Financial Assistance

As a parent/carer of a premature or sick newborn you may be facing an increased financial burden since your baby’s birth. Some parents/carers incur significant costs associated with accommodation or transport while their baby is in hospital and others are simply not prepared for the financial implications of finishing work earlier than anticipated.

Premature and sick newborns can be discharged from hospital with ongoing medical conditions which require a great deal of care and sometimes a child may develop a disability because of their prematurity.Centrelink will be able to assist you with information about what benefits you may be entitled to. Some families may receive the non income/assets tested Carer Allowance, Carer Payment or the additional payments available for multiple births.

Paid Parental Leave

Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme, introduced on 1 January 2011, provides families with that reassurance—giving mums time to recover from the birth and have time at home with their baby during the vital early months of social and cognitive development.

  • Up to 18 weeks pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently about $606 a week before tax).
  • Usually claimed by the mother but can be transferred to the other parent if they are eligible.
  • Can be taken anytime in the first year after the birth or adoption.
  • Can be taken before, after or at the same time as employer-provided paid or unpaid leave.
  • Parents can choose between the Baby Bonus and Paid Parental Leave.
  • Most mothers receive government-funded Paid Parental Leave through their employers. Others will receive it from Centrelink.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Paid Parental Leave, a parent must:

  • be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
  • be an Australian resident
  • meet the Paid Parental Leave work test:
  • have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of the child
  • have 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
  • have an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year
  • be on leave or not working from the time they become their child’s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period.

Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers may be eligible.

Lodging a claim

Claims for Paid Parental Leave can be lodged up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption or within 12 months following birth or adoption.

More information

For more information about Paid Parental Leave, Dad and Partner Pay and other forms of Australian Government assistance for families, visit www.humanservices.gov.au or call 13 61 50.

Dad and Partner Pay

Dad and Partner Pay is a new payment under the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme. It is available to eligible working dads or partners (including adopting parents and same-sex couples) who care for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013. It provides you with up to two weeks of government-funded pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently about $606 per week before tax).

Eligibility

You may be eligible if you work on a full-time, part-time, casual, contract or seasonal basis,
are self-employed, or work in a family business and you:

  • Are caring for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013
  • Are an Australian resident
  • Have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the start date of your Dad and Partner Pay
  • Have 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 consecutive working days
  • Have an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year
  • Are on unpaid leave or not working during the Dad and Partner Pay period.

How to apply

You can lodge a claim up to three months before or within 12 months after your child’s birth or adoption. It can be taken any time in the first year after birth or adoption.  Apply online at www.australia.gov.au/dadandpartnerpay or by calling 136 150.

More information

For more information about Paid Parental Leave, Dad and Partner Pay and other forms of Australian Government assistance for families, visit www.humanservices.gov.au or call 13 61 50.

Carer Allowance

Depending on the needs of your child you may be eligible to receive Carers Allowance from Centrelink. This is a supplementary payment that may be available to a parent/carer who provides daily care and attention to a child (under 16 years) with a disability or medical condition. Carers Allowance is not subject to an income and assets test.

The application consists of a medical report that needs to be completed and signed by your GP or Paediatrician. The report is a detailed checklist of the level at which your child is functioning. If you have other professionals involved in your child’s care such as an Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist they can also provide supporting documentation as to your child’s level of functioning.

Eligibility

You may receive Carer Allowance (child) if you:

  • are looking after a child with a disability or medical condition who needs a lot of additional care and attention on a daily basis, or
  • you care for 2 children with disabilities and the children do not individually qualify you for Carer Allowance (child), but together create a substantial caring responsibility, and
  • you live with the child (children) you are caring for.

When to claim

You should register your intent to claim Carer Allowance (child) as soon as possible. In some circumstances, you may qualify for back payment of Carer Allowance (child) for up to 12 weeks before you lodge your claim. Application forms are available from Centrelink or from their website.

More Information

Please use the above information as a guide only. For more information please contact Centrelink Disability, Sickness and Carers on 13 2717 or visit www.centrelink.gov.au

Carer Payment

If a child’s disability or medical condition is considered “severe” a parent/carer may qualify for a Carers Payment in addition to the Carers Allowance. This income support payment is available if you are unable to support yourself through paid employment while you are providing care to a child (under 16 years).If you qualify for Carer Payment (child) you will generally receive Carer Allowance (child) automatically. Carer payment is subject to income and assets tests.

The application consists of a medical report that needs to be completed and signed by your GP or Paediatrician. The report is a detailed checklist of the level at which your child is functioning, and if you have other professionals involved in your child’s care such as an Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist they can also provide supporting documentation as to your child’s level of functioning.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for Carer Payment (child) if you provide constant care in the home of the child you care for, and they are:

  • a single child under 16 years of age with a severe disability or a severe medical condition, or
  • 2–4 children under 16 years of age with a disability or medical condition whose combined care needs are equal to that of a single child aged under 16 with a severe disability or severe medical condition, or
  • 1–2 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
  • 2 or more children under 16 years of age with a severe disability or a severe medical condition in an exchanged care arrangement.

When to Claim

You should register your intent to claim Carer Payment (child) as soon as possible.

More Information

Please use the above information as a guide only. For more information please contact Centrelink Disability, Sickness and Carers on 13 2717 or visit www.centrelink.gov.au

Multiple Birth Allowance

Is an extra payment to help you if you have a multiple birth.   

Eligibility

You can get Multiple Birth Allowance if you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A for three or more children who are born during the same birth. Multiple Birth Allowance can be paid:

  • until the children are 16 years of age, or
  • until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18 years of age if at least three of the children are in full time study

When to claim

You do not need to make a separate claim for Multiple Birth Allowance.  It will be paid as part of your Family Tax Benefit. If you are eligible and are not already receiving Multiple Birth Allowance as part of your Family Tax Benefit, you should contact the Family Assistance Office.

More Information

Please use the above information as a guide only. For more information please contact the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150 or visit www.familyassist.gov.au

Enhanced Primary Care

Medicare benefits are available for certain services provided by eligible allied health professionals to people with chronic conditions and complex care needs that is being managed by your GP under an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan.

Who is eligible and how to apply

You may then be able to claim if your child has a chronic medical condition which is one that has been (or is likely to be) present for six (6) months or longer. 

Your GP determines if your child is eligible and is responsible for preparing an Enhanced Primary Care Plan (EPC Plan). Your child will undergo an assessment to establish that at least two allied health professionals such as an Occupational Therapist, Audiologist, Physiotherapist, Child Psychologist etc is required.

What do you receive?

Once your child has an EPC plan, they can be referred for up to five (5) allied health services each calendar year. Your GP will decide whether referrals should be made for these services.

The five services can be provided by a single allied health professional or shared across different professionals. You can request a referral to an allied health professional you know, or your GP can recommend one. Allied health professionals need to meet specific eligibility criteria and be registered with Medicare Australia.

Eligible allied health professionals:

  • Aboriginal health workers
  • audiologists
  • chiropractors
  • diabetes educators
  • dieticians
  • exercise physiologists
  • mental health workers
  • occupational therapists
  • osteopaths
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists
  • psychologists
  • speech pathologists

Medicare benefits are also available for a range of other allied health services for certain patients. Your child may be eligible if they:

  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • have type 2 diabetes
  • have an assessed mental disorder
  • have autism or any other pervasive developmental disorder

Claiming

Allied health professionals are free to set the level of their fees. If your allied health provider bulk bills, there will be no charge for these services. If not, you will be charged a fee and you can claim the rebate from Medicare. Out-of-pocket expenses for these services count towards the extended Medicare safety net. If you are unsure, or lose track of how many allied health services you have claimed in a calendar year, you can check with Medicare Australia on 132 011.

More information

Please use the above information as a guide only. For more information on Medicare rebates available for allied health services please consult your GP, Medicare or go to the Department of Health and Aging website www.health.gov.au  

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