048: Navigating government benefits

This episode will give you Mia and Dinah’s top hacks for navigating Australia’s government payments and allowances.

There are over 26 different payments and benefits available from Centrelink. Mia and Dinah talk about the 8 broad categories of payments available:

  • families with children
  • age pensions
  • disability support
  • carer support
  • study-related support
  • unemployment support
  • crisis and special benefits
  • concession cards and bonus payments.

They discuss the best place to start to assess if you are available for any payments or  benefits is the Centrelink Payment and Service Finder. This service available on the Centrelink website allows you to enter your details and then suggests what payments you should investigate. It also suggests other supports such as help lines, community groups, advocacy networks and associations that may be relevant to your situation. In particular other services which you may be eligible which are relevant to life admin include:

  • Financial counselling 
  • Department of Human Services Financial Information Service
  • Legal aid
  • Microfinance small loans

Mia and Dinah talk about some of the payments you may be eligible for including:

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B – tax benefit for single parents or couples with children based on your income level and number of children
  • Paid Parental Pay – pay to help parents spend time at home with a newborn or recently adopted child
  • Child Care Subsidy – assists families with the cost of approved child care 
  • Carer Payment – supplement paid to someone who provides daily care and attention at home to a person with a disability or medical condition 
  • Austudy – payment for those 25+ returning to university to do a degree
  • Jobseeker – financial help if you’re between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work

 Mia and Dinah talk about some of their top hacks for navigation the system including:

  • if you know your circumstances are going to change, plan ahead to assess what you need to do to be eligible for relevant payments or services
  • if you need to call the Centrelink call centre don’t call on Monday – the best times are usually Wednesday and Thursday in the morning
  • if you have a complicated situation do your research, collect all your documentation and then make an appointment to see a Centrelink representative
  • keep all your records accessible in your life admin system to make ongoing management of the payment easier.

RESOURCES

Services Australia  – Guide to Government Payments

Centrelink – Payment and Service Finder

ATO – Government payments, pensions and allowances that must be declared on your tax return

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