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3.1.1.34 Sharing FTB for Separated Couples

Summary

Two people who have separated can both claim FTB for a past period (1.1.P.60) while they were still a couple (1.1.M.50) if both of them are eligible for FTB for their child.

Example: Brad and Rebecca have separated. While they were still a couple they shared the caring responsibilities for their children. After separation they both lodge a lump sum claim for FTB for their children for the past period during which they were still a couple. The children are FTB children of both Brad and Rebecca for the past period as:

  • they both provided daily care for the children, and
  • both were legally responsible for the children.

 

This does not apply if one member of the couple has been paid FTB for a past period while the couple were together.

Example: On 2 March Melissa separated from her husband David. Prior to this Melissa received fortnightly payments of FTB for their 3 children. At the end of the financial year, David lodges a past period claim for FTB for the period 1 July to 1 March. David's claim for FTB is rejected because Melissa had claimed and received FTB for the period when they were a couple. David received the benefit of this payment when they were a family unit.

 

Determining a claim for FTB received prior to or after separation

Whether 2 people are eligible for FTB (based on the period they were a couple) when a claim for FTB is lodged depends on the date of determination for that claim. If a determination is made prior to separation then the individual is eligible for FTB. However, if a determination is made after separation then both the individual and ex-partner are eligible for FTB.

Example: On 3 November Angela lodges a lump sum claim for FTB for the previous income year. On 7 November Angela separates from her husband. Centrelink receive Angela's claim and makes a determination on 10 November that both Angela and her husband are entitled to FTB for the previous income year. If Centrelink had received the claim and made the determination on 6 November, Angela would receive the full FTB payment.

 

Sharing FTB between 2 people who have separated, for a past period while they were still a couple

A determination under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 section 29 must be made specifying the percentage of care that each person provided for their FTB child. The effect of the determination is to divide the total rate that would have been payable to one member of the former couple between both parties. Because the claim relates to a past period when they were a couple, the FTB income tests are applied using the ATI (1.1.A.20) of both individuals for the period.

Explanation: This means that the total rate of FTB payable for the children is the same as the rate that would have been paid if the couple had not separated.

 

However, it is not appropriate to apply a determination under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 section 29, that is to pay both the individual and ex-partner, where one person has been paid when the couple were still together. An ex-partner's claim for FTB should be rejected in this case.

 

Act reference: FAAct section 29 Eligibility for FTB of separated members of a couple for period before separation, section 61 Sharing FTB between separated members of a couple for period before separation

 

Percentage of care for a past period

The individuals can agree on the percentage of care they each had for their FTB child prior to their separation, providing the percentages add to 100%. If the individuals have not agreed on the percentage of care for that time, an assessment of their actual care arrangements for the period must be made. Generally this assessment would be determined as being a 50% arrangement for each member of the couple on the grounds that they shared care as an intact couple.

 

The percentage of care is rounded to the nearest whole per cent. The percentage is applied to the total rate that is payable to arrive at the amount payable to each individual.

 

Policy reference: FA Guide 2.1.1.45 Establishing a Pattern of Care, 2.1.1.50 Determining Percentage of Care

 

How to calculate the rate

The following table shows how to calculate the FTB rate payable:

Step

Action

1

Work out the rate of FTB Part A and FTB Part B that would have been payable for the past period as if the couple had not separated.

Explanation: Because they were a couple during the period being claimed, the income test is applied to their combined ATI for that period.

2

Work out the percentage of care for each of the individuals, ensuring that the percentages add up to 100%.

3

Multiply the total rate of FTB Part A and FTB Part B by the percentage of care for each of the individuals. The result is the FTB rate payable to each person for the past period.

 

Policy reference: FA Guide 3.1.1.20 Current FTB Rates & Income Test Amounts, 3.1.4 FTB Part A Rate Calculation - Method 1, 3.1.7 Maintenance Income Test, 3.1.8 FTB Part A Rate Calculation - Method 2, 3.1.9 FTB Part B Rate Calculation

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Last reviewed: 13 May 2013


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Last Edited: 30/04/2013 12:28:46 PM


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