Strengthening immunisation for children—frequently asked questions

What are the changes?

From 1 July 2012:

  • Requirements for Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement include the new immunisation checkpoint at age one.
  • Maternity Immunisation Allowance ceases.

From 1 July 2013:

  • New combination vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (‘chickenpox’) for children aged 18 months added to the National Immunisation Program.
  • Meningococcal C, pneumococcal and varicella (‘chickenpox’) vaccines will be included in the list of immunisations that are needed for a child to be assessed as immunised. 

What do families need to do to meet the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?

Parents will need to have had their children vaccinated during the financial years that each child turns one, two and five years of age to obtain the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement for that period.

To meet the immunisation requirements, children will need to be immunised, be on a recognised immunisation catch up schedule, or have an approved exemption.

The list of vaccines required to be immunised is below.


From 1 July 2012

From 1 July 2013

Age

Disease immunised against

Age

Disease immunised against

2 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B

2 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
Pneumococcal

4 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B

4 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
Pneumococcal

6 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 12 months)

6 months

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 12 months)
Pneumococcal

12 months

Measles
Mumps
Rubella
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 6 months)

12 months

Measles
Mumps
Rubella
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 6 months)
Meningococcal C

4 years

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Measles
Mumps
Rubella

18 months

Measles
Mumps
Rubella
Varicella
Pneumococcal*

 

 

4 years

Diphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio

*Additional dose required at 18 months when Synflorix vaccine used in the primary course.

The Australian Government Department of Human Services will check whether a child is assessed by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register as being  immunised (or has an approved exemption) at the end of the financial year when a family’s payments are balanced. This happens after parents lodge their tax returns.

If the supplement is withheld because immunisation requirements have not been met, parents have a timeframe of two years, from the end of the financial year in which the child turned one, two or five, to meet the requirements.

What exemptions will be available for the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?

While the Government considers that immunisation is an important health measure for children and families, existing exemptions will continue to be available. This means that families will still be able to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.

A child may have a temporary or permanent exemption if a recognised immunisation provider determines that receiving the vaccine is medically contraindicated. A child may also receive an exemption from the immunisation requirements if a recognised immunisation provider indicates that the parent has a conscientious objection to immunising their child.

These exemptions will also continue for Child Care Benefit.

Who is eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A?

Family Tax Benefit Part A assists families with the cost of raising children and is paid per child.

Family Tax Benefit Part A can be paid to a parent, guardian, carer (including foster carer), eligible grandparent or approved care organisation.

The amount of Family Tax Benefit Part A depends on:

  • a family’s income over the financial year
  • the ages and number of children in a family
  • the level of care of the children
  • whether the children were a multiple birth
  • whether the family pays private rent
  • whether child support is received.

Family Tax Benefit Part A includes a supplement of up to $726.35, which is paid for each child after the end of the financial year when payments are balanced. This happens after parents lodge their tax returns. The supplement may be used to top-up the entitlement or offset an overpayment. Families will need to meet the new immunisation requirements in order to receive the supplement in respect of their children aged one, two and five.

Families are not entitled to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement if parents fail to lodge income tax returns, or inform the Australian Government Department of Human Services that they are not required to lodge, within two years after the financial year in which the parents received Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Further information is available from http://www.humanservices.gov.au/families

When will families stop receiving Maternity Immunisation Allowance payments?

The Maternity Immunisation Allowance will cease on 1 July 2012.

Currently, the Maternity Immunisation Allowance is paid when a child was immunised between 18 and 24 months of age and between four and five years of age.

If a child between these ages is immunised prior to 1 July 2012, a parent may be eligible for Maternity Immunisation Allowance. For most of these parents, claims lodged from 1 July 2012 will continue to be accepted and paid if they lodge their claims by the time their child reaches the relevant age.

What do families need to do?

The Australian Government will write to all families who are affected to explain the changes, and what immunisations their children need.

Families then need to make sure their children receive all the listed immunisations.

The Australian Government Department of Human Services will check whether a child is assessed by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register as being  immunised (or has an approved exemption) at the end of the financial year when a family’s payments are reconciled and the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement is provided. This happens after parents lodge their tax returns.

Where is more information about the changes to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement and the Maternity Immunisation Allowance?

For more information about the changes to the payments, visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/families

Where is more information about immunisation?

For more information about the Immunise Australia Program and the reforms to immunisation arrangements visit www.immunise.health.gov.au

Where is information about family assistance and payments?

For more information about Australian Government payments and assistance for families visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/families

Content Updated: 10 August 2012