This is an overview of Centrelink payments to help single mothers start navigating the system.
Services Australia through Centrelink, is responsible for administering income support and emergency payments on behalf of the Australian government.
Income support payments
These are the most common payments single mother families may be entitled to:
⦁ Family Tax Benefit helps Australian families, up to a certain income level, with the costs of raising children. These benefits are regularly reviewed.
Family Tax Benefit (FTB) is a payment that helps eligible families with the cost of raising children. FTB Part A is paid per child and the amount paid is based on the family’s circumstances. FTB Part B is paid per family and gives extra help to single parents and some couple families with one main income.
⦁ Parenting Payment Single (PPS) is an income support payment available to single parents and other principal carers who have sole or primary responsibility for the care of a young child. These parents may be eligible for PPS until their youngest child turns 14 (eligibility depends on income and other circumstances). Many parents use this time to study, train or prepare themselves for work. Once the youngest child turns 14, single parents may be eligible for JobSeeker or some other payment depending on their circumstances.
⦁ JobSeeker Principal Carer is a payment for single parents whose youngest child is between 8 and under 16 years of age. Parents on this payment are required to spend 15 hours per week on an approved mutual obligation activity.
Depending on your personal situation, you may be eligible for other payments or benefits such as the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment or others. In some cases, there may be exemptions you can receive in order to make a claim. There are quite a number of different payments and exemptions so it is worth trying to find all the payments for which you may qualify
Contact Centrelink and make an appointment with one of their Social Workers or contact CSMC if you need assistance.
Links and phone numbers
Budgeting and planning can be difficult and it can feel impossible when Centrelink reduces or stops your payments, sometimes with little explanation.
Centrelink complaints line: 1800 132 468
For assistance independent of DHS call our CSMC Support Line on 03 9654 0622 or 1300 552 511
Social Security Rights Vic: Melbourne 03 9481 0355; Geelong 03 5221 4744; Rural 1800 094 164
Received a debt letter?
A new automated system is matching Centrelink with the Australian Tax Office and looking for any anomalies. If they find one, a letter is sent asks the person to provide further information. These letters must be taken seriously because they are often followed by one from the debt collectors. National Welfare Rights fact sheets are updated as new information is released.
If you need help with this or any other Centrelink payment issue, you can contact Social Security Rights Victoria on Melbourne 03 9481 0355 or rural 1800 094 164.
Victorian Legal Aid has information online and can be called on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5.15pm.