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.
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 http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/subjects/clean-energy-future.