Centrelink 2017 cuts single parents should know about

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Jason Bryce - Business & Finance Specialist

Centrelink 2017 cuts single parents should know about

Another year of tightening the belt for single mums

By Jason Bryce | 12 January 2017

Family Tax Benefit cuts are back - Photo source: Bigstock.com

...there are plenty of Centrelink changes that will mean

a lot less money for your family in 2017

By now, you will have read that there are plenty of Centrelink changes that will mean a lot less money for you and your family in 2017. What you may not realise is that single parents, so far, have been shielded from some of the biggest cuts. Shielded by Labor, Greens and cross-bench senators who are now under intense pressure to yield to a government trying to rein in government debt (and pay for their promised company tax cuts).

However, that could all change very quickly because the government has six billion dollars worth of payment cuts, some directly targeting single parent families, that they are desperately trying to get through the parliament as soon as possible. Treasurer Scott Morrison has spent a good part of early January flying around the country talking to senators about supporting savings measures that will hit your family hard.

But first, here are the cuts that have already been enacted that will hit single mums

  1. No more Schoolkids Bonus
  2. The very popular $4.5 billion Schoolkids Bonus (SKB) scheme is gone forever. All families with income under $100,000 used to get $215 for each primary school aged child in January and again in July for a total of $430. Each high school aged child used to receive $428 in January and July for a total of $856 per year. Now you will need to pay for all your back-to-school costs without that assistance.

    Centrelink cuts hit families hard

  3. Income caps are frozen for four years
  4. Parents who work could see their Centrelink payments reduce progressively or cut out completely over the next four years because most family and parenting payment income limits have been frozen until 2020.

  5. Energy supplement axed for new applicants
  6. The Energy supplement has been axed for new applicants from March 2017. So if you are thinking about applying for Parenting Payment or another Centrelink benefit, do it now. This cut means a loss of up to $7.28 per child per fortnight in Family Tax Benefit Part A payments. Plus up to $2.80 per family per fortnight in FTB Part B payments. New Parenting Payment recipients will lose an additional $12.00 or more per fortnight, compared to what existing parents will continue to receive.

  7. Family Tax Benefit Supplements are changing
  8. Families with household incomes over $80,000 will lose their FTB Part A end-of-year supplement completely. That is a loss of up to $726 per child.

  9. The Single Income Family Supplement axed
  10. The Single Income Family Bonus has been axed for new applicants only. Existing recipients will keep their Single Income Family Supplement. This $300 payment is for families with one main income earner who earns more than $68,000.

  11. Fringe Benefits are now counted as income
  12. Any fringe benefits you get from your employer, like a car, phone or help with rent or mortgage repayments will now be 100 per cent counted as income for Centrelink purposes. This new rule does not apply to employees working for charities and health services.

  13. Parental Leave Pay is now income
  14. Working mums with babies born after 1 October 2016 who get Parental Leave Pay could see other Centrelink payments go down because PLP (and Dad and Partner Pay) now counts as income for Centrelink purposes.

Treasurer Scott Morrison
Treasurer Scott Morrison

In addition to those cuts, Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to:

  1. Abolish all Family Tax Benefit end of year supplements for everyone. That’s $726 per child in FTB Part A supplements and $354 per family in FTB Part B supplement.

  2. Axe Pensioner Education Supplement. Single parents who study can receive up to $62.40 per fortnight to help with education costs. That is on the chopping block now.

  3. Axe Family Tax Benefit Part B when your youngest child turns 13. FTB Part B helps low, single income families only. This cut has already been applied to partnered single income families.

One way or another, pretty much all single mums will have to support their families with less money than they had in 2016. All we can say is good luck, you are not alone, we are all feeling the pressure.

Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist

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Have your say on this story - how do you feel about all the recent Centrelink cuts - and threatened ones? Comment below!

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go to Jason Bryce's Biography

Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Opinion Panel. He has a regular weekly column in the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) and writes regularly for the Business Daily section of the Herald Sun in Melbourne and many other newspapers and magazines. Read Jason Bryce's full profile here

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What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.