This section covers the following:
For children born or entrusted to care eligible individuals are paid the baby bonus in 13 fortnightly instalments.
For individuals who become eligible on or after 1 July 2011, the first instalment (the upfront part) is larger than the other instalments. The amount of baby bonus remaining after payment of the first instalment is equally divided among the subsequent 12 fortnightly instalments. From 1 September 2012, the first instalment is $846.20 and subsequent instalments are approximately $346.15.
The first instalment is generally paid 14 days after the date the claim is granted. In circumstances where there is bereavement such as a stillbirth or death of a child shortly after birth, the individual claiming baby bonus may request a lump sum.
In cases where there is a change of care and baby bonus is paid to more than one eligible claimant the baby bonus may be paid in fewer fortnightly instalments depending on the entitlement amount of each eligible individual. From 1 July 2011, the first eligible carer will usually receive the upfront part.
In the examples below, the following baby bonus rates are used, depending on the date of eligibility:
Example 1: Jane has care of her baby Oliver for 17 weeks from birth. Kate has taken over care of Oliver and has indicated care will continue for at least 26 weeks. Because the change of care has occurred within 26 weeks following the birth of Oliver and is expected to last at least 26 weeks, Kate is entitled to baby bonus. The full amount of baby bonus will be apportioned between Jane and Kate.
If Jane and Kate became eligible for baby bonus on or after 1 July 2012 but before 1 September 2012:
If Jane became eligible for baby bonus on or after 1 July 2012 and Kate became eligible for baby bonus on or after 1 September 2012:
Example 2: Claudia and William separate before the birth of their child and Claudia has care of their child Noah. After caring for Noah for 12 weeks, Claudia is no longer able to care for Noah and William takes on 100% care. Claudia is entitled to the first 6 instalments of baby bonus and William is entitled to the remaining 7 instalments of baby bonus. If Claudia and William both become eligible for baby bonus on or after 1 September 2012, Claudia will receive the upfront part as her first instalment.
Note: If an individual is eligible to receive baby bonus as a parent or non-parent carer and a change of care occurs within 26 weeks of the child's birth or of the child's entry into their care, the individual must advise Centrelink of the change in care. After receiving the advice, Centrelink should attempt to contact the new carer/s and invite them to make a claim for baby bonus.
Baby bonus may be paid simultaneously to 2 eligible individuals in some situations where there is a change in the provision of primary care for a child, such as where the first individual has not yet lodged a claim or has not yet finished receiving their entitlement in instalments at the same time as a subsequent eligible individual commences receiving their entitlement in instalments.
Example 3: Juanita has primary care of her baby Cassandra for 12 weeks from birth. Juan takes over primary care of Cassandra from week 13 onwards. Juanita and Juan lodge a claim for baby bonus at the same time.
If both Juanita and Juan became eligible for baby bonus on or after 1 September 2012:
Example 4: A birth mother becomes eligible for baby bonus on 1 September 2012 and a foster carer becomes eligible for baby bonus on 10 October 2012. However, the foster carer claims baby bonus first and starts receiving payments before the birth mother claims. By the time the birth mother claims, the foster carer has already been paid the larger first instalment (upfront part).
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 47 Payment of baby bonus, section 47B Claimant for payment of baby bonus to notify changes in care of the child, section 47C Secretary's power to approve a manner of notification
FAAct section 36 When an individual is eligible for baby bonus in normal circumstances, section 37 Generally only one individual eligible for baby bonus in respect of a child
Young people and especially those aged 17 years or under are generally inexperienced in handling large sums of money and/or may be subject to pressure to use the payment unwisely. These individuals must be referred to a social worker or specialist officer to discuss available services such as financial planning services, FA entitlements and parent support groups. Attendance at the referral session should be encouraged.
Individuals who are 17 years and over who are experiencing and/or are susceptible to any of the following issues should also be referred to a social worker or specialist officer (Indigenous Customer Service Officer or MSO) for a professional assessment regarding:
Any other individual may request assistance or referral to a social worker or specialist officer.
The purpose of the referral is to assess the individual's needs and their required level of support to provide the individual with more detailed and specific information about available services such as parent support groups, financial planning strategies and family assistance services and to enable a referral to other appropriate services as required.
In situations involving bereavement due to the death or stillbirth of the child, where one of the above issues are identified, payment by instalments, rather than lump sum, would generally be appropriate. However, discretion should still be used depending on the circumstances of the case.
Last reviewed: 13 May 2013