This topic provides information about bereavement assistance for an individual when an FTB or regular care child dies. The topic covers the following issues:
If an individual is eligible for FTB for a child, and the child dies, they remain eligible for FTB for that child for a 14-week period beginning on the day the child died. This is known as the bereavement period. If the individual is receiving FTB by instalments, they can receive the bereavement amount paid as a lump sum or continuing instalments for the 14-week period. This also applies to an individual receiving the RA component of FTB by instalments for a regular care child.
Act reference: FAAct section 31 Continued eligibility for FTB if an FTB or regular care child dies, section 32 Eligibility for a single amount of FTB if an FTB or regular care child dies
Centrelink must continue to pay the FTB bereavement payment to an individual even if it is made aware that the individual faces murder or manslaughter charges for the death of the relevant FTB child. However, if the individual is subsequently convicted, the bereavement payment received may become a recoverable debt to the Commonwealth.
The payment should not be stopped on the basis of those charges alone as the individual is afforded the presumption of innocence until a court of law determines otherwise.
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 71 Debts arising in respect of family assistance other than CCB, CCR and FTB advance
Notification that an FTB child has died can be accepted from the individual receiving FTB, a family member or close friend. The following details must be obtained before action is taken to reassess the individual's FTB entitlement:
The funeral director or hospital should be contacted by phone to confirm the details. Centrelink must be certain of the information before taking action.
An individual making a past period claim is not required to provide evidence of the child's death when lodging the claim, however they should keep a copy of any documents relating to the death with their copy of the claim.
Where the care of the FTB child was shared and a determination under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 section 59 was in place for the child, the amount of the bereavement payment is worked out according to the percentage of FTB for which each individual was eligible.
Each individual is paid the bereavement amount according to his or her own circumstances.
If an individual receives FTB by instalments, they can choose to be paid either a lump sum or ongoing instalments for 14 weeks after the child died. If an individual claims FTB for a past period they will receive a lump sum.
If an individual who receives FTB by instalments requests a lump sum payment, the lump sum period starts on the day the request is made for a lump sum payment and ends 14 weeks after the death of the child.
If the lump sum period overlaps 2 financial years, only the income from the first financial year should be used to calculate the lump sum entitlement.
Act reference: FAAct section 65(1) Calculation of single amount for death of FTB or regular care child - Instalment case
The amount of FTB paid as a lump sum or as ongoing instalments for 14 weeks following the death of the child is calculated on the assumption that the child did not die, and would have remained an FTB child during the period. From 1 January 2013, the period of payment does not include any day on which the child would have been aged 18 and over if they were not a senior secondary school child (1.1.S.27). The amount of FTB paid during the bereavement period can be affected by the maintenance action test and maintenance income test which apply during the bereavement period where a relevant period exists (188.8.131.52).
Detailed information regarding calculating FTB bereavement payment is covered in topic 184.108.40.206.
Act reference: FAAct section 31(3) 14 weeks reduced in certain circumstances
Policy reference: FA Guide 220.127.116.11 Calculating FTB Bereavement Payment
Last reviewed: 1 July 2013