Social Security Payments for People Caring for Children, 1912-2008: a chronology - tables 5-8

Updated 29 January 2009

Dale Daniels
Social Policy Section


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Mother's/Guardian's Allowance 1963 to 2000

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Social Service Act 1963 No. 46 of 1963)

1963

From September Mother's Allowance of two pounds for Class A widow pensioners was introduced.

Menzies, Lib-CP

1965

From October Guardian's Allowance of two ponds per week was introduced for widowers and other unmarried pensioners with one or more children under 16 years. he upper age limit for student children was set at 21 years, in line with child endowment. The allowance was subject to the pension means test.

 

1969

From September

  • The Guardian's Allowance was increased to $6 per week where the recipient had a child under six years of age or an invalid child requiring full-time are.
  • Mother's Allowance was also increased to $6 per week for a widow with a child under six years of age or an invalid child requiring full-time cae.

Gorton, Lib-CP

1973

From March the age limit of 21 years was removed for payment of Guardian's Allowance.

Whitlam, ALP

1974

From November eligibility for Mother's Allowance was extended to Class B widow pensioners with a child, ot being a child of her own or a child who entered her care before se became a widow, thus placing them in the same position as Class A widow pensioners.

 

1983

From December payment of Mother's/Guardian's Allowance (MGA) was extended to a married pensioner who was left with the care of children where the spouse was admitted toa hospitalor nursing home on a basis likely to be permanent.

Hawke, ALP

1984

From May

  • MGA was increased to a uniform $8 per week for all recipients.
  • Single unemployment and sickness beneficiaries with children became eligible for MGA.
 

1990

From January MGA became subject to yearly indexation in line with movements in the CPI for the preceding financial year.

 

1993

From January MGA was paid as an addition to Additional Family Payment (AFP) rather than as an addition to pension or benefit. Sole parents receiving AFP but not Sole Parent Pension (SPP) would be entitled to MGA.

Keating, ALP

1996

From September rate of MGA was increased by $4 per fortnight above the normal indexation rise.

Howard, Lib-NP

2000

From July MGA was absorbed into the new Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTBB).

 

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Table 5: Maximum Rate of Mother's/Guardian's Allowance, 1963 to 2000

Date of effect

Rate
($ per week)

08.10.63

4.00

30.09.69

(a)4.00

06.11.80

(a)6.00

01.11.84
10.00

01.05.86

12.00

01.01.90

12.90

01.01.91

13.90

01.01.92

14.35

01.01.93

14.50

01.01.94

14.80

01.01.95

15.05

01.01.96

15.75

12.09.96

17.75

01.01.97

18.30

01.01.98

18.35

01.01.99

18.50

01.01.00

18.70

Note:
(a) The rate was $2.00 higher for children under 6 years of age or invalid children.

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Double Orphan's Pension from 1973

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Social Services Act (No 4) 197 (No. 103 of 1973)

1973

From October Double Orphan's Pension (DOP) was introduced at the rate of $10 per week for children under 16 years of age or full-time dependent students under 21 yars of age, where both parents were dead, or where one parent was dead and the whereabouts of the other parent was unknown. The benefit was paid as an addition to Child Endowment (CE). The benefit was not subject to an income test.

Whitlam, ALP

1975

From October DOP became payable in respect of a child whose sole surviving parent or adoptive parent had been gaoled for a period of 10 or more years or who was a mental hospital patient in need of treatment or care for an indefinite period.

 

1976

From June the upper age limit for defining dependent students was extended to 25 years.

Fraser, Lib-NCP

1978

From October DOP was no longer paid for a person who was also in receipt of an invalid pension.

 

1979

From May DOP was paid on a monthly basis rather than weekly. The adjusted rate became $47.70 per month.

 

1981

From October eligibility for DOP was extended to refugee children both of whose parents were not in Australia or whose whereabouts were unknown.

 

1982

From October DOP could continue to be paid where students had left school and were seeking employment, up to the time they received unemployment benefits, or found work or otherwise ceased to qualify for the pension.

 

1990

From January DOP became subject to yearly indexation in line with movements in the CPI for the preceding financial year.

Hawke, ALP

1991

From August where a child died the person receiving DOP was eligible for special assistance in the form of continued payment of DOP for four weeks.

 

1992

From January DOP was back-paid to the date of the child's birth if the claim was lodged within 13 weeks (previously 4 weeks) of the date of birth.

Keating, ALP

1993

From January eligibility fr DOP did not automatically give eligibility for Basic Family Payment (BFP).

 

2000

From July 2000 the rate of DOP was increased by 4 per cent as part of a compensation package for impact of the introduction of a GST in July 2000.

Howard, Lib-NP

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Table 6: Maximum Rates of Double Orphan's Pension from 1973

Month of effect

Double orphan's pension

 

($ per week)

10.73

10.00

11.74

11.00

05.79

40.70

10.80

55.70

10.86

60.00

.

($ per fortnight)

12.88

25.75

07.89

27.70

01.90

29.80

01.91

32.10

01.92

33.20

01.93

33.60

01.94

34.20

01.95

34.80

01.96

36.40

01.97

37.50

01.98

37.60

01.99

37.90

01.00

38.30

07.00

39.80

01.01

41.10

01.02

42.80

01.03

44.00

01.04
45.20
01.05
46.20
01.06
47.35
01.07
49.40
01.08
50.40

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Supporting Mother's Benefit 1973 to 1977, Supporting Parent's Benefit 1977 to 1989, Sole Parent's Pension 1989 to 1998

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Social Services Act (No 3) 1973 (No 48 of 1973)

1973

From July Supporting Mother's Benefit (SMB) was payable to unmarried mothers, deserted de facto wives, women whose de facto husbands were in prison and other separated wives not eligible for Widow Pension Class A (WPa). A beneficiary had to have the care, control and custody of at least one qualifying child. A biological child of the beneficiary or a child of whom she had the custody, care and control prior to the date on which she became a single mother, including an adopted child, was a qualifying child. However in the case of an unmarried mother, only a biological child could be a qualifying child.

SMB could be paid six months after the birth of a child or the separation whichever was later. During the six-month waiting period income support for deserted wives was available from the State governments. The Commonwealth contributed to the funding of this support through the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act 1968. Unmarried mothers could qualify for Special Benefit (SpB) paid by the Commonwealth.

Recipients were able to receive Mother's Allowance, Supplementary Allowance and Additional Pension for Children.

Claimants had to be resident in Australia on the date of application. Unmarried mothers had to have been resident in Australia at the time of the child's birth. Separated wives had to have been resident in Australia prior to separation from their de facto or de jure husband. In other cases five years of continuous residence immediately prior to claiming benefit was necessary to qualify.

'Reasonable action' to obtain maintenance from the father or fathers of the children was required. What constituted reasonable action varied from case to case. Where the father's identity or whereabouts was unknown or maintenance action would cause serious matrimonial problems for the father no action was required.

SMB was paid at the same rate as Widow Pension (see Table 7 for rate changes). The means test applied SMB was the same as that for Widow Pension Class A (WPa). This was the tapered means test introduced in 1969. Annual income exceeding $1040 plus $312 for each child reduced benefit by fifty cents for each dollar of excess income. Where the beneficiary owned property valued at more than $4500 benefit was further reduced. $1 for each $10 of property in excess of $1000 was added to the income from other sources when calculating benefit under the income test (see Table 8 for changes in means testing arrangements).

Whitlam, ALP

1974

From July women who became sole parents while living overseas, but who had continuously lived in Australia for not less than 10 years at some time were given eligibility for SMB.

 

1976

From July SMB became subject to income tax. Allowances remained tax free.

From November the SMB, but not the allowances which went with it, was made subject to automatic six-monthly increases in line with movements in the CPI every May and November.

The means test was replaced by an income test. Property was no longer considered in calculating the rate of benefit payable. Income from property was included.

The Director-General was given the capacity to deem income to have been received by claimants or pensioners where they had deprived themselves of that income in order to obtain a pension or a higher rate of pension.

Fraser, Lib-NCP

1977

From November SMB was replaced by Supporting Parent's Benefit (SPB). SPB was available to male sole parents including widowers, divorcees, separated husbands or de facto husbands and husbands or de facto husbands of prisoners or mental hospital patients.

 

1978

From October indexation of the rate of benefit was to occur annually in November. (The only annual indexation occurred in November 1979.)

An upper age limit of 25 years was introduced for dependent full-time students to be regarded as qualifying children.

 

1979

From October SPB recipients were made eligible for fringe benefits and pensioner health benefits.

From November indexation of the rate of benefit was again to occur twice yearly in May and November.

 

1980

From November the six-month qualifying period for SPB was removed.

 

1983

From December eligibility for SPB was extended to unmarried people who had obtained legal custody of a qualifying child.

Eligibility was also extended to married people with a qualifying child where a spouse was living apart due to illness or infirmity.

Hawke, ALP

1985

From March SPB became subject to the assets test.

 

1986

From October SPB recipients were required to attend an interview after three months on SPB.

From December rate increases took place in December and June rather than November and May as had previously been the case.

SPB recipients were required to submit a statement of circumstances monthly for the first three months on SPB and every three months thereafter.

 

1987

From January dual eligibility for pensions and for Commonwealth education payments was ended. Pensioners studying full-time were eligible for an educational supplement of $15 per week.

From September the maximum age of a qualifying child was limited to 15 years of age.

From November an earnings credit system was introduced. Pensioners could save up unused portions of the income test free area to a limit of $1000. When income exceeded the free area the credit was reduced until totally depleted. The normal income test then applied again.

 

1988

From January fringe benefit entitlement could be retained for three months after income exceeded the income test limit by no more than 25 per cent.

From June a separate maintenance income test was introduced. Where maintenance in excess of $15 per week was received benefit was reduced by 50 cents for each dollar in excess of $15. The free area of $15 per week was increased by $5 for each child after the first.

The Child Support Scheme was introduced.

From July portability of SPB overseas was limited to 12 months, except for de jure widows who were Australian residents.

 

1989

From March SPB and WPa were combined and renamed Sole Parent Pension (SPP). Basic entitlements and conditions did not change significantly. Eligibility was however extended to people with substantial control and care of a qualifying child, although not having legal custody, where that care and control had existed for at least 12 months before grant of pension.

From November the timing of indexation of the rate of SPP was brought forward in several stages to March and September. (This process was completed in September 1990.)

 

1990

From January factors for determining whether a marriage-like relationship existed were set out in the Act. They included financial, household, social, sexual and personal arrangements. Where a pensioner had shared a residence with a person of the opposite sex for at least eight weeks and they had a child living with them, owned the house together, had joint assets or liabilities or had been married or had lived together before, additional information was to be provided by the pensioner to ascertain if a marriage-like relationship existed.

SPP recipients were required to provide their tax file number and that of their spouse if they knew it or could obtain it.

From June SPP recipients who ceased to receive payment due to employment were given a Health Care Card for six months.

 

1991

An employment entry payment was introduced for SPP recipients who took up employment with earnings above a certain threshold amount. The payment was set at $100.

From March a minimum interest rate was deemed to apply to cash in hand and money in accounts under the income test. The first $2000 of cash or money in accounts was exempt from this provision. Only the actual interest earned was assessed on that first $2000.

 

1992

From January an education entry payment of $200 was introduced for SPP recipients who qualified for an education supplement under the AUSTUDY Scheme.

The AUSTUDY supplement of $60 per fortnight for SPP recipients studying full-time was extended to those studying part-time.

From July telephone allowance of $51.80 per household per year replaced the telephone rental voucher scheme.

Keating, ALP

1993

From April eligibility for fringe benefits was extended to all part rate pensioners.

From September the assets test withdrawal rate was reduced from $104 per annum for every $1000 of assets to $78 per annum for every $1000 of assets.

 

1995

From January refugees were not required to live in Australia for a set period to qualify for the pension.

 

1996

From July a major reform of the income test treatment of financial assets was introduced. A system called 'Extended Deeming' was introduced. When assessing income under the income test, the total value of all financial assets was added together. A rate of return of 5 per cent was deemed to have been received on the first $30 000 worth of assets and a rate of 7 per cent was deemed for asset holdings above these levels. The first $2000 was exempt from extended deeming. These rates were set at levels considered to be easily achievable using safe investments. The Minister for Social Security could vary the deeming rates as market rates changed.

Howard, Lib-NP

1997

From March the income test exemption under the 'extended deeming' provisions for the first $2000 held by a recipient was removed.

From September the rate of all single pensions was maintained at 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings. Indexation in line with the CPI still occurred in March and September of each year, but if the rate was still below the average weekly earnings benchmark it was raised to that level.

 

1998

From March SPP was merged with Parenting Allowance (PgA) to create Parenting Payment (PP).

 

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Table 7: Maximum Weekly Rates of Pension for Sole Parents from 1942

Date of effect

Widow Pension Class A

.

($ per week)

27.07.42

3.00

17.11.42

3.05

09.02.43

3.10

04.05.43

3.15

21.09.43

3.20

16.10.45

3.75

08.07.47

4.25

25.10.48

4.75

07.11.50

5.50

06.11.51

6.50

07.10.52

7.25

05.11.53

7.50

01.11.55

8.50

29.10.57

9.25

13.10.59

10.00

11.10.60

10.50

10.10.61

11.00

08.10.63

11.50

06.10.64

12.00

04.10.66

13.00

01.10.68

14.00

30.09.69

15.00

29.09.70

15.50

13.04.71

16.00

12.10.71

17.25

25.04.72

18.25

10.10.72

20.00

05.12.72

21.50

Standard rate of Pension (a)

 

($ per week)

03.07.73

21.50

09.10.73

23.00

26.03.74

26.00

13.08.74

31.00

06.05.75

36.00

13.11.75

38.75

13.05.76

41.25

11.11.76

43.50

12.05.77

47.10

10.11.77

49.30

11.05.78

51.45

09.11.78

53.20

08.11.79

57.90

08.05.80

61.05

06.11.80

64.10

07.05.81

66.65

05.11.81

69.70

06.05.82

74.15

04.11.82

77.25

05.05.83

82.35

03.11.83

85.90

03.05.84

89.40

01.11.84

91.90

02.05.85

94.30

14.11.85

97.90

01.05.86

102.10

25.12.86

106.20

25.06.87

112.15

24.12.87

116.10

23.06.88

120.05

22.12.88

124.25

22.06.89

129.20

23.11.89

133.60

26.04.90

141.20

27.09.90

145.85

28.03.91

150.80

26.03.92

153.05

28.01.93

156.05

19.09.93

158.10

20.03.94

159.05

20.09.94

160.70

20.03.95

163.05

20.03.96

167.95

20.09.96

171.30

20.03.97

173.90

20.03.98

177.30

20.09.98

178.65

20.03.99

180.70

20.09.99

183.25

20.03.00

186.00

01.07.00

193.45

20.09.00

197.05

20.03.01

201.00

20.09.01

205.25

20.03.02

210.90

20.09.02

214.70

20.03.03

220.15

20.09.03

226.40

20.03.04
232.10
20.09.04
235.35
20.03.05
238.15
20.09.05
244.45
20.03.06
249.85
20.09.06
256.05
20.03.07
262.55
20.09.07
268.85
20.03.08
273.40
20.09.08
281.05

Note:
(a) Paid to all Widow Pensioners, Supporting Mothers Beneficiaries, Supporting Parents Beneficiaries, Sole Parent Pensioners and Parenting Payment (Single) Recipients.

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Table 8: Pension Means Tests Changes from 1942

 

 

Upper limit property (a)

Exempt property (b)

Date of effect

Permissible income ($ pa) (b)

WPa ($)

Wpa ($)

Wpa ($)

WPb ($)

27.07.42

65

2000

800

100

100

13.08.46

104

2000

1300

100

100

08.07.47

104

2000

1300

100

100

26.10.48

156

2000

1500

200

200

06.11.51

(d)156

2500

2000

300

200

07.10.52

(e)156

2500

2000

300

200

05.11.53

(e)208

3000

2500

300

300

19.10.54

(e)364

3500

3500

400

400

28.10.58

(e)364

4500

4500

400

400

.

Means as assessed
($ pa) (f)

Income permitted
for each child
($ pa)

.

.

.

14.03.61

364

52

.

2000

400

04.10.66

364

156

.

2000

400

02.05.67

520

156

.

2000

400

30.09.69

520

208

.

2000

400

10.10.72

1 040

312

.

2000

400

       

Allowable Assets (h)

 

Permissible income ($ pa) (g)

   

Homeowner

Non-homeowner

25.11.76

1 040

312

.

-

-

04.11.82

1 560

312

.

-

-

21.03.85

1 560

312

.

70 000

120 000

01.05.86

1 560

312

.

75 750

129 750

25.06.87

1 560

312

.

83 250

143 250

09.07.87

2 080

624

.

83 250

143 250

23.06.88

2 080

624

.

89 250

153 250

22.06.89

2 080

624

.

96 000

164 500

21.06.90

2 080

624

.

103 500

177 500

01.07.91

2 184

624

.

110 750

190 250

01.07.92

2 236

624

.

112 500

193 000

01.07.93

2 288

624

.

112 750

193 250

01.07.94

2 340

624

.

115 000

197 000

01.07.95

2 444

624

.

118 000

202 000

01.07.96

2 548

624

.

124 000

212 500

01.07.98

2 600

624

.

125 750

215 750

01.07.99

2 652

624

.

127 750

219 250

01.07.00

2 756

639.60

.

133 250

228 750

01.07.01

2 912

639.60

.

141 000

242 000

01.07.02

3 016

639.60

.

145 250

249 750

01.07.03

3 120

639.60

.

149 500

257 500

01.07.04
3 172
639.60
.
153 000
263 500
01.07.05
3 224
639.60
.
157 000
270 500
01.07.06
3 328
639.60
.
161 500
278 500
01.07.07
3 432
639.60
.
166 750
287 750
01.07.08
3 588
639.60
.
171 750
296 250

Notes:
(a) Pension was not payable where property was above this level.
(b) The amount of income or property allowed before the pension was reduced.
(c) A further $26 was permitted for the first child and a further $52 for each subsequent child.
(d) A further $26 was permitted for each child.
(e) A further $52 was permitted for each child.
(f) Merged Means Test introduced.
(g) Income Test introduced.
(h) Assets Test introduced.

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Family Income Supplement 1983 to 1987, Family Allowance Supplement 1987 to 1992, Additional Family Payment 1993 to 1995

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Social Security Legislation Amendment Act 1982 (No. 98 of 1982)

1983

From May, a new payment, known as Family Income Supplement (FIS), was introduced to assist low income families with children who were not in receipt of a social security pension or benefit or similar assistance. Assistance was provided according to the number of eligible dependent children in the family. The maximum rate of assistance per child equalled the rate of additional benefit payable to a beneficiary for a dependent child ($10 per week). The maximum rate was payable where the joint income of the parents did not exceed the income limit under the disadvantaged persons health care scheme for a married couple without children. Payments were reduced by $1 for every $2 beyond this level of joint parental income. Payments were not taxable.

Hawke, ALP

1984

From May, FIS became payable to the Family Allowance (FA) recipient rather than to the person in the family with the highest income.

 

1987

From December FIS was replaced by a new payment known as Family Allowance Supplement (FAS). The new payment was subject to a tapered income test (the limits were more generous than those applying for FIS), and a two-tiered level of payment was introduced.

Maximum rates of payment were paid where, for one child, average weekly income in the four weeks prior to applying was up to $300. An additional $12 per week was disregarded for each additional child. The payment was withdrawn at the rate of 50 cents for each $1 of income in excess of the applicable limit. Like FIS, entitlement was for a six-month period and recipients were not required to notify the Department of Social Security of increases in income unless that income increased to more than 125 per cent of the allowable income or of their previous income. The new weekly rates were as follows: $22 for a child aged under 13 years, $28 for a child aged 13 to 15 years and $17 for a dependent full-time students aged 16 years or more not receiving AUSTUDY. Recipients of FAS were also eligible for Rent Assistance (RA) of up to $15 per week if they had children aged under 16 years.

 

1988

From December

  • FAS became subject to a 'sudden-death' assets test. Recipients with assets in excess of $300 000 were no longer eligible for FAS, that is, There was no tapered reduction in entitlement. The threshold at which FAS began to be reduced became subject to annual indexation in line with movements in the CPI.
  • The basis on which entitlement to FAS was calculated changed. Instead of basing entitlement on average income in the four weeks prior to applying as had previously been the case, entitlement was based on family taxable income in the financial year ended prior to application. The entitlement period was changed to a calendar year from the six-month period previously used. The same provisions for relatively small increases in income during the entitlement period continued to apply.
  • FAS and FA were paid as a single fortnightly payment.
 

1990

From January

  • FAS became subject to yearly indexation moving in line with movements in the CPI over the previous financial year.
  • FAS ceased to be payable for a child under 16 years of age who earned $100 per week or more.
  • Lump-sum payments of FAS were made to the parent of a deceased child. The payment equalled FAS and FA for the fourteen weeks after the date of death.
  • A student child ceased to be eligible for FAS when they turned 16 years of age if they were eligible to receive a prescribed education payment.

From November FAS recipients were automatically eligible for Health Care Cards.

 

1992

From January

  • Hardship provisions applied to the assets test. Families with assets over the current limits, but under the FA assets test limit of $600 000 retained entitlement to FAS where their estimated taxable income for the current year was below the annual married pension rate, and their available funds were less than $6000 if single and $10 000 if married.
  • The assets test included all immediate family member assets, not just those of the parents.
  • FAS was back-paid to the date of the child's birth if the claim was lodged within 13 weeks (previously four weeks) of the date of birth.
  • Health Care Card eligibility ceased to be automatic for FAS recipients. New claimants were required to meet the income test for low income earners seeking the Health Care Card.

From April the income threshold at which full rate FAS was paid increased in order to bring it into line with the relevant AUSTUDY threshold.

Keating, ALP

1993

From January FAS was renamed Additional Family Payment (AFP). Additional Pension for Children (AP) and Additional Benefit for Children (AB) were also replaced by the new payment which was paid to the principal carer rather than to the pensioner or beneficiary. AFP was not withdrawn during waiting, suspension or deferment periods as the previous payments attached to pension or benefit had been. The maintenance income test was applied to AFP, Guardian's Allowance (MGA) and Rent Assistance (RA), but not to pension or benefit. RA and MGA would be paid as an addition to AFP rather than as an addition to pension or benefit. Consequently sole parents receiving AFP but not Sole Parent Pension (SPP) would be entitled to MGA.

AFP was paid for children in secondary studies up to the completion of those studies or the end of the year in which they turned 18 years of age, whichever was the earlier.

 

1994

From January certain employer-provided fringe benefits were treated as income under the income test. Income received from foreign sources was also taken into account under the income test.

 

1996

From January Basic Family Payment (BFP) and AFP were replaced by a single payment called Family Payment (FP).

 

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Home Child Care Allowance 1994 to 1995, Parenting Allowance 1995 to 1998, Parenting Payment from 1998

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Social Security (Home Child Care and Partner Allowances) Legislation Amendment Act 1993 (No. 55 of 1993) for Home Child Care Allowance;

Social Security (Parenting Allowance And Other Measures) Legislation Amendment Act 1994 (No. 174 of 1994) for Parenting Allowance.

1994

From September the Home Child Care Allowance (HCCA) was paid to members of couples with children who were primarily engaged in child care, in most cases mothers. HCCA replaced the dependent spouse rebate paid to couples with children through the taxation system.

HCCA was paid at the rate of $60 per fortnight to the caring partner and was to be indexed annually. It was tax free but subject to an income test on the income of the caring partner. Income in excess of $282 per annum reduced the rate of HCCA by 25 cents for each dollar. Income of the non-caring partner did not affect the rate of payment. No assets test was applied. A recipient of HCCA needed to be an inhabitant of Australia.

A person could qualify for HCCA if their youngest dependent child was under the age of 18 years or had not yet completed secondary school, whichever happened first.

Keating, ALP

1995

From July Parenting Allowance (PgA) was introduced. HCCA was merged with PgA. PgA was paid to people who cared for dependent children under the age of 16 years and were members of a couple. PgA replaced Partner Allowance (PA) for partners of Job Search Allowance (JSA)/Newstart Allowance (NSA) and Sickness Allowance (SA) recipients and was also be available to partners of low-income workers. The maximum rate of PgA was $272 per fortnight (the same rate as JSA/NSA).

PgA was taxable and was paid subject to the income test which applied to JSA/NSA and SA from July 1995. A $60 per fortnight income test free area was available. Income above $60 per fortnight up to $140 per fortnight reduced payment by 50 cents for each dollar of income. Income above $140 per fortnight reduced payment by 70 cents for each dollar of income. Where the income of the partner of the PgA recipient reached a level where their DSS payment was reduced to nil any additional income they had began to reduce the payment received by the PgA partner.

HCCA became a tax free minimum payment of $61 per fortnight which could be reduced only by income received by the PgA partner and not that of their spouse.

The rate of PgA was to be indexed twice a year in March and September.

 

1997

From March a two year waiting period was introduced for newly arrived residents.

The income test exemption under the 'extended deeming' provisions for the first $2000 ($4000 for a couple) held by a recipient was removed.

From September an income maintenance period was introduced. Leave payments received were treated as income for the period for which they were paid. Payments for leave such as recreation leave, maternity leave, long service leave and sick leave were all included.

Howard, Lib-NP

1998

From March PgA was merged with Sole Parent Pension (SPP) to form Parenting Payment (PP). The rates and eligibility conditions for the two payments were largely unchanged resulting in separate rate and eligibility structures for PP (single) and for PP (partnered). Significant changes were the following:

  • The PgA assets test was extended to sole parents. This did not affect the asset thresholds that applied but removed the three dollars for every $1000 of assets taper which formerly applied to SPP.
  • The income maintenance period introduced in September 1997 for PgA was applied to sole parents.
  • Portability of the payment while temporarily overseas was standardised at 26 weeks. It had previously been 13 weeks for PgA and 12 months for SPP.
  • Residence requirements for sole parents were reduced from five to two years to come into line with the two-year waiting period that applied to PgA.
 

1999

From September a 12-month waiting period for single foster parents was removed.

 

2000

From July the rate of PP was adjusted to compensate for the effect of the introduction of a GST on the cost of living.

Further compensation was provided by a 2.5 per cent increase in the income test and assets test free areas and a reduction in the income test taper rate for PP (single) from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.

 

2002

From September annual interviews were introduced for parents whose youngest child was aged 12 years or more to prepare for their re-entry to the workforce.

 

2003

From September annual interviews were introduced for parents whose youngest child was aged 6 years or more to prepare for their re-entry to the workforce.

Those whose youngest child was aged between 13 and 15 were required to undertake 150 hours of activities each six months designed to help them to prepare for return to work. The activities were set out in a participation agreement. Exemptions from the participation requirements were given if a person was caring for a disabled child or going through certain critical events such as recent separation from a partner or domestic violence.

If reasonable steps were not taken by a person to comply with the terms of their participation agreement, they could be subject to a rate reduction for a period of 26 weeks or suspension of their payment. Suspension of payment could only occur for the third breach in a two year period.

 
2006

From July eligibility for PP was changed in the following ways, as part of a major reform of welfare to work arrangements:

  • single people claiming PPS after 1 July could receive PPS while their youngest child was aged less than 8 years. They would have participation requirements once that child turned 6 years of age
  • partnered people claiming PPP after 1 July could receive PPP while their youngest child was aged less than 6 years
  • people receiving PP before 1 July could continue to receive PP until their youngest child reached 16 years of age, provided they did not change their relationship status or have their payment cancelled. They would have participation requirements once their youngest child reached the age of 7 years but not before 1 July 2007
  • the participation requirements could include a requirement to look for suitable work of at least 15 hours per week. Unsuitable work included work where appropriate child care could not be arranged. Failure to comply could result in payment suspension for a period of time, and
  • participation exemptions were expanded to include exemptions for those foster carers and home or distance educators.

The income test for PPP was altered so that income above $62 per fortnight reduced payment by 50 per cent, income above $250 per fortnight reduced payment by 60 per cent and partner income reduced payment by 60 per cent.

 

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Family Tax Payment 1997 to 2000

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation:

Family (Tax Initiative) Act 1996 (No. 63 of 1996)

1997

From January Family Tax Payment (FTP) was introduced. It was part of a broader Family Tax Initiative aimed at providing extra assistance to families with children. FTP provided that assistance to families who qualified for more than the minimum rate of Family Payment (FP). Other families with incomes below the cut off levels could access assistance as an increased income tax free threshold for one parent.

Part A of the initiative provided $7.70 per fortnight for each child in a family up to a family income of $70,000 plus $3000 for each child after the first.

Part B provided $19.24 per fortnight to families with one income if a child under five years of age was present. A second income of up to $175.43 per fortnight did not preclude a family from receiving Part B. The income cut off for eligibility was $65,000 plus $3000 for each child after the first.

Howard, Lib-NP

2000

From July the FTP was absorbed into the new Family Tax Benefit which also replaced Family Allowance (FA).

 

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Family Tax Benefit Part B from 2000

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

A New Tax System (Family Assistance)(Administration) Act 1999

2000

From July Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTBB) was introduced. It's introduction was part of a broader reform of family payments that coincided with the introduction of, and compensated for the impact of, the GST in July 2000.

FTBB replaced a number of existing payments and income tax rebates for sole parents and single income couple families. They were Guardian Allowance, Basic Parenting Payment, Family Tax Payment Part B, Family Tax Assistance Part B, Sole Parent Rebate and Dependent Spouse Rebate (with Children).

The rate of payment for sole parents was $2602.45 pa ($99.82 pf) if the youngest child was aged under 5 years, or $1814.05 pa ($69.58 pf) if the youngest child was aged 5 years or more. There was no income or assets test for sole parents. The rate for couple families was the same as for sole parents, but an income test applied to the income of the second earner. A second income exceeding $1616 pa reduced entitlement by 30 cents for each extra dollar earned. Entitlement ceased at an income of $10 291 pa if the youngest child was under 5 years or $7663 pa if the youngest child was 5 years of age or over. The income measure used was current financial year taxable income adjusted to include fringe benefits, foreign income and net rental property losses. The total family income had no impact on entitlement. FTBB was indexed in line with movements in the CPI annually in July.

Howard, Lib-NP

2004

From July a person could not receive FTBB if they had been outside of Australia for more than 13 weeks. Also a child was disregarded for FTBB purposes if they were outside of Australia for more than 13 weeks. Previously the time limit had been 26 weeks.

The income test free area for FTBB was increased from $1825 per annum to $4000 per annum.

The taper rate for the FTBB income test was reduced from 30% to 20%.

 
2005

From January an annual supplement to FTBB was introduced. The first payment  for the 2004-05 financial year was a half rate payment of $150. Subsequest payments were to be twice that amount plus an increase as a result of indexation to movements in the CPI. The supplement was paid at the time after the end of the financial year when entitlement was reconciled with actual income for that year.

From July the income test treatment of a person receiving FTBB who started to work part way through a financial year was altered. They would only have their FTBB entitlement for the period after they started work reduced under the income test by their employment earnings for the rest of that financial year.

 
2008 From July FTBB was not payable where the primary earner in a sole parent or couple family had adjusted taxable income of $150 000 per annum or more. This threshold was indexed  annually in July.  

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Child Care Benefit from 2000

Commencement Date

Details

Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation

A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

A New Tax System (Family Assistance)(Administration) Act 1999

2000

From July Child Care Benefit (CCB) replaced Child Care Assistance and the Child Care Cash Rebate. These earlier forms of assistance had been administered by the Department of Family and Community Services since its formation in October 1998. The introduction of CCB was part of a broader reform of family payments that coincided with the introduction of, and compensated for the impact of, the GST in July 2000.

CCB offered different levels of assistance depending upon whether approved or registered child care was used. Approved care included long day care, family day care, before and after school care, vacation care, some occasional care and some in-home care. Registered care was that provided relatives, friends or nannies. It also included care provided by some private preschools, kindergartens and outside school hours care services. The carer had to be registered with the Family Assistance Office.

CCB could be paid for up to 50 hours per week if at any time during the week the claimant was:

  • working (including on paid or unpaid leave or setting up a business)
  • actively looking for paid work
  • doing volunteer work for 15 hours or more per week
  • studying or training
  • a person with a disability
  • caring for a child or adult with a disability.

In other situations CCB could be paid for up to 20 hours per week of care.

CCB for approved care was payable up to $122 per week ($2.44 per hour) for one child in care, $255 per week ($2.55 per hour each) for two children and $398 per week ($2.65 per hour each) for three children. For registered care CCB of up to $20.50 per week or $0.41 per hour was payable for each child in care.

CCB for approved care was paid subject to an income test. The Family Tax Benefit income test was used to measure income. Families with incomes under $28 200 per annum received the maximum rates. Rates of payment for those on higher incomes reduced gradually until a minimum rate was payable. For one child in care that rate was payable where family income exceeded $80 980 per annum. For two children in care it was $87 832 per annum and for three children it was $99 794 per annum. This cut off was increased by $16 665 for each additional child after the third. The minimum rate was the same as the rate for registered care.

Rates of payment for school age children were 85 per cent of those for other children.

CCB could be paid to the child care provider who reduced their fees (for approved care only) or claimed in arrears fortnightly or annually.

Howard, Lib-NP

2006

From July a family that did not satisfy the work/training /study test could receive CCB for up to 24 hours of child care per week in an approved service.

The work/training/study test was also modified so that a person had to perform the necessary activities for at least 15 hours per week.

 
2007 From July CCB standard and minimum rates were increased by 10% above the normal CPI indexation.  
2008 From July the minimum rate of CCB for approved child care was abolished. Rudd, ALP

Child Care Tax Rebate from 2004

 

Commencement Date
Details
Government at Commencement

Original Enabling Legislation

Tax Laws Amendment (2005 Measures No. 4) Act 2005

2004

From July out of pocket child care expenses could be claimed under the Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR). The rebate could be claimed by families who received Child Care Benefit (CCB) for approved child care and met the work/study/training test for CCB. They could claim a rebate of 30% of their out of pocket child care expenses up to a limit of $4000 for each child. This limit was indexed to movements in the CPI.

Being a tax rebate, the amount of CCTR paid was limited by the tax liability of the family claiming, however any rebate that could not be used by the claimant could be transfered to their spouse.

Out of pocket child care costs were calculated once the CCB entitlement of families was finalised several months after the end of the financial year in which the child care was used. This meant that the rebate could not be claimed until the financial year following that calculation. Consequently the rebate for child care used in a particular financial year could not be claimed until the end of the following finacial year.

Howard, Lib-NP
2007 From July CCTR was converted from a tax rebate into a direct payment under the Family Assistance Act 1999. Even though the name was not changed, it became an annual lump sum payment of 30% of out of pocket child care costs. The change from a tax rebate to a direct payment meant that entitlement was no longer limited by the tax liability of the claimant.  
2008

From July CCTR was increased to a 50% refund of out of pocket child care costs.

The annual per child limit was increased to $7500.

CCTR was paid quarterly where parents were registered for fortnightly payment of CCB. If CCB was claimed annually for the previous financial year, CCTR was also claimed annually.

Eligibility for CCB was retained as a precondition for the receipt of CCTR but those entitled to only a nil rate of CCB were still eligible for CCTR.

Rudd, ALP

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Commonwealth of Australia
Chronologies are written for Members of Parliament, being located on the Internet they can be read by members of the public, however some linked items are available to Members of Parliament only, due to copyright reasons.


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