5 ways Centrelink benefits will change for Australian families in 2017
Big changes to Centrelink benefits are expected to affect six million Australians in 2017.
As part of budget savings, Australian government has brought about significant changes to some payments like family tax benefits, schoolkids bonus, parental leave pay, childcare assistance and other payments which either have come into force from 1st Jan 2017 or will come into force in coming months.
A report by Kidspot states a middle income working family with kids at school will lose thousands of dollars.
Here are the major 4 changes expected to affect Australian families in 2017:
1) Schoolkids Bonus is axed
The government axed the $4.5 billion Schoolkids Bonus (SKB) scheme in 2016.
This means families with household incomes under $100,000 will have to go without the two big SKB lump sum payments in 2017.
In 2016, under SKB scheme, parents of primary school aged child were paid $430 a year and $856 per year for their high school aged child.
For a family with two kids, this means losing up to $1,712 this year.
This cut will hurt more than six million Australians.
2) Childcare costs to rise by 5%
If you send your child to childcare, the cost of childcare will rise by about five per cent in 2017 according to the Commonwealth Department of Education.
While cost is going up each year, Centrelink’s rebate which repays 50 % out-of-pocket child care costs has been capped at $7,500 per family per year since 2009.
3) Parental Leave Pay is now assessed as income
Families with babies born after 1 October 2016 will now have their Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay as income for Centrelink purposes. This could translate into Family Tax Benefits going down or taken away entirely.
This will affect working families with household incomes under $150,000.
4) Family Tax Benefit supplement changes
There are two types of Family Tax Benefit — Part A and Part B.
These benefits are paid lump sum at the end-of-financial-year. Kidspot writes families with a combined household income over $80,000 per year will lose their FTB Part A supplement of up to $726 per child and as a result affect your tax return.
5) Public dental-health benefits reduced
Public dental-health services for kids will be affected with a new federal funding scheme coming into effect. The benefits available to children will be reduced from $1,000 to $700.
Australian Dental Association vice president Carmelo Bonanno says the impacts could be long-lasting.
"There'll be 20 per cent of kids who will potentially miss out on having their full amount of treatment provided. We know that, especially later in life, chronic dental disease can contribute to other medical issues."