Changes to Baby Bonus and Maternity Immunisation Allowance commenced from 1 January 2009.
These payments are provided by the Australian Government and can help parents and carers with the costs associated with caring for a new baby, young or adopted child.
For children born or adopted on or after
1 January 2009, the Baby Bonus will be an income-tested payment. Baby Bonus will be payable if a family’s combined estimated income is $75,000 or less in the six months following the birth or the date the child entered their care. Parents who adopt a child up to 16 years of age may now also be eligible to receive the Baby Bonus.
The Baby Bonus is currently $5,000 per eligible child, which means, for example, that a mother who has twins will receive $10,000.
The Baby Bonus will now be paid in 13 fortnightly instalments. This has been put in place to better help families with the ongoing costs associated with a new child. Claimants may receive the Baby Bonus for a child who is born or enters their care from 1 January 2009 if:
- They have a newborn baby or start caring for a newborn child within 26 weeks of the child’s birth and are likely to continue to have care for no less than 26 weeks;
- In the case of adoption the child must come into their care before 16 years of age;
- They have had a stillborn child or a child who dies shortly after being born;
- Their family income for the six-month period following the date of birth of their child or the date the child entered their care is $75,000 or less;
- They have care of their child for at least 35 per cent of the time; or
- Where they are the natural parent, they notify the Family Assistance Office within 52 weeks of the birth that they have registered the newborn with the state/territory registry of births.
To claim the Baby Bonus, new parents will receive the claim form from their hospital or midwife. It is also available through the Family Assistance Office. Parents or carers need to lodge their Baby Bonus claim with the Family Assistance Office within 52 weeks of the birth of their child or, in the case of adoption, within 52 weeks of the child coming into their care.
Maternity Immunisation Allowance
The Maternity Immunisation Allowance is a payment aimed at encouraging parents and carers to immunise their child.
From 1 January 2009, the Maternity Immuni-sation Allowance will be paid in two instalments. The first instalment will be paid when the child is fully immunised and aged between 18 and 24 months. The second instalment will be paid when the child is fully immunised and aged between four and five years. The payment has been split in two to encourage parents to immunise their children against diseases during the vital years before they start school.
Parents with an adopted child from outside Australia who arrives in Australia before their 16th birthday may also be eligible to claim the Maternity Immunisation Allowance. To receive the payment, they will need to claim on or before their child’s fifth birthday or within two years of their arrival in Australia, whichever is later.
If the care of a child is shared, parents or carers must care for the child for at least 35 per cent of the time in order to be eligible to receive the Maternity Immunisation Allowance.
For more information on either of these payments, contact Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office on 13 61 50. Families can also visit their nearest Family Assistance Office located in Medicare offices and Centrelink Customer Service Centres, or visit the websites www.centrelink.gov.au or www.familyassist.gov.au. D