A range of Centrelink payments, administered through the Department of Human Services, are available to support families with their work and family responsibilities. Family Assistance payments, such as the Family Tax Benefit (FTB), assist with the everyday costs of raising children. They provide additional financial assistance to income support recipients (a specific category of social security payments that serve as a primary source of income) and others in need of support.

This page focuses on individuals receiving the main family assistance payments provided to families to assist with the cost of raising children. For more information, see Family Tax Benefit. It does not include other payments for parents, such as the parenting payment that provides support for principal carers because of their reduced capacity to support themselves while caring for young children (see Unemployment and parenting income support payments). Information on government expenditure on these payments is covered in Welfare expenditure.

Data for this page are sourced from the Department of Human Services administrative data.

As at 29 June 2018, 1.4 million Australians were receiving FTB payments, supporting 2.8 million children. Of these recipients:

  • 77% (1.1 million) received FTB Part A and Part B
  • 22% (311,000) received FTB Part A only and 1.2% (16,800) Part B only.

Family Tax Benefit

FTB has 2 parts:

  • FTB Part A is a per child payment to assist with the cost of raising children (dependent child aged 0–15, or 16–19 in full-time secondary study). A supplement may be paid at the end of the financial year for families with an adjusted taxable income of $80,000 or less. Part A is income tested on family income.
  • FTB Part B is a per family payment to single parents, non-parent carers, grandparent carers and families with one main income to assist with the cost of raising children. A supplement may be paid at the end of the financial year. Part B is income tested, with single parent families’ automatically receiving maximum payment if their income is less than $100,000 (as at 1 July 2015, before that date the income was less than $150,000).

Families can receive their FTB entitlement through fortnightly instalments or by lodging a lump sum claim at the end of the financial year.

The data on this page has been largely sourced from fortnightly instalment data, given that nearly all FTB recipients (93% in 2013–14) receive instalment payments (DSS 2018c). As such, it does not include data on recipients who choose to receive FTB as a lump sum.

Trends

Overall, the number of FTB recipients declined between June 2011 and June 2018 (DSS 2018b). For FTB:

  • Part A, the number of recipients declined steadily from 1.6 million in 2011 to 1.4 million in 2018 (13% decline)
  • Part B, the number of recipients remained relatively steady between 2011 and 2014 (around 1.4 million). The number then declined by 16% between 2015 and 2018 (1.3 million to 1.1 million) (Figure 1).

There was also a downward trend in the number of Australian families with children aged 16 or under receiving FTB, from 63% to 59% for Part A and 56% to 50% for Part B between 2013–14 and 2015–16 (DSS 2018a).

Age

Almost 1 in 2 FTB children (47%) were of primary school age at June 2018. Almost 3 in 10 FTB children were of early childhood age (28%) and around 1 in 4 were of secondary school age (16% of lower secondary age and 10% of senior secondary age).

FTB families receiving income support

Almost half (44% or 629,300) of FTB recipients (Part A or Part B) were receiving income support payments as at June 2018. FTB Part B recipients were more likely to be receiving income support payments than FTB Part A recipients (51% compared with 44%). Of the FTB recipients receiving income support:

  • almost half (47%) received Parenting Payment Single (241,000) or Parenting Payment Partnered (53,000)
  • one-quarter (26% or 162,800) received Newstart Allowance
  • one-fifth (22%) received Disability Support Pension (72,900) or Carer Payment (67,800).

Since 2012, the proportion of FTB recipients receiving income support payments has increased, from 38% in June 2012 to 44% in June 2018.

Where do I go for more information?

For more information on Centrelink payments and data, see:

References

DSS (Department of Social Services) 2018a. Department of Social Services annual report 2017–2018. Viewed 18 January 2019.

DSS 2018b. DSS Payment Demographics Data. Viewed 19 March 2019.

DSS 2018c. Family Tax Benefit payment trends and profile report June 2016. Viewed 19 March 2019.

Alternative text for figures

Figure 1: Number of recipients receiving Family Tax Benefit, 2011 to 2018

The number of Australians receiving FTB Part A steadily declined from 1.6 million in 2011 to 1.4 million in 2018. The number receiving FTB Part A remained steady between 2011 and 2014 at 1.4 million, then declining to 1.1 million in 2018.