Supporting Families with Teenagers – changes to family assistance

On 1 January 2012, the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A increased for eligible families with dependent 16 to 19 year olds in full-time secondary study. The maximum rate increased by over $160 per child per fortnight. This ended the drop in assistance when a child turned 16 and recognised that the cost of raising children does not go down as children get older.  While a child is in full-time secondary study, their income will not affect the rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A their parent or carer may receive.

From 1 July 2012, the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for dependant 16 to 19 year olds in full-time secondary study increased to $220.64 per child, per fortnight.

To receive more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A, families with children aged 16 to 18 years from a previous relationship are also required to provide child support details.

If there is a reason why a child is unable to study, parents or carers should contact the Department of Human Services.

Other benefits available

Families may also be eligible to receive Rent Assistance where they have a child aged 16 to 19 years who is in full-time secondary study and families can continue to receive Family Tax Benefit Part B and/or Multiple Birth Allowance for children in full-time secondary study.

New eligibility rules from 1 January 2013

From 1 January 2013, new eligibility rules for Family Tax Benefit Part A will come into effect.  This means that Family Tax Benefit Part A will only be payable to eligible families with:

  • children aged 0 to 15
  • full-time secondary students aged 16 to 19 years (until the end of the calendar year they turn 19); and
  • children aged 16 and 17 years who have completed their Year 12 (or equivalent) qualification (payable up to the child’s 18th birthday).

These changes mean that family assistance continues to be the primary form of government support for children until they finish their final year of secondary education.  Post-secondary students will be supported through the student income support system.

More information

Families not currently receiving Family Tax Benefit for their older teenager are encouraged to use the online Family Tax Benefit-Youth Allowance Comparison Estimator to help work out which payment best suits their circumstances.

Content Updated: 19 November 2013