Families - coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out about your family payments and child support if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

There are changes to claims and your obligations due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes changes to waiting periods, the income test, what you need to give us, and your obligations. We’ve suspended participation requirements for Disability Support Pension. We’ve also paused a range of Centrelink debt raising and recovery activities.

From 6 April to 28 June 2020, you won’t need to pay child care fees when you access child care. We will provide more details soon.
Learn about the $750 one off Economic Support Payment as part of the Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

Your child care arrangements, and being able to meet your work or study requirements for CCS, may be impacted. This includes if:

If your child can’t attend child care

In some situations, your child can’t attend child care. This could be because:

  • your child is sick or isolated
  • you’re sick or isolated
  • you choose to keep them away as a precaution.

If your service is open and they’re charging you fees, you may still get CCS.

You can now get CCS for 20 extra absences per child for the 2019-20 financial year. This means, you can get up to 62 absences. You can use these absence days for any reason. You don’t need to do anything for your CCS to continue and we don’t need evidence.

The 62 days include absences your child’s had or will have this financial year, not only absences because of coronavirus. In special circumstances, you may be able to get CCS for more than 62 absence days. Talk to your child care service about this.

If your child care service closes

When your service chooses to close

If your service decides to close because of coronavirus, and they can’t provide sessions of care, you shouldn’t be charged fees.

This is different to other reasons it may close, such as a local emergency or public holiday.

When your service has to close

Your service may close temporarily because of public health advice. If this happens, you may not have to pay a gap fee. You should talk to your service about payments if this happens.

If your activity hours change

Your hours of activity, such as your work and study, affect how much CCS you can get.

You don’t need to update your activity test for CCS if:

  • you or your child need to self isolate
  • you’re on a period of leave.

If you’re casual or have irregular hours of work, we normally ask you to estimate your hours for 3 months. If your hours have reduced because of coronavirus, there’s no need to change your hours right now.

You may be exempt from the activity test if you’re experiencing exceptional circumstances. We assess these on a case by case basis. Please call the families line to discuss your circumstances.

If your hours change for any reason not related to coronavirus, you should still update your activity test for CCS.

If your family income changes

Your family income estimate affects how much CCS you can get. If you or your partner stop work, your family’s income may change. Read our guide about how to update your income estimate.

When you get payments from us

You may need to include some payments you or your partner get from us in your family income estimate. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment
  • Coronavirus Supplement.

The $750 Economic Support Payment is a non-taxable payment. You don’t need to include it in your family income estimate.

Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS)

If you’re in financial hardship

If you use child care, and are in temporary financial hardship because you can’t work, you can apply for ACCS Temporary Financial Hardship.

ACCS provides extra help with the cost of approved child care for up to 13 weeks. You can get up to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight.

You’ll need to provide evidence of your reduced ability to pay child care fees, like an email from your employer.

To claim ACCS you must:

  • be eligible or already get CCS
  • have experienced temporary financial hardship due to an event in the last 6 months
  • have a substantially reduced ability to pay child care fees.

If you already get CCS, you need to apply for ACCS Temporary Financial Hardship.

If you don’t get CSS, you need to claim CCS and apply for ACCS Temporary Financial Hardship at the same time.

Family Tax Benefit (FTB)

Coronavirus may impact your Family Tax Benefit (FTB). This includes if:

If your family income changes

Your family income estimate affects how much FTB you can get. If you or your partner stop work, your family’s income may change. Read our guide about how to update your income estimate.

When you get payments from us

You may need to include some payments you or your partner get from us in your family income estimate. This includes:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment
  • Coronavirus Supplement.

The $750 Economic Support Payment is a non-taxable payment. You don’t need to include it in your family income estimate.

If your child’s over 16 and can’t study

When your child turns 16, you may continue to get FTB for them. However, they need to be in full time secondary study or exempt from the study requirements.

Your child may still meet these study requirements even if:

  • they’re sick or isolated
  • their school closes
  • you choose to keep them away as a precautionary measure.

If they intend to return to study, you’ll continue to qualify for FTB. There’s nothing you need to do.

Parental Leave Pay

In most cases, your employer pays your Parental Leave Pay. If your employer can’t pay you because of coronavirus, we can pay you.

Tell us about this change online. Sign in to your Centrelink online account through myGov, then select Parental Leave Pay Circumstances.

If we haven't assessed your claim yet, call the Families line.

The Work Test

The work test hasn’t changed.

If you can’t get Parental Leave Pay, you may be able to get Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement. This is after your child’s birth.

You may be eligible for another payment now. Find out more if you need a payment because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you stopped work because of the risk to your pregnancy

Depending on your individual work circumstances, we may move your work test period under the Dangerous Job provisions. If you had to stop working due to the risk of coronavirus, you may still meet the work test. You must provide proof from your employer and a medical professional. This proof must confirm you stopped work because of the risk to your pregnancy.

Child Support

If you have a child support assessment and your situation has changed, tell us so we can update your details. This includes if your income levels have decreased or care of your children has changed.

This is important so we can make sure your assessment is correct.

You can update your details online, through the Express Plus Child Support mobile app or by calling us.

Contact us

If you’re concerned about coming to a service centre to do business with us you can use our online services.

If you don’t have access to a self service option please call either:

Telehealth options

If you’re pregnant, you can get bulk billed consultations by videoconference or telephone with a:

  • GP
  • Obstetrician
  • Registered Midwife.

If you’ve had a baby in the last 12 months and need to see a health professional you can get bulk billed consultations by video conference or telephone with a:

  • GP
  • Obstetrician
  • Registered Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Specialist
  • Allied mental health professional.

Family and domestic violence

If you’re affected by family and domestic violence, we can help. We provide information, support and referrals.

Page last updated: 2 April 2020