Balancing your family assistance payments

After the end of the financial year we balance your payments to make sure we pay you the right amount.

Watch this video to find out more about balancing your family assistance payments.

What you need to do

Before we can balance your payments, you usually need to confirm your income. You don’t need to call or visit us to do this. You need to either:

  • lodge your tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • tell us you don’t need to lodge one and confirm your income online.

If you have a partner, they’ll need to do this too. If you separated during the year, we may also need your ex-partner's income.

Check if you need to lodge a tax return

To check if you need to lodge a return, use the Do I need to lodge a tax return? tool. It’s available on the ATO website. If you have a partner, they should check too.

Tell us about your income

After 30 June 2020, we’ll need your income information for the 2019-20 financial year.

Once you and your partner have lodged a tax return, the ATO will send us the income information.

If you or your partner don’t need to lodge a tax return, you need to let us know. You can do this and confirm your income for the year using either your:

You won’t be able to tell us you don’t need to lodge a tax return for 2019-20 until July.

Our online guides will help you tell us you don’t need to lodge a tax return using either:

There are time limits for confirming your income with us.

When we balance your Family Tax Benefit (FTB)

When we balance your FTB depends on your circumstances. We can only balance FTB when we have all the information we need from you and the ATO. If you've lodged your tax return, the ATO will send us your income information. We usually get this within 28 days from when you get your Notice of Assessment from them.

If we owe you money, we’ll finalise balancing your payments as quickly as we can.

If we think we've paid you too much during the year, we won’t finalise balancing your payments straight away. This is because we’ve paused a range of debt activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. If this happens you can check the balancing status in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

When you open the app, select Profile, followed by Financial details from the menu. Your balancing status will display in the Family Tax Benefit section. Select view for more information. You’ll be able to see that your balancing is on hold because we’re pausing some debt activity.

There’s nothing else you need to do. We’ll finish balancing your payments and write to you with the outcome once the pause has ended.

If you get FTB fortnightly

You’ll get your last FTB payment for the 2019-20 financial year between 2 and 15 July 2020. Your FTB can only be balanced after we’ve paid this last payment and we’ve got the information we need.

If you separated from a partner

If you separated from a partner during the year, we’ll balance your FTB after you confirm your income. We’ll use the income estimate provided for your ex-partner if they haven't lodged a tax return yet.

If you’re single and got an income support payment

If the following applied to you, we’ll balance your FTB without you doing anything:

  • you were single for the whole year
  • you got an income support payment for the whole year
  • your earnings didn’t reduce your income support payment to zero at any time in the year.

If you’re in this situation find out when we’ll balance your FTB.

When we balance your Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

We'll balance your CCS as quickly as we can, but there may be delays. If we owe you money, we’ll finalise balancing your payments as quickly as we can.

If we think we've paid you too much during the year, we won’t finalise balancing your payments straight away. This is because we’ve paused a range of debt activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. If this happens you can only check the balancing status in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

We balance CCS separately to FTB. We start balancing these payments when we get all your child care attendance from your child care service. We can only balance CCS when we have all the information we need from you, the ATO and your child care service. If you separated during the year, we may also need your ex-partner's income.

If you've lodged your tax return, the ATO will send us your income information. We usually get this within 28 days from when you get your Notice of Assessment from them.

If you separated from a partner

If you separated from a partner during the year, we may use their income to balance your payments. We can’t balance these payments until either:

  • your ex-partner lodges a tax return
  • you tell us they don’t need to.

If you don’t think your ex-partner will lodge their tax return by 30 June 2021, call the Families line. It’s important you do this before 1 July 2021. We may be able to balance your Child Care Subsidy based on an estimate of their income.

We’ll balance your payments again if your ex-partner lodges a tax return later.

How to check if your payments have been balanced

Once we've balanced your payments, we’ll let you know the outcome. Please don’t call or visit us to check on the progress of this.

For FTB, you can check in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. When you open the app, select Profile, followed by Financial details from the menu. Your balancing status will display in the Family Tax Benefit section. Select view for more information.

For CCS, you can check in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. When you open the app, select More, followed by Child Care then Payment Balancing from the menu.

You can also check using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select Menu, followed by my family, then Child Care. From there you’ll be able to select Payment Balancing for more information.

Once we’ve balanced your payment we’ll let you know in the app and in writing. You’ll get a letter in your myGov inbox or the post, depending on how you get letters from us.

How to understand the balancing result

Top ups and supplements

We may not have paid you enough FTB or CCS during the year. If this happens, we’ll pay any outstanding amounts directly to you when we balance your payments. We call this a top up.

When we balance your FTB we’ll also check if you’re eligible for any supplements. This includes the FTB Part A supplement, FTB Part B supplement and the Single Income Family supplement.

You’ll only be eligible for:

  • FTB Part A supplement if your income is $80,000 or less
  • Single Income Family Supplement if you were eligible on 30 June 2017 and have stayed eligible.

We’ll also check if you’re eligible for the $750 Economic Support Payment if:

  • you got FTB at a zero rate
  • claimed FTB as a lump sum.

The ATO may use your top up and supplement payments to repay your tax debts.

What happens if you have an outstanding debt

We’re pausing some debt activity during the coronavirus pandemic. During the pause, if you have an outstanding debt with us, we won’t recover it from any of the following:

  • your FTB top up and lump sum claim payments
  • your CCS top up and arrears payments
  • your FTB supplements
  • your CCB or CCR arrears.

If you have an outstanding child support debt, we may still recover it during this time. We may recover it from all of the following:

  • FTB payments including top ups and lump sum claims
  • FTB supplements
  • your tax refund.

If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO, they may recover it from both of the following:

  • your FTB top up and supplement
  • your FTB lump sum claim payments.

Overpayments

If we think we've paid you too much FTB or CCS during the 2019-20 year, we won’t finalise balancing your payments straight away. This is because we’ve paused a range of debt activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There’s nothing else you need to do. We’ll finish balancing your payments and write to you with the outcome once the pause has ended.

When the pause has ended, we may recover overpayments of FTB and CCS from all of the following:

  • future FTB payments, including arrears
  • FTB top ups and supplements
  • tax refunds.

We may also recover overpayments of CCS from future CCS payments.

We’ll recover overpayments of both FTB and CCS even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us. You can check your Centrelink debts online. Select Money You Owe from either:

If you disagree with a decision we've made, you have the right to ask us to review it. Read more about reviews and appeals.

It's important to review your income estimate regularly. If you underestimated your family income for the 2019-20 financial year, make sure your current estimate is accurate. Update it whenever things change. This will help you avoid an overpayment or underpayment.

It’s also important you update your activity details every time there’s a change. We use your activity level, withholding percentage and family income estimate to work out how much CCS you can get. Keeping all your details up to date will help you avoid an overpayment.

It’s important you talk to us if you’re worried about paying back a debt. We can work with you to set up a repayment plan you can afford.

Read more about owing money.

No change

If we’ve paid you the right amount of FTB or CCS during the year there’ll be no change.

What you need to do for child support

If you pay or receive child support, we use your taxable income to calculate child support payments.

Once you’ve lodged your tax return the ATO will send us your income information.

If you don’t need to lodge a tax return, you still need to tell the ATO. The ATO will let us know. We can then make sure your child support payments are correct.

Changes to your child support payments may affect your FTB Part A.

Read more about how your income affects your child support payments.

Page last updated: 29 May 2020