If you are a single parent, you already know how difficult it can be to make ends meet with just one income coming into the home. If you are struggling financially, it is important for you to know that there is financial support available for single parents. Below is a look at various place single parents can turn for financial assistance, including child support, governmental benefits, and local organizations.
There are three basic ways that you can bring income into your home if you are a single parent, including wages, child support and income support payments from Centrelink.
- Employment. If you are not currently employed the government offer special workshops that are designed to help you find a job. In addition, you can use the Australian Job Search website to apply to different jobs in your specific area. You can also choose to go back to school and gain some additional skills to find a better paying job. You could qualify for Jobs, Education, and Training Child Care Fee Assistance to help pay for child care while you are looking for a job or attending training.
- Child Support. If you have not already done so, it is vital that you contact the Department of Human Services to receive child support from the other parent. You will be asked to complete a child support assessment and based on that information a determination will be made about how much the other parent must pay to help cover some of the costs of raising your child.
- Centrelink. If you are not working, or not making enough money, and you have a child under the age of 8 years old, you may be eligible for the Parenting Payment benefit. This benefits pays up to $713.20 per fortnight based on your specific situation. If your children are over the age of 8 years old, or once they have reached 8 years old, you will then be eligible for the Newstart Allowance benefit, until you are able to find a job. This payment is for up to $552.40 per fortnight.
In addition to income support, you may be eligible for other payments through the Centrelink office.
- Family Tax Benefit. This benefit includes a Part A and a Part B. Part A is designed to help offset the cost of raising your children. Part B provides assistance to family who are facing a financial hardship due to having only one income. The amount you will receive for Part A is dependent on your income, number of children, and the age of the children. Eligibility for Part B depends on the age of your youngest child.
- Rent Assistance. This benefit will help offset a portion of your monthly rent payment, so you do not have to pay as much out-of-the-pocket expense. The amount you receive will depend on your family size, income, and where you live.
- School Kids Bonus. This bonus is paid out twice a year, once in January and once in July. It is to be used to offset some of the costs associated with buying school supplies. It is for a set payment of $205 twice a year per child in primary school and $410 twice a year for students in the secondary school.
- Pensioner Concession Card. If you are receiving Parenting Payments or Newstart Allowance, you will be eligible for this concessions card. This card will provide a reduction in some medications and doctor visits for you and your children. Depending on your state or territory, you may also be eligible for a reduction in energy costs, water rates, public transport, property rates, and motor vehicle registration fees.
There are also several charities throughout the country that are there to provide financial support for single parents. Below is the top three charities in the country.
- The Salvation Army. This organisation is well-known throughout the world and can help with a wide array of supportive services like financial assistance, help for those facing domestic violence, housing assistance, and help finding employment.
- The Smith Foundation. This program helps to ensure that all children in Australia obtain a good education. They provide special tutoring services, as well as, mentoring services to young people in the country.
- St. Vincent de Paul Society. This organisation helps those in need by providing food and food vouchers, clothing, household goods, help with utility bills, back to school supplies, housing and much more.
Help with Child Care
Child care is a huge expense for all single parents who need to work outside of the home. The government does provide help to offset some of these costs.
- Child Care Benefit. This benefit will pay up to $205 per week per child to help offset your childcare cost on a weekly basis. This lowers the out-of-pocket costs you need to pay.
- Child Care Rebate. This benefit gives families a rebate of up to 50 per cent of the amount of money they paid for child care services during the year. This benefit has a maximum rebate amount of $7,500 per year.