After two years of political wrangling in the senate, the Liberal government has finally got its way and abolished the Schoolkids Bonus – but not until next year!
2016 is the absolute last year of the Schoolkids Bonus. In 2016, the Schoolkids Bonus is two payments of $215 for each primary school aged child ($430) or two payments of $428 for each secondary school aged child ($856).
The Schoolkids Bonus payments are delivered in January and July to help families with back-to-school expenses. July 2016 will be last Schoolkids Bonus payment, so make the most of it!
Centrelink doesn’t automatically know when your child moves from preschool to primary school or from primary to high school. You may need to notify Centrelink if your child is moving up to get paid Schoolkids Bonus at the correct rate. Primary and High School starts in different years in different states, so read on and get the full picture.
The January payment of Schoolkids Bonus will be paid the day before your regular Family Tax Benefit Part A payment. Or the same day as your Parenting Payment, Newstart or Disability pension.
If you normally get paid Family Tax Benefit Part A every second Thursday, your Schoolkids Bonus will be paid on the Wednesday prior.
The first payments of Schoolkids Bonus will be made on Tuesday 5 January. The last scheduled day for payment of SKB is Tuesday 19 January.
Parents and carers of primary and secondary school students who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A are generally eligible for Schoolkids Bonus. There is an income test and this year the top income threshold for Schoolkids Bonus is $100,000.
That means if your family has a household income of $100,000 or less, you can be paid the Schoolkids Bonus. The Schoolkids Bonus is paid per child in school. Some parents will receive thousands of extra dollars this January from Centrelink in Schoolkids Bonus.
Children in preschool are not eligible for Schoolkids Bonus, only primary and secondary school kids are eligible for SKB.
In NSW and the ACT, that includes kids in kindergarten, which is part of the primary school program. In Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland, kids in Preparatory are likewise eligible for SKB.
In South Australia, Reception kids can be paid SKB, as can Pre-Primary level kids in Western Australia. In the Northern Territory, the pre-grade one level is called Transition and those kids are also eligible for SKB.
Good news for parents in Queensland and Western Australia is that from this year high school starts in year 7. Prior to 2015, secondary education in Queensland and WA started from year 8. That means parents of year seven kids will enjoy the higher secondary rate of Schoolkids Bonus.
However that is not the case in South Australia where high school still begins in Year 8. In South Australia, parents will still need be paid the primary rate of Schoolkids Bonus for their year 7 kids.
Centrelink doesn’t automatically know what stage of school your child is up to. It is up to you to notify Centrelink of what stage of schooling your child is at.
If your child is entering primary school for the first time, you will NOT get paid Schoolkids Bonus unless you have contacted Centrelink to inform them that your child is enrolled.
If your child is entering high school for the first time, you will NOT get paid Schoolkids Bonus at the high school rate unless you have contacted Centrelink to inform them that your kid has moved up.
Children living independently on an income support payment can also be paid SKB.
People receiving Veteran’s education payments, blind disability pensioners, people on special benefit and carer’s payment can also be paid SKB. There are some minor other eligible groups.
The Liberal government came to power in 2013 promising to abolish the Schoolkids Bonus and in 2015, they finally got their way.
Families with two kids in high school will lose $1712 per year thanks to the cuts to SKB. Make the most of this SKB, it will be the last you ever see.
Business & Finance Journalist
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.
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