Age Pension due to the value of real estate assets, you may be eligible for
payment under the Pensions Loan Scheme. For more information, see the Pension Loan Scheme factsheet.

Pension Loans Scheme
If you or your partner are of age pension age and only receive a part pension, or cannot get a pension
because either your income or assets are over the limit, you may be able to access capital tied up in your
assets under the Pension Loans Scheme.

Only real estate that you own in Australia can be used as security for the loan. Your home, if you own it,
would usually be considered enough security.

How does it work?

You may receive an amount up to the maximum amount of Age Pension, plus other supplementary
payments each fortnight, which can be paid as a Pension Loan. You will be charged compound interest on
the loan. The loan payments you receive are not taxable.

If you receive all your pension payments under the Pension Loan Scheme, you will not receive a Pensioner
Concession Card or Pension Supplement; however, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health
Card.

For more information see the Pension Loans Scheme factsheet.

Pension Bonus Scheme
The Pension Bonus Scheme rewards you if you defer claiming Age Pension or Service Pension and continue in
paid work. The scheme is voluntary, but is closed if you were not eligible for Age Pension before 20 September
2009. If you met the qualifications for Age Pension before 20 September 2009 you can still register for the
Pension Bonus Scheme. You should register as soon as possible.

For more information see the Pension Bonus Scheme brochure.

Work Bonus
The Work Bonus is an incentive for pensioners over age pension age to participate in the workforce.

It reduces your assessable employment income by $250 each fortnight. If the Work Bonus is not used
because you are not working or you earn under $250 in a fortnight, the unused amount will be added to your
Work Bonus balance. The Work Bonus balance can be used to offset any future employment income you
have. This means you can work for short periods with little or no affect on your pension.

All pensioners over age pension age who have employment income are eligible for the Work Bonus except
recipients of Parenting Payment (single) and customers receiving a transitional rate of pension.
You do not need to apply for or claim the Work Bonus but you will need to keep us up to date with your
earnings. If you receive eligible employment income, we will automatically recognise this and include it in your
assessment.

For more information if you are planning to retire or in retirement, call 131 202 to speak to us in a language
other than English.

Needing help after someone has died?
Bereavement Payment
Bereavement Payment helps you to adjust to a change in circumstances if your partner, your child, or a
person you are caring for dies.

Am I eligible

You may receive a Bereavement Payment if:

• your partner dies and when they died you were both receiving either:

  – a pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veteran’s affairs, or

  – a benefit, such as Newstart Allowance or Parenting Payment, for at least 12 months, or

• you were the carer or parent of a young child that dies and you were getting or qualified to get Family Tax
  Benefit, Baby Bonus, or Maternity Immunisation Allowance for the child who died, or

• you are receiving Carer Allowance for a Family Tax Benefit child who dies.

What else should I know?

When you tell us that someone has died, we will work out if you are eligible for Bereavement Payment and
how much you will receive.

For more information see the Needing help after someone has died booklet or call 131 202 to speak to us in
a language other than English.

Bereavement Allowance
Bereavement Allowance is a short term income support payment. It gives you a level of income in the
period following the death of your partner.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Bereavement Allowance if:
• you have not re-partnered, and

• you meet the residency requirements, and

• your income and assets are below a certain amount, and

• you claim within 14 weeks of your partner’s death. To be paid from the date your partner died you should
  claim within 4 weeks of their death.
Bereavement Allowance is payable for up to 14 weeks after the death of your partner. If you are pregnant
when your partner dies you can receive Bereavement Allowance for the duration of the pregnancy.

If you are currently receiving an income support payment from us, it may be more beneficial to transfer to
Bereavement Allowance during the bereavement period.

Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment
If your partner was registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme with us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
and died before making a successful claim for Age Pension and Pension Bonus, you may be eligible for
Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment. The amount payable is based on the amount of Pension Bonus your
partner would have been eligible for.

The Pension Bonus Scheme was closed to new entrants from 20 September 2009, but if your partner was a
member of the scheme, you may still be able to claim and be paid a Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment.

For more information, see the Pension Bonus Scheme brochure.

What to do after someone dies

When someone dies, a doctor must sign a certificate that confirms the person’s death. The death must be
registered with the relevant government office. The funeral director in charge of the funeral arrangements
will usually arrange this. If a funeral director is not involved with funeral arrangements, the person
managing the final arrangements for the deceased person is responsible for registering the death.

Who to Contact

A number of people need to be told when someone dies. It is worth checking to see if the person who died
had a filing cabinet, folder or document case that may contain personal records and documents. This may
assist in identifying who needs to be contacted.

Organising the Funeral

A funeral director can organise the funeral for you. They may also assist with things such as newspaper
notices, flowers and religious services. Funeral costs can vary considerably so it is important to know what
the price includes. The funeral director should provide a written quote.

Companies that the deceased person held a personal insurance policy or private health cover with may
contribute an amount towards the cost of the funeral. The deceased person may have paid for their funeral in
advance or purchased a funeral bond.



Extra assistance from Centrelink
If you are getting a payment from us you may also be able to receive some extra assistance. The extra
assistance will depend on your payment and personal circumstances.
Weekly Payments
Weekly payments may be available to customers who find it difficult to budget on a fortnightly basis.
Eligible customers would receive their income support payment on a weekly rather than fortnightly basis,
until their circumstances improve. Weekly payments form part of our services for vulnerable and ‘at risk’
customers. We currently have a range of options to assist these customers, including but not limited to:
• Centrepay

• Income Management, including Voluntary Income Management

• referrals to welfare agencies, housing authorities and social workers, and

• payment nominees and youth agencies.

Advance Payments
If you receive an income support payment or Family Tax Benefit Part A and meet the qualification criteria,
you may be eligible to receive part of your fortnightly payment in advance as a lump sum. The amount of
Advance Payment you are able to receive depends on how much you are paid each fortnight and which
payment you are receiving. If you receive an Advance Payment, a portion of your regular payment will be
deducted each fortnight for 13 fortnights or until the Advance Payment has been repaid.

We offer a number of Advanced Payments, however the rules differ depending on which payment you are
receiving. For more information on advanced payments call 131 202 to speak to us in a language other than
English.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to eligible Australians of age pension age who have an
income within certain limits. The card provides you with access to a variety of Australian Government
concessions. Other concessions may also be provided at the discretion of state, territory or local authorities,
or business services.

Concession cards
If you receive a Centrelink payment you may also be automatically issued a Pensioner Concession Card or a
Health Care Card. If you don’t receive a Centrelink payment but your income is below certain limits, you
may be eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card.

If you are age pension age but not entitled to an Age Pension, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth
Seniors Health Card.

If you are a foster carer, you may be eligible for a Health Care Card for your foster children.

If you are a full-time student whose carer received a Carer Allowance Health Care Card, you may be eligible
for an ex-Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card.

These cards may help in reducing the cost of things such as prescription medication and some medical bills.
Some concession cards include your partner and dependent children’s names on the card. You can have your
partner’s name removed, however only people named on the card can get concessions.
State/territory and local organisations may also offer concessions—you should contact relevant concession
providers in your state/territory for more information.

For more information see A guide to concession cards.

Education Tax Refund
If you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, you may also be eligible for the Education Tax Refund. For more
information visit educationtaxrefund.gov.au or call the Australian Taxation Office on 132 861.

English language classes
We can help you to access classes where you can learn or improve your English. You will need to learn
English if you want to become an Australian citizen.

Adult Migrant English Program

The Adult Migrant English Program helps you to learn English and about Australian society, culture and
customs. Classes are free for newly arrived refugees and for some newly arrived migrants. Your Adult
Migrant English Program service provider will arrange for free child care for your young children who need
to be looked after while you go to English classes. For more information visit immi.gov.au or call the
Department of Immigration and Citizenship on 131 881.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program

The Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program helps you with English speaking, reading and writing or
basic math skills so you can gain employment or access further education and training. Under this program,
you may be eligible for a fortnightly supplement. For more information visit deewr.gov.au or call 132 850.

Financial Information Service
Anyone of any age can receive the confidential, free, independent and expert information provided by our
Financial Information Service. It can help you make informed decisions about investment and financial
issues for your current and future needs.

Financial Information Service Officers can give you expert financial information so that you can understand
and be confident dealing with your financial affairs. They also alert you to risk levels associated with
different financial products.

Financial Information Service Officers do not provide financial advice or counselling, recommend particular
investments or products or tell you how to invest your money. They cannot tell you exactly how much of a
payment you may receive from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, but they can give you an estimate.

What else should I know?

For more information or to arrange an appointment with a Financial Information Service Officer visit
humanservices.gov.au/fis or call 132 300.

Financial Information Service Officers also conduct regular information seminars on a range of financial
topics, such as Understanding Superannuation, Managing Your Money, and Investing with Safety.

For more information about a seminar near you or to make a booking call 136 357.
Medicare program
The Medicare program ensures that all eligible Australian residents have access to free or low-cost medical,
optometrical and hospital care while still being able to choose private health services.

The Medicare program provides access to:
• free treatment as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital

• free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors, including specialists, participating
  optometrists or dentists (specified services only).

For more information go to humanservices.gov.au/medicare call 132 011 or visit your local service centre.

Medicare Safety Net

If you need to see a doctor or have regular tests you could end up with high medical costs. The Medicare
Safety Net is designed to help you when you need it most. It means that once you reach and qualify for a
safety net threshold, visits to your doctor or medical tests may cost you less.

Individuals are automatically registered. Families and couples need to register—even if all your family
members are listed on your Medicare card you still need to register. To register, or for more information go
to humanservices.gov.au/safetynet call 132 011 or ask at your local service centre.

Medicare Teen Dental Plan

The Medicare Teen Dental Plan helps with the cost of an annual preventative dental check for eligible
teenagers aged between 12–17.

For more information go to humanservices.gov.au/teendental call 132 011 or visit your local service
centre.

Translated Medicare information
We have an information kit for people who can’t speak English. This kit has information about our main
health programs, including the Medicare program and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The kit is
translated into 19 community languages and has useful information for everyone, even if they have lived in
Australia for some time.

These information kits are available from humanservices.gov.au/medicare

If you need help translating any information call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

Pension Supplement
If you are eligible, Pension Supplement is paid with your fortnightly income support payment.

How does it work?

Pension Supplement is paid automatically each fortnight with your payment. You can choose to receive the
minimum amount of Pension Supplement quarterly instead of every fortnight. For more information visit
humanservices.gov.au/pensionsupplement call 132 300 or ask at a service centre.
Pharmaceutical Allowance
Pharmaceutical Allowance assists you with the cost of prescription medicines.

How does it work?

If you are eligible, Pharmaceutical Allowance is paid automatically with your payment. Pharmaceutical
Allowance can be paid up to seven fortnights in advance to assist people receiving either Disability Support
Pension (who are under 21 with no children), or Parenting Payment (Single) who are under age pension age
with high pharmaceutical requirements. If you want to apply for Pharmaceutical Allowance in advance you
will need a prescription record and a claim form.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/pharmaceuticalallowance call 132 300 or ask at a
service centre.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) helps protect you financially if you or your family need a lot of
medicine. Talk to your pharmacist about getting a prescription record form. If you reach the safety net
threshold you can apply for a safety net card and your PBS medicine will be less expensive or free for the
rest of the calendar year.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/pbs call 1800 020 613 or ask at a service centre.

Remote Area Allowance
Remote Area Allowance helps you with some of the costs that go with living in particularly remote areas. It
is paid to you automatically if you get an eligible payment and you live in certain tax zones of Australia.

Rent Assistance
If you are paying rent and receiving a payment from us, you may be eligible for Rent Assistance. Rent can
include private rent, lodging, board and lodging, site fees, fees to moor a vessel or service and maintenance
fees in a retirement village. If you share the care of a child, you may also be eligible for Rent Assistance.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Rent Assistance if you are:
• paying rent, and

• receiving a payment from us or sharing the care of a child.

You cannot receive Rent Assistance if you:
• have a tenancy agreement with a state or territory housing authority and pay rent to a state or territory
  government. There can be special cases when you pay rent to a Community Housing Organisation where
  you may be able to get Rent Assistance. If you are paying rent to a Community Housing Organisation you
  will need to contact us to check whether or not you can get Rent Assistance, or

  – own or are buying the home in which you live (except for mobile and relocatable homes), or

  – are a homeowner travelling away from your principal place of residence for less than 12 months, or
• only get Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment, Interim Income Support Payment, or

• are in a residential aged care home occupying an Australian Government funded bed.

For more information see the Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent brochure, available by visiting
humanservices.gov.au/rentassistance or by calling the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number at the back of this booklet
most relevant to your situation or asking at a service centre.

How does it work?

The rate of Rent Assistance depends on:
• the type and amount of rent you pay for the home you usually live in, and

• your living arrangements—whether you are single or have a partner, whether you have dependent children
  living with you or whether you share your accommodation with others.

To receive Rent Assistance, you will need to provide details of your rental circumstances.

If you have a written tenancy agreement (lease) with your name on it, you need to provide us with a copy of
your lease and a completed Rent Certificate. The Rent Certificate does not need to be signed by your
landlord, authorised agent or the person you pay rent to.

If you do not have a written tenancy agreement (lease) with your name on it, you need to provide us with a
completed Rent Certificate. This must be signed by your landlord, authorised agent or the person you pay
rent to. If you have problems getting a tenancy agreement (lease) or Rent Certificate signed, let us know
straight away.

You can get a copy of a Rent Certificate from a service centre or call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number listed at the
back of this booklet most relevant to your situation.

If you live in community housing, your Community Housing Organisation may be able to send your rent
information directly to us. Talk to your Community Housing Organisation to find out more information.

Residential aged care
Residential aged care services, such as hostels and nursing homes, provide nursing and personal care for
older people who can no longer live independently. Most of them are funded by the Australian Government.

For more information call the Department of Health and Ageing on FreecallTM 1800 500 853 or ask us for a
copy of the Accommodation Choices for Older Australians and their Families booklet.

Seniors Supplement
If you hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you are eligible for a Seniors Supplement.

Seniors Supplement is a non-taxable payment to assist you to pay regular household bills, such as energy,
rates, phone and motor vehicle registration fees.

Once you have provided your bank account details the Seniors Supplement will be paid automatically each
quarter.

For more information, see the Seniors Supplement factsheet.
Skills recognition
We can link you with services that will help you find out how the qualifications you gained overseas
compare to what is needed in Australia, and how to get your skills recognised in Australia.

Australian Education International—National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition

Provides information and services to help people have their overseas qualifications recognised in Australia.
For more information visit aei.gov.au or call 1300 363 079.

Assessment Subsidy for Overseas Trained Professionals

Helps with the cost of getting your overseas professional qualifications recognised in Australia. Funding is
provided for clinical examinations, knowledge tests and assessment of English language skills. For more
information visit aei.gov.au or call 1300 363 079.

Telephone Allowance
You may be able to get help with the costs of maintaining a phone or home internet service within Australia.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Telephone Allowance if you are under age pension age, have a phone, mobile phone
or fax machine connected in Australia in your or your partner’s name, and you:
• receive Parenting Payment (Single), Disability Support Pension (under 21 with no dependent children)

• have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work and are receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth
  Allowance (job seeker) or Parenting Payment (Partnered)

• are a single, principal carer of a dependent child under 16 years of age and receive Newstart Allowance or
  Youth Allowance, or

• are over 60 years of age (but under age pension age) and have been receiving Partner Allowance, Widow
  Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Sickness Allowance or Special Benefit
  for at least nine months.

How does it work?

Telephone Allowance is automatically paid each quarter with your regular income support payment.

A higher rate of Telephone Allowance is payable if you receive Disability Support Pension and you are
under 21 and without children if you or your partner have a home internet connection.

Utilities Allowance
Utilities Allowance is paid to assist with the cost of regular bills such as gas, electricity and water.

You may be eligible for Utilities Allowance if you are:
• under age pension age and receive Widow Allowance or Partner Allowance, or

• under 21 years of age, have no dependent children and receive Disability Support Pension.
Utilities Allowance is automatically paid each quarter with your regular payment. For more information
about extra assistance and eligibility, call 131 202 to speak to us in a language other than English.

Making a claim
The first step in claiming most payments is to register an Intent to Claim. You can ask a Customer Service
Officer if this applies to you. This lets us know you will be applying for a payment soon. You or someone
on your behalf may register your Intent to Claim online, in person or by phone.

You must lodge your claim with us within 14 days of registering your Intent to Claim. Your payment will
start from the date you first registered your Intent to Claim if you were eligible for payment at the time of
contact.

You should contact us as soon as possible if you have any difficulty lodging your claim within 14 days. In
some circumstances, the 14-day period may be extended.

Backdating to the registration of an Intent to Claim does not apply to all payments. Talk to us if you need
more information. Intent to Claim provisions do not apply to family assistance payments. If you are making
an Intent to Claim for Assistance for Isolated Children, you must lodge your claim with us within 13 weeks
of contacting us. If you are making an Intent to Claim for Crisis Payment you must register your Intent to
Claim within seven days of the event.

Proof of identity
When you make a claim for most of our payments or services, you need to prove who you are (proof of
identity). You may need to bring documents to an interview or answer questions about yourself to prove
who you are when contacting us by phone or on the internet. If you have any difficulty in obtaining or
providing identification documents you should contact us as soon as possible.

If you are a migrant and do not have documents that show your date of birth or the details of your arrival in
Australia, we may be able to check this information either from our own records or by asking you some
questions about how and when you came to Australia. We may check this information with the Department
of Immigration and Citizenship.

Residence requirements
To claim most Centrelink payments and services you must be an Australian resident and in Australia when
you claim.

To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia and be either:
• an Australian citizen

• a permanent visa holder, or

• a New Zealand passport holder who was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the two
  years immediately before that date, or was assessed as ’protected’ before 26 February 2004.

New Zealand citizens (who are not Australian citizens)

New Zealand passport holders residing in Australia who do not meet the above criteria may qualify for
certain concession cards after a waiting period and payments from us. However, New Zealand citizens
arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001 will generally need to apply for and be granted an Australian
permanent visa and complete a waiting period before they can access any other social security payments.
The Social Security Agreement between Australia and New Zealand may help some New Zealand citizens
to be paid Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment.

New Zealand passport holders who have lived in Australia continuously for at least 10 years since 26
February 2001 and hold a non-protected Special Category Visa (SCV) may be able to access a once only
payment of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance or Youth Allowance. If eligible, payment can be made
for a maximum continuous period of up to 6 months.

Temporary and Provisional Visa Holders

If you hold a temporary protection visa, temporary humanitarian visa, return pending visa or a similar
temporary visa, you may be able to receive family payments (including Parental Leave Pay), a low income
Health Care Card and Special Benefit immediately.

If you hold a provisional partner visa or interdependency visa you can receive family payments (including
Parental Leave Pay) immediately. You may also be able to receive Special Benefit and the low income
Health Care Card after a waiting period (some exceptions may apply).

If you hold a student temporary visa sponsored by the Australian Government you may be able to receive
some payments and/or services.

If you hold another temporary visa and are in hardship you may be able to receive child care assistance.

Waiting periods

For many customers there are waiting periods before you can receive certain payments or services.

Family payments such as Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity Immunisation Allowance,
Baby Bonus, Parental Leave Pay and Double Orphan Pension have no waiting period and can be claimed
immediately.

Allowances and payments such as Newstart Allowance, or Parenting Payment, generally have a 104-week
qualification or waiting period.

Other payments such as Age Pension and Disability Support Pension, generally have a 10-year
qualification period.

If you arrived in Australia on an Australian permanent refugee visa or some permanent humanitarian visas,
you do not have to wait and may claim a Centrelink payment immediately.
For more information on the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period and qualifying residence periods in
Australia that may apply to various payments and services see our other booklets on services and payments.
These are available by asking at a service centre.

Information you provide to us may enable us to access electronic records held by Australia’s immigration
department. These records will help us to verify your Australian residence on your behalf to assist with
your claim.
International social security agreements
Australia has international social security agreements with a number of countries. If you have lived in one of
these countries you may be able to count periods of residence in that country or contributions to that country’s
social security system to help you qualify for payments, such as Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.

Comparable foreign payment rules
If you are claiming or being paid a Centrelink payment, you may be required to claim a foreign pension or
benefit to which you may be eligible. You must tell us about any foreign income that you receive.

Definition of a partner
It is important that the Department of Human Services knows whether you are a single person or have a
partner. This is sometimes called being a ‘member of a couple’. Most payments will take into account the
combined income and assets of both members of a couple. Some payments have different rates depending
on whether you are single or have a partner. Some payments are only available to customers who do not
have a partner.

For the Department of Human Services purposes, a person is considered to be your partner if you and the person are
living together or usually living together and are:
• married, or

• in a registered relationship, or

• in a de facto relationship.

The Department of Human Services recognises opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

How do I get paid?

Your payments are usually paid fortnightly. You can choose which day best suits you. We deposit your
payment directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.

Assurance of Support
If you have arrived under an Assurance of Support, it means your assurer is required to support you in
Australia for two or 10 years, depending on your visa type. If you or your dependants claim certain
payments from us while covered by an Assurance of Support agreement, the assurer must repay the full
amount to the Government.

Your rights and responsibilities
It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a payment and to make the application.

Your rights
• You can expect us to treat you with respect and courtesy.

• You can ask for a free interpreter to explain things in your own language.
• You can have someone deal with us on your behalf.

• You can ask for a decision we make to be reviewed if you do not agree with it.

You must tell us if things change
Changes in your life can affect the amount of money we pay to you.

You need to tell us if:
• your relationship status changes; for example you become partnered, married, commence a registered
  relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex) or de facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex)

• you separate from your partner or your partner dies

• you or your partner enters a nursing home or correctional facility

• you change address or the amount of rent you pay changes

• you or your partner stop or start working or change the hours you work

• you or your partner start or stop studying or change the hours you study

• your or your partner’s income changes

• you or your partner have a baby or if children come into or leave your care

• you start to receive Child Support/maintenance, or the amount of Child Support/maintenance you get
  changes

• your child care arrangements change

• your child’s study arrangements change, and

• you or your partner leave Australia temporarily or permanently.

You need to let us know about any changes as soon as possible to make sure that you receive the correct
payment. You also need to let us know as soon as possible if you think any of your details may be incorrect.

If we pay you more money than you should get, you will have to pay it back. This is called a debt.

Avoid a debt
The best way to help avoid getting a debt is to:

• tell us of any changes to your circumstances straight away

• listen carefully and ask questions if details seem unclear when talking to a Customer Service Officer

• keep your payslips in a safe place as we could ask for them at a later date

• read all letters you receive from us, both front and back, and advise us if any details are incorrect

• read our magazines, publications and other information related to your payment

• contact us by phone, in person, on the web or in writing at any time.
Dealing with third parties
You may deal with a third party who is not a member of our staff. If you do, please remember that we have
not authorised any third parties to provide information or advice to you about payments and cannot be
responsible for the information these parties provide.

Getting someone to deal with us for you
Some of our customers have difficulty managing their business with us. We offer customers who are
receiving a payment and/or service from us several ways for someone to deal with us on their behalf.

Person Permitted to Enquire
You can arrange with us to authorise a person or organisation to make enquiries to us on your behalf. This is
referred to as a Person Permitted to Enquire. This is not a nominee arrangement.

Nominee arrangements
There are two types of nominee arrangements:

Correspondence nominee arrangements enable you to authorise a person or organisation to act on your
behalf when dealing with us. Correspondence nominees can:
• make enquiries on your behalf

• receive copies of your mail

• notify of changes to your circumstances

• complete forms and statements on your behalf

• provide us with documents relating to your circumstances, and

• attend appointments with you or on your behalf.

Payment nominee arrangements enable you to authorise a person or organisation to receive your payments
into an account maintained by the nominee. A payment nominee can be:
• given only minimal information regarding issues affecting your payments, and

• asked to supply records of how the money received was used for your benefit. The nominee must maintain
  relevant financial records (monetary penalties may apply if they fail to do so).

You can choose have a correspondence nominee, a payment nominee or both. You may choose to either
have one nominee for both correspondence and payment arrangements or have different nominees for each
type of nominee arrangement. If you are interested in this kind of arrangement, ask for the Authorising a
person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form.

A nominee is required to advise us of anything that might affect their ability to act as a nominee. Nominee
arrangements are subject to review. We are not obliged to accept a nominee arrangement unless it is in the
customer’s best interests. Nominees can register for Online Services to view or update information on your
behalf.
If you have a nominee appointed to manage your affairs, you cannot be appointed as a nominee for someone
else.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/nominees call 132 300 or ask at a service centre.

Your privacy
You have the right to have the personal information that we collect about you kept private. We are bound by
laws that limit who can look at information about you and when and to whom it can be given.

Reviews and appeals
If you are not happy with a decision made by the department you should contact us if you would like to have
it reviewed. We have a process for dealing with reviews and appeals.

Help in your language
The department provides a number of services to ensure customers from non-English speaking backgrounds
have the information they need about payments and services in their language.

Interpreters
We will provide an interpreter for you, if you need one, whenever you contact us. The interpreter may help
you in person or speak to you over the telephone. This service is free of charge.

Document translation
If you need an interpreter or documents translated for Centrelink business, we can arrange this for you
free of charge.

Multilingual Call Centre
You can ring the Multilingual Call Centre between 8.00 am to 5.00 pm local time on 131 202 to speak to a
staff member in languages other than English. This is not an interpreter service. You can have your
questions answered directly by the Customer Service Officer in your own language.

Translated Centrelink information
We have translated information (newsletters and factsheets) in a wide range of languages available on the
website at humanservices.gov.au – some information is available in audio format on request from your
local service centre.

We regularly broadcast information in a range of languages on SBS and community radio. Short articles also
appear regularly in major ethnic newspapers.

Letters
Almost all the letters we send you will be in English. If you do not understand these letters, call the
Multilingual Call Centre on 131 202 and we will explain the letter to you in your language.
Translated Medicare information
We have translated information kits containing information on Medicare’s main health programs. These are
available at humanservices.gov.au

More information
Income Management
Income Management is a way to help you manage your money. It means that part of your Centrelink and/or
Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments will be used to pay for things you and your family need. It
applies only in selected locations.

Under Income Management your payments will not reduce but the way you receive them will change.

Your income managed money can be used for priority items such as food, rent, utilities and clothing. The
rest of your regular fortnightly payments will be paid to you in the usual way.

You can spend your income managed money by using the BasicsCard, or we can organise direct payments to
organisations such as stores, landlords or utility providers.

Voluntary Income Management

If you are on a relevant Centrelink and/or Department of Veterans’ Affairs payment and live in a selected
location, you can choose to have your payments income managed.

To find out if your payments can be income managed you will need to talk to us. Once you sign up you will
have to stay on it for at least 13 weeks. After that you can stop whenever you like.

For more information about Income Management visit humanservices.gov.au/incomemanagement call the
Income Management Line on 132 594 or ask at our service centre.

Centrepay
Centrepay can make it easier for you to pay your bills. Centrepay is a free bill paying service offered to
customers receiving regular payments from us. Through Centrepay you can choose to pay bills by having a
regular amount deducted from your Centrelink payment.

These deductions are forwarded directly to participating organisations as full or part payment for services.
Participation is entirely voluntary and you can choose to start, stop or change your Centrepay deductions at
any time.

Centrepay can help you pay regular bills and expenses like:
• rent

• telephone

• electricity, gas, water

• medical services and equipment

• food
• child care

• council rates

• ambulance costs

• home care services

• Indigenous Business Australia loan repayments

• rental of household goods

• no-interest loans

• court fines or infringements, and

• school fees.

Centrepay has thousands of participating organisations. To find out if an organisation is registered with
Centrepay contact us or speak to the organisation you would like to pay.

For more information about Centrepay see the Manage your bills for free—Centrepay brochure. This is
available by visiting humanservices.gov.au/centrepay or asking at a service centre.

Rent Deduction Scheme
If you pay rent to a state or territory housing authority you can choose to have your rent taken automatically
from your Centrelink payment and sent directly to your housing authority.

The Rent Deduction Scheme is a service provided by us in partnership with state and territory housing
authorities.

This service is free of charge and you can apply to join or withdraw from the service at any time. To join the
Rent Deduction Scheme you need to contact your local housing authority and ask for a deduction form. To
withdraw from the Scheme you need to contact your local housing authority or us.

For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/rentdeduction or ask at a service centre.

Specialist staff
We have specialist staff and services to help you during different times in your life.

Multicultural Service Officers

Provide a link between migrant and refugee communities to give information and feedback on services
and initiatives. For more information ask at a service centre.

Social workers

Social workers can assist you during difficult times by providing personal counselling, support and
information. You can talk to a social worker about domestic and family violence, homelessness, relationship
issues, loss and bereavement or other personal concerns.
Social workers can refer you to other services and programs such as housing, health, emergency relief and
legal support.

To speak with a Social Worker, contact your local service centre or call 131 794.

Centrelink Community Officers

Assist you to use our services and other community services if you are homeless or at risk. For more
information ask at a service centre.

Financial Information Service Officers

Help you make informed decisions about investment and financial issues. This service is free, confidential,
and independent. For more information call 132 300.

International Services

Helps you if you are planning to visit or live in a country other than Australia, or have previously lived in a
country other than Australia, with information about the services and payments you may be eligible for. For
more information call 131 673.

Agents

Provide a face-to-face information service, as well as a computer and printer for you to conduct your
business. For more information visit humanservices.gov.au/accesspoint or call 132 316.

Access Points

Provide free self-help facilities in rural and remote community locations. For more information visit
humanservices.gov.au/accesspoint or call 132 316.

Senior Customer Service Officers

Assist parents and people with disabilities and, where appropriate, assist them to engage and participate in
the workforce. For more information call 132 717.

How to contact us
For more information about payments and services, visit humanservicesgov.au

You can also contact us on the following numbers.

By phone

To speak to us in languages other than English        131 202

Older Australians      132 300
Seniors
Needing help after someone has died
About to retire or in retirement
Disability and carers 132 717
Illness and injury
Caring for someone

Employment Services            132 850
Looking for work (21 and over)
Farmer, self-employed or rural Australian?
Needing help in a crisis?
Recently moved to Australia

Families and parents 136 150
Guardian

Youth and Students 132 490
Looking for work (under 21)
Youth Allowance
Austudy
Pensioner Education Supplement

Australian Government Services
Fraud Tip-off Line 131 524

International Services         131 673
Outside of Australia +61 3 6222 3455

For information about claiming a payment from a country other than Australia and about claiming or
receiving an Australian payment while outside Australia

Country calling from           Free call phone number

Austria 0800 295 165

Canada1888 2557 493

China – North*         10 800 6100 427

China – South 10 800 2611 309

Denmark        8088 3556

Germany        0800 1802 482

Greece 0080 0611 26209

India 000 800 61 01098

Indonesia      001 803 61 035

Italy   800 781 977
Republic of Korea     003 081 32326

The Netherlands       0800 0224 364

New Zealand 0800 441 248

Philippines   1800 1611 0046

Poland 00 800 6111 220

Portugal      800 861 122

Singapore     800 6167 015

Spain 900 951 547

Thailand      001 800 611 4136

Turkey 00 800 6190 5703

United Arab Emirates 800 061 04319

United Kingdom        0800 1695 865

The United States of America 1866 3433 086

*China (North) includes the provinces of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang,
Liaoning, Jilin, Shandong and Henan. All other provinces are considered to be China (South) for this
purpose. This free call may not be available from every location within the country, and may not be free
from mobile phones or public phones.

Customer Relations Freecall™ 1800 050 004
Suggestions, complaints or compliments

Financial Information Service seminar bookings 136 357

Foreign Income
Exchange Line         Freecall™ 1800 050 041
If you get income from a country other than Australia and want to know the exchange rate that has been
applied to that income.

TTY* Customer Relations      Freecall™ 1800 000 567

TTY* Enquiries        Freecall™ 1800 810 586
*TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. A TTY phone is required to
use this service.

Note: calls from your home phone to ‘13’ numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at a fixed rate.
That rate may vary from the price of a local call and may also vary between telephone service providers.
Calls to ‘1800’ numbers from your home phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones may be timed
and charged at a higher rate.
In person

When you visit a service centre you will be referred to an appropriate Customer Service Officer.
Appointments can also be arranged. If you live in a rural or remote area, we have an extensive network of
Agents and Access Points that may also be able to assist you.

For more information call 132 316 or ask at a service centre.

In writing

Our contact address is on every letter we send you.

Customer postal address

Write to:     Centrelink Payments
       Reply Paid 7800
       Canberra BC ACT 2610

Centrelink Self Service
Centrelink Self Service is a quick and convenient way to report, update or view your personal details
without having to speak to a Customer Service Officer or visit a service centre.

Online Services—are secure, convenient and protect your privacy. Some of the options that make it easier
for you to do business with us:
• report income, Activity Test/participation requirements and changes to your circumstances

• view your payment history and check when and how you next payment will be

• apply for an Advance Payment

• print an Income Statement, Rent Certificate or Reporting Statement

• update contact details, bank account details and study details

• view a summary of your current income and assets

• view, add, change or cancel deductions

• check appointment details and reporting dates, and

• claim for Age Pension, student payments and family assistance payments.

Phone Self Service—provides you with a convenient way to do some of your business:
• call 136 240—to access a range of phone services

• call 133 276—(13 EARN)—to report income, Activity Test/participation requirements and changes to
  your circumstances.

For more information about reporting requirements visit humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices

Nominee access to Online Services—gives nominees the choice to do business on behalf of a customer
they are a nominee for, using Online Services.
Online Letters—gives you the choice to view some letters from us online rather than having them sent to
your postal address.

Electronic Message Reminder—is a free personalised reminder service that sends an SMS text message or
email to remind you about appointments and other messages.

For more information about Centrelink Self Service visit humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices

Medicare Online Services
Medicare Online Services provide you with an extra way to view, update and request information and
services from us.

You can register for Online Services at humanservices.gov.au/onlineservices or at your local service centre
.

Online Services is useful if you can’t get to a service centre or just prefer to do your business online.

Once registered for Online Services, you can:
• lodge some claims online

• request a replacement or duplicate Medicare card—only two replacement Medicare cards can be
  requested online per year

• register and update your bank account details—claim at your doctor’s and get your Medicare benefit paid
  into your bank account

• update your personal details—such as contact details, preferred language, Indigenous status and Medicare
  card address

• view, print and save your Medicare claims history statement—for up to 12 months from the date of the
  request

• view your Medicare Safety Net balance

• view, print and save your Medicare benefit tax statement—previous and current financial years available

• view your Individual Healthcare Identifier number history

• view and update your Individual Healthcare Identifier number alternate names

• view your Care Plan access history

• view your organ donor registration details, and

• view your child’s immunisation history statement—a statement of your child’s first seven years is
  available to parents of children aged up to 14 years.

Disclaimer
The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to payments and services. It is your
responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a payment and to make an application, with regard to your
particular circumstances.
This information is accurate as at March 2012. If you use this publication after that date, please check with
us that the details are current.

Giving you options
The Department of Human Services delivers payments and services on behalf of a number of government
departments, including:

• the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

• the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

• the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and

• the Department of Health and Ageing.

RM013.1203

								
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