Are you missing out? A guide to government entitlements

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The chances are you dutifully file your tax returns every year but are you making the most of your government entitlements? In this article, we guide you through some key entitlements available for families.

Are you confused about your government entitlements? The good news is the recent overhaul of the Department of Human services no longer means lengthy waits in government office queues or listening to hold music while trying to organise your childcare rebate.

With automated payments and the user-friendly MyGov website, there has never been a better time to take a fresh look at your entitlements.

The birth of a child

Taking time out to care for a newborn can be expensive. However, since January 2011 primary carers now have access to government-funded parental leave payments, which are currently made for up to 18 weeks. There is also a 2-week payment available to eligible dads or partners assisting with a newborn.

Assistance with childcare

To encourage parents with young children to remain in the workforce, there are some great benefits on offer to working parents.

If you have children attending approved childcare and meet the income test (currently below $160,308 for families with two children), you may be entitled to the Child Care Benefit to help with the cost of daycare, vacation care or before and after-school care.

Higher income families may still claim the Child Care Rebate, which covers up to 50% of out of pocket childcare expenses, up to an annual limit of $7,500.

Assistance for low to medium income families

Single parents and low to medium-income families can take advantage of a range of tax breaks and payments that can make raising a family more affordable. These include:

  • The Single Income Family Supplement, which provides an annual payment of up to $300 to help eligible households. The main income earner must earn between $68,000 and $150,000 and any secondary income earner below $18,000.
  • The Parenting Payment for single parents with children under 8 or parents with partners with children under 6 who meet certain income tests.
  • Family Tax Benefit for lower income families with dependent children under 20 (which includes grandparents assisting with childcare).

Summary

We have outlined just a few of the benefits that can help with the cost of raising a family. To find out more about your entitlements, visit the Department of Human Services website.

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