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Household Assistance Package

The Australian Household Assistance Package is a relatively new program. It is designed to help families with daily living expenses in a variety of ways. However, if you are in need of assistance, it can be a bit confusing, since the package has multiple parts.

The Clean Energy Advance

The Household Assistance Package was instituted on May 16, 2012. One of the early parts of the package was a lump sum payment called the Clean Energy Advance. It was an initial payment to help families until the carbon price was introduced on July 1, 2012 and the Clean Energy Supplement was later added on a regular basis.

The Clean Energy Supplement

One important part of the Household Assistance Package is the Clean Energy Supplement. The Clean Energy Supplement is an automatic credit given to anyone who already receives the Family Tax Benefit or other income support. As of March of 2013 Pensioners were eligible for Clean energy Supplement benefits, as were parenting payment recipients and job seekers. In June, recipients of Seniors Supplements were added. In July, Family tax Benefit recipients were added. Students who receive income support will also be eligible as of January 2014. So, if you fit in that category, you don’t need to do anything else in order to qualify for and receive it.

The amount that you will receive as part of the Clean Energy Supplement will vary depending on your circumstances. It may go up or down depending on whether you are an individual, have a family, are currently receiving other forms of government assistance, and other factors.

The Essential Medical Equipment Payment

If you have to use essential medical equipment in your home on a regular basis, that can raise your monthly carbon price (expenses and bills) by quite a bit. The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is a part of the Household Assistance Package that can help you to offset those costs. If you are eligible for it, you will receive a yearly assistance benefit of $143. Only those who have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commonwealth concession card are typically eligible for the benefit.

In order to prove that you qualify for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment, you must prove that you had a medical reason for the expense. So, you will need your doctor to certify that you have a legitimate need for the equipment in question. Your heating and cooling costs may also count as “medical equipment,” if you need your home to be a certain temperature for medical reasons.

The Single Income Family Supplement

If you have at least one child and one person in your household is earning $68,000 to $150,000, but no other person in the household is earning more than $18,000, you may qualify for the Single Income Family Supplement. It is a payment of up to $300 per year. However, that payment may be lower, depending on family earnings and other benefits that you receive.

Other Income Supplements

There are two other income supplements that are part of the Household Assistance Package. The first is the Low Income Supplement. If, in the year prior to claiming, you did not receive a Pension or government benefits for more than 39 weeks out of the year, you may qualify for it. It is an annual payment of exactly $300. So, if you are not eligible a certain year, but your circumstances change the following year, you may qualify.

The other income supplement that is included in the Housing Assistance Package is the Low Income Family Supplement. Although it is also a flat $300 payment that can be claimed each year, the eligibility requirements are different from the regular Low Income Supplement. In order to qualify for the Low Income Family Supplement, you need to have received the Family tax Benefit for at least 39 weeks of the previous year. If you have a partner that lives with you and they received that benefit but you did not, your household would also qualify.

More Information

The Household Assistance Package also included several tax reforms, which led to tax cuts for many of Australia’s residents. Some of those tax breaks are still helping Australian families. For more information on those and other aspects of the Household Assistance Package, visit


Health Care Card

As you are probably aware, health care can be quite expensive, especially if you have to take any medications on a regular basis. However, the Australian government has programs in place to help you to offset some of those health care costs. One of those programs is the Australian Health Care Card. The Australian Health Care Card is a benefits card that may entitle you to discounts on health care, medications, and other services.

Qualifying for a Health Care Card

In some cases, you may automatically receive a Health Care Card. In order for that to happen, you must already be receiving one of the following allowances and benefits:

  • Youth Allowance as a Job Seeker
  • Sickness, Mobility, Carer, Widow, Newstart, or Partner Allowances
  • Carer or Partnered Parenting Payment
  • The Maximum Rate of Part A Family Tax Benefit
  • Special Benefit

If you do not receive any of those allowances and benefits, you may still qualify for a Health Care Card, but you will have to actually apply for the card. You will not just automatically receive it. Circumstances that may require you to apply for it include:

  • You Are a Foster Parent Applying for a Card in the Child’s Name
  • You Are a Disabled Student Whose Carer No Longer Collects Carer’s Allowance
  • You Have a Low Income
  • You Have Joint or Temporary Custody of Your Child or Children

Differences in Health Care Card Benefits

It’s important to note that, while any of the above scenarios may entitle you or your child to a Health Care Card, not all Health Care Cards are the same. You will be entitled to different benefits with your Health Care Card based on your own personal situation. Those benefits will be outlined for you when your application is accepted or your Health Care Card is automatically issued to you. Depending on your circumstances, benefits offered by the country through your Health Care Card may include:

  • Cheaper Medications
  • Medicare Safety Net medical expense refunds
  • Australian Post Discounts
  • Office of Hearing Services Discounts

Your State or Territory may also offer you extra benefits, if you have a Health Care Card. Some of those benefits may include:

  • Eye and Dental Care Discounts
  • Ambulance Ride Discounts
  • Reduced Rates for Public Transportation
  • Assistance with Energy Bill Payments

Some Australian doctors will also offer bulk billing for patients with Health Care Cards. However, individual doctors create their own policies about that.

How to Make a Claim

If your circumstances require you to make a claim in order to qualify for an Australian Health Care Card, you can do that a number of ways. First, you could print, fill out, and mail in the proper Health Care Card claim form. If you are applying for a Low Income Health Care Card, you must submit a form by mail. You can download the claim form by visiting

Your second option is to fill out and submit the claim form for your Health Care Card directly online. You can do that if you are applying for an Ex-Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card or a Foster Child Health Care Card. To do so, simply visit, register for a myGov account, and then follow the steps to make your claim.

If you still aren’t sure which form you need or which way you need to submit it, you can visit or call your closest Department of Human Services (DHS) Service Centre for help. You can search for your closest DHS Service Centre at

Keeping Your Information Updated

When you place a claim for a Health Care Card of any kind, you will be asked for certain information. That information will range from basics, such as your name and address, to information about your income, employment situation, and assets. So, you should be sure to have all of that information in front of you and ready to go before you start the claim process.

Even after you have made a claim for or received a Health Care Card, you must keep your information updated. It is up to you to inform the DHS of any major changes to your account. Some of those changes may include:

  • Changing Your Address or Telephone Number
  • Changing Your Employment Status or Income
  • Changing Your Last Name
  • Changing Other Benefits That You Collect or Programs Giving You Assistance

For more information about qualifying for, obtaining, or replacing a Health Care Card, visit



The country of Australia has implemented the Youth Allowance program for young students who need financial help while they are studying. However, not everyone finishes their schooling before the age of 25. Perhaps you got delayed by starting a family, needed to meet other personal obligations, or simply want to continue or change your field of study for other reasons. If that’s the case, you may qualify for another form of Australian assistance, which is known as AUStudy.

What is AUStudy?

AUStudy is financial help given to Australian residents who are either full-time apprentices or full-time students. However, in order to qualify as an apprentice your income must not be over a certain amount. If you live with a partner, their income must not exceed a certain amount either. That amount can vary, depending on whether or not you and your partner also have children.

The Resident Requirement

Although you may not necessarily have to be an Australian citizen to receive AUStudy help, you do need to be a legal resident of the country. Not only that, but you must be a resident for at least two years before you can apply for AUStudy help. You must also continue to live in Australia throughout the time that you receive benefits.

Income and Asset Tests

Simply being a resident for at least 2 years and being 25 years old or older does not guarantee that you will receive AUStudy benefits. Whether or not you will receive benefits and, if so, how much you will receive will depend on your income and assets. Therefore, you will have to undergo income and assets tests before you can qualify. You can view an income test chart at

As for your assets, depending on whether you are single, living with a partner, or have children, you may qualify for benefits, even if your liquid assets exceed the set amount of $5,500 (single) or $11,000 (partnered). However, you may not be able to start receiving benefits for as much as 13 weeks after making a claim.

Assets counted as part of the assets test may include:

  • Multiple Types of Bank Accounts
  • Homes That You Own
  • Vehicles
  • Boats
  • Personal Effects
  • Insurance Policies

For a more in-depth list of assets that may be considered as part of your AUStudy assets test, visit

Maximum AUStudy Earnings

The exact amount you can earn through the AUStudy program will vary depending on your family status, income, assets, and other factors. However, there are maximum expected earnings amounts per fortnight (14 days). Your benefits will not exceed those amounts, which are:

  • $407.50 – Single
  • $533.80 – Single Parent
  • $407.50 – Partnered
  • $447.40 – Partnered with Children
  • $495.00 – Unemployed and Single
  • $447.40 – Unemployed and Partnered

Ongoing Claim Requirements and Monitoring

You must continue to meet your study requirements while collecting AUStudy payments. If you are found to have not met your study obligations, you may be required to pay back benefits that you have collected. The exact requirements will depend on your level of study. For example, honours students are given 1 year of benefits beyond the minimum time required to complete the course. For more information on allowable study time and ongoing study requirements, visit

AUStudy Versus ABStudy

It’s important to be aware that Australia also has a program called ABStudy, which is similar to AUStudy. However, ABStudy is for Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal residents of the country. There are also some differences in how the benefits amounts for both programs are calculated.

How to File an AUStudy Claim

Before you file an AUStudy claim, you should make sure that you meet all eligibility requirements. You can do so by visiting If you feel that you meet those requirements, you should gather the information that you need in order to make a claim. That information should include your tax file numbers, your bank account numbers, proof of residence, and information about your course studies.

The simplest way to file an AUStudy claim is online. You can begin the process by visiting and following the instructions on the page. You can also start a claim over the telephone by calling 132 490.


Baby Bonus

In Australia, the Centrelink division of the Australian Department of Human Services assists moms with the costs of a newborn baby or an adopted child that is under the age of sixteen years. You are also eligible for this subsidy if for some reason the pregnancy does not work out or if the baby is stillborn.

How do I apply for the Baby Bonus?

You are eligible to start receiving the baby bonus within twenty-six weeks of the child’s birth or adoption. The child can be older as long as he or she is coming into your care before turning the age of sixteen. You can also claim the bonus if you are caring for an adopted newborn or if you are caring for the child for 26 weeks but are not the parent.

You will also have to take the Baby Bonus Income Test that calculates your income. You can only collect it if your family’s estimated combined adjusted taxable income is $75,000 or less during the first six months after the child is born or enters your care. You then have 52 weeks from the birth of your baby to claim the Baby Bonus by initially providing Centrelink with your income estimate. If the amount is too low or high Centrelink definitely wants to be informed as soon as possible so they can do a reassessment of your claim.

To be eligible for the Baby Bonus you must satisfy your residence requirements, which means that you must be Australian or hold a permanent or special category visa. The child or children that you are seeking assistance for must also meet Australian residence requirements.

There is also more information about the Baby Bonus requirements at

Facts About the Baby Bonus

You might be able to claim a payment if you have been absent from the country just as long as you have not been gone for more than three years.

If you have twins, triplets or another type of multiple birth you can expect to receive $5,000 for each child even if you do have other children. This also applies if you are adopting twins or triplets. If you are eligible for this you get $846.20 for the first fortnight and $346.15 for the next 12 fortnights.

If you came to be the caregiver of a child due to the death of a parent then you may also be eligible to apply for a bereavement payment. If you are the custodial parent of a new-born then you might be eligible for a Dad and Partner pay that asks the non-custodial to pay support once paternity of the child is proved. You are also likely eligible for a Family Tax Benefit or a Parenting Payment that provides income support for single mothers caring for a child under the age of eight, or a mother in a relationship that must care for a child under six years of age. For more information about the parenting payment go to

You can submit your claim for the Baby Bonus online or you can go into a Centrelink office and ask to be given a paper form, or you can request a form by phone or email. You can also print one out on your computer printer.

When you go to the Centrelink office you must provide proof of birth or adoption so that the claim can be processed and you can be paid. If the baby was not born in a hospital then your midwife must provide their registration and contact numbers. Documents to bring with you include all official certificates as well as photos. You can also submit a pre-birth claim for your payment.

The online services at Centrelink are secure and offer a very easy way to initiate your claim for the bonus. Once you have filed your initial claim you will be asked to bring any supporting documents to a Centrelink service center with two weeks. To access Centrelink you must have an online services account with a CRN number. CAN stands for Customer Access Number. To get a Customer Access Number go to which allows you to register for an online account with the Australian government.

If you are not sure about how to get a birth certificate for your child then you can find information about that at the Office of Regulatory Services at the Justice and Community Safety ACT government website at


What is the Youth Allowance?

The Youth Allowance, managed and dispersed by the Department of Human Services of the Australian Government via Centrelink provides financial help for people from the ages of 16 to 24 years who are studying, training, in an apprenticeship, or seeking employment. You must be an Australian resident to make a claim for the Youth Allowance. You can collect this particular subsidy whether you are a dependent or not.

How do I become eligible for the Youth Allowance?

There are definite eligibility requirements for the Youth Allowance. You must be sixteen to twenty-one years old and looking for full-time work; eighteen to twenty-four years old and studying full-time, sixteen to seventeen years old with a year 12 completion or sixteen or seventeen in full-time secondary study and living away from home. You are also eligible if you are between 16 and 24 years old and embarking on a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.
If you are a dependent, then your parent’s income and assets help determine how much money you will get.
What matters most is your age and whether or not you are doing an approved course or activity, if you are dependent or independent, what your residence requirements are, and what the result of your mandatory income and assets tests show.

There is also a category of eligibility for independent youth allowance where you are qualified if you are under the age of 22, and have supported yourself through full-time work at an average of thirty hours a week for at least 18 months, have a dependent child or are unable to live at home due to exceptional circumstances, or because your parents cannot be responsible for you.

If you live in a an inner regional, outer regional, remote or very remote area you can get assistance if you have worked a minimum wage level for an 18 month period or worked at least fifteen hours each week for at least two years.
If you are an independent, a Personal Income Test and a Personal Assets Test will be used to work out how much you can get with regards to Youth Allowance. If you are independent, there are not parental contributions to take into consideration. However, if you are from a remote area or regional area then your parental income must be lower than $150,000 for you to get a rebate. You can access the income and assets test at
The rate you end up with is variable, as you do have to take a maximum fortnightly payment. The lowest you will receive is $223 if you are single with no kids, under 18 years old, and still living at your parental home. If you are a single job seeker with children you could receive as much as $683.50.

There are also special rates available if you are older than 22 years and are a long time income support receiver for at least 26 of the previous 39 weeks or a migrant student that does not speak English.

Other Facts You Should Know About the Youth Allowance

Expect your Youth Allowance to be reviewed every now and then. The amount you receive may be adjusted due to a change in your income, because of a move or because of a divorce or separation.
If you are a dependent that gets Youth Allowance, Centrelink will request information about your parent’s income every September.

If you earn money from being paid for work you will be able to keep more of your Youth Allowance if you register for Income Bank. You can earn up to $405 a fortnight before your payment experiences a reduction. The difference between the $40 and what your earnings are, is put into your Income Bank. The cap amount for the Income Bank is $10,100 if you are a student or $1000 if you are working as an Apprentice.

You can also receive a working credit called Youth Allowance Job Seekers. If you make less than $48 a fortnight you accumulate working credits. You accumulate one working credit for every dollar under the threshold. For example, if you earn $18 a fortnight, you will earn 30 credits to make up for the low wages as compensation under the Youth Allowance Job Seekers program.

More information is available at


Child Care Rebate

Centrelink, a division of the Australian Government Department of Human Services, will cover fifty percent of out of pocket child care expenses or up to a maximum amount allocated per child. This rebate is a supplement to any amount of money that you might already be receiving from Child Care Benefit or Child Care Fee Assistance or Jobs, Education and Training.

Eligibility for the Child Care Rebate

To be eligible for the child care rebate you must use a service approved for the Child Care benefit. You and your partner must also take a “work training study test” or have somehow received an exemption from it. The actual amount that you are eligible for is based on a calculation of half of your pocket expenses. The maximum rebate that a family can receive is based a cost of living index and varies from year to year. For instance, in 2010-11 the maximum rebate a family could get is $7,941 and from 2011 -12 it was $7,500. Assistance is awarded throughout the year and these maximums act as caps on what you receive. Once you hit the cap amount then your payments cease for the rest of the year.

How much you can receive per child per financial year is dependent on how much your out of pocket expenses cost you. Out-of-pocket expense are the total of your child care fees minus the amount of any Child Care Benefits or Jobs Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance that you might be eligible for or already receiving. In order to find out how much assistance you will receive for the year and to check your rebate balance it is important to log into Centrelink and check the status of your child care rebate account.

How do I apply for Childcare Rebate?

There are a couple of ways to receive your child care rebate. You can have any child day care facility paid directly fortnightly, have it paid to your bank account fortnightly, or have it paid directly to your bank account on a quarterly basis. You can also ask that it is sent as an annual payment but only if your child care Benefit is approved to be sent to you as a single annual lump sum payment. It is claimed as a Child Care Benefit if you want to receive it on a fortnightly or quarterly basis.

The payment method that you choose is the one that will be used for the entire fiscal year. You cannot apply for a new payment method until the next financial year unless the circumstances are exceptional. You can change your method of payment for the next financial year by logging on to your Centrelink online account. You can find out more information about opening and accessing Centrelink online accounts at

The money can be paid direct to a Child Care benefit approved service and never see the inside of your account. However, how and when this is paid depends on how often your child care service sends Centrelink your offspring’s attendance information. The amount of your allotted Child Care Rebate will be deducted from your child care fee amounts.

It can also be paid to your chosen bank account, but the amount sent also is going to be calculated according to your child’s attendance level. Any withheld payments are balanced out at the end of the year.
If you choose to be paid quarterly then keep in mind that the first quarterly period starts on July 1st and the rest of your money is paid out on September 30, December 30 and march 31. The last payment may only occur if your payments are balanced.

If you claim the benefit annually as a lump sum then the amount that you have coming to you is assessed at the end of the year. The request to have a lump sum payment must be received by June 30, 2013 the previous year.

Other Important Facts About the Child Care Rebate

You can be paid for absences from daycare for up to 42 days per financial year without penalty. However, you can appeal to have additional days approved and you must talk to your child care provider about the submission of attendance to complete the request. Examples of absences that count are public holidays during which the child would have normally attended school. There is an app for keeping track of all of this called the Express Plus mobile app for Centrelink at
It is only approved child care service facilities that are eligible for submitting the child care benefit required attendance sheets on your behalf. Types of approved child care that qualify include family day care, day-long care, in home care, occasional care, after-school care, vacation care and in-home care. The service you use must be an officially approved one or you will not get the rebate. You can find out if your child care service is approved by going to on the Australian Government general website.


Rent Assistance

Centrelink that is run by the Australian Department of Social Services offers financial help to those who cannot pay their rent.

Eligibility For Rent Assistance:

Eligibility for rent assistance from the Australian government might be automatically be in place if you are under age 21 and receive disability support, have dependent children and are receiving the Family Tax Benefit, are caring for a child between 14 and 35 percent of the time but are not eligible for other types of benefits like the Family Tax benefit.

If you don’t have children you are eligible for the benefit if you are over 25, have partner or if you are under 25 and living apart from your parents.

There are also quite a few regulations about where you can live. You must first of all meet the residence requirements of your pension, allowance or benefit. Rent assistance is usually not payable if you have a lease width a state or territory housing authority, own the home where you reside (unless it is a mobile home), are a homeowner subletting in a temporary residence, are in a government subsided bed in an approved old age facility, have a partner who is receiving the Family Tax benefit or live with a partner already receiving rent assistance along with government financial support or a pension.

To be eligible for rent assistance you also must not be paying the minimum amount of rent shown in payment tables for such extras as series and maintenance fees in a retirement village or condo, lodging if you are paying for board and lodging, a trailer site or a mooring for a boat (even if you live in the trailer or the boat.

You can find a chart that consists of the payment rates for Rent Assistance at On this page you will find rent assistance rates that apply if you do not have dependent children and rates that apply if you do. The most available is $433 paid out to a couple renting with three or more children. The lowest rate for a single person in an apartment with no children is $220.22.

Of course these rates can always be adjusted if the amount that you pay for your lodging changes or if you or a family member has an increase in income. A divorce, loss of a roommate, gaining of a roommate and moving to a new house can also affect the rate of your rent assistance. Rent assistance is usually adjusted twice a year on March 20 and September 20.

How to Claim Rent Assistance

Rent assistance does not require a separate claim. It is usually offered as part of a claim of another payment. You need to provide proof that you do pay rent and you need to complete a Rent Certificate. You can obtain a form for this at

If you have a formal tenancy agreement you can show it to Centrelink as proof or you can have your landlord write you a letter. Everything in a written letter must be able to be verified with a phone call or bank statements.

You are sent a letter to tell you whether or no the claim you submitted has been successful. At this point you will also be informed when your payments will begin and what amount you have been awarded.

Other Matters Relevant to Rent Assistance

If your circumstances change then you need to inform rent assistance. You need to inform Centrelink if the amount of rent you pay changes, if you move, if your income is higher, your marital status changes or if you gain or lose a roommate.

You need to inform the government about any changes promptly because if you are overpaid the Australian government does require people to pay the money back. If you deliberately don’t tell us about payments then you could be charged with fraud. You also might be charged an income recovery fee if incorrect information has been provided about your employment income.

You also may not be able to accept payments if you leave Australia. It depends if you still meet the qualifying rules for that payment. For more information about continuing to collect benefits even though you are out of the country go to


Family Tax Benefit

The family tax benefit is a benefit that the Department of Human Services of the Australian Government makes available for families. Both Part A and B of the benefit are meant to assist families with the cost of raising children.

Eligibility for the CentreLink Family Tax Benefit

To be eligible for the family tax benefit in general you must have a child or secondary student less than twenty years of age that is completely dependent on you. You also need to prove that you are in care of the child for at least thirty-five percent of the time.

The Family Tax Benefit Part A is a subsidy for each child and the amount assigned is based on your family’s individual circumstances. You are eligible if you care for a child who is under 16 years of age, aged 16 or 17 with a Year 12 or aged 16-19 and undertaking full-time education or training in a course leading to a year 12, has a heavy load of courses or who has been granted an exemption from any of these described requirements because of indigenous status or other reasons. In order to quality for Party you also need to fill out an “income test.”

You also need to provide proof that your children are fully immunized or on an immunization schedule to be eligible for a Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.

The Family Tax Benefit Part B gives extra assistance to single parents and families that only have one income. This is where one parent stays at home while the other works full time. You must be caring for the child at least 35% of time and the child must be under 16 years of age or a full time secondary school student under the age of 18.

If you are a guardian, grandparent or foster parent you might also be eligible for a Family Tax Benefit Part B.
You must qualify in terms of residence and income in order to qualify for this assistance. You also can’t receive a family Tax Benefit Part B during a Parental Leave Period, however it can be paid again once the period is over.

You are not eligible for either type of payment if your child earns $14,078 or more during the financial year and is aged 5 to 15 years and is not in school or is aged 16 to 19 years and is not in school.

To qualify you are going to have to take an income test located at on the Centrelink website. If your family’s adjusted taxable income for this financial year is $48,837 or less then you will receive the full payment. For each dollar you make above and beyond that your family tax benefit is reduced by 20 cents for each dollar. If your income is above $94,316 then it is reduced by 30 cents for each dollar you make above that.

Payment Rates for Family Tax Benefit Part A
The amount of Family Tax Benefit Part A that you get paid is based on your current or proposed circumstances. It is assessed every year.

Each child from zero to twelve years is $172.20, thirteen to fifteen years is $224.00, 16 to 19 years and a secondary student is $224.00 and 16-17 years after secondary study, or over 19 and in an approved care facility is $55.16. Approved care organisations are those that take care of children who have a disability, are refugees, or who are homeless.

The base rate for each child is also $55.16. You can get up to $726.35 for each child. You must take an income text to work out how much Family Tax Benefit Part B you are actually eligible for at the end of the fiscal year.
You can also get money to help you with the cost of heating your home, for having a large family, multiple births, and child support and shared care.

Payment Rates for Family Tax Benefit Part B

This benefit pays out to a maximum of $4,171.95 if you have a child under five years. Children five to eighteen years have a maximum rate of $3,018.55. This supplement is paid out in a lump sum at the end of the financial year after you have filed your tax return. The amount of supplement paid largely depends on your family’s income and circumstance.

To be eligible for this you have to take the Income test for Family Tax Benefit part B. If you are from a single parent family with an adjusted taxable income of more than $150,000 you will not be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B. If you are a two-parent family you can earn up to $5,183 each year before your income is affected.
For more information about the income test for Family Tax Benefit Part B go to on the Centrelink website.

You can also find more information in general about the dual Family Tax Benefits at