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 http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/baby-bonus.

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 http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/parenting-payment.

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 http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/online-services/register 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 http://www.ors.act.gov.au/community/births_deaths_and_marriages.

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