Understanding your FTB balancing outcome

Once we’ve balanced your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) we’ll let you know the outcome in writing.

Your FTB balancing outcome will be one of the following:

  • a top up including supplements, where we owe you money
  • a debt, where you need to pay money back
  • no change, where you got the right amount of FTB.

If you get top ups and supplements

If we didn’t pay you enough FTB during the financial year, you may get a top up. When we balance your FTB we’ll also check if you’re eligible for any of the following:

We’ll pay any top ups and supplements you’re eligible for directly to you. We’ll do this after we’ve checked for any debts you might have with the Australian Government.

If you get an overpayment or have existing debts

If we paid you too much FTB during the financial year, you may get a debt, due to being overpaid. We call this an overpayment.

We can recover any new overpayments, or other existing Centrelink debts you have from any of the following:

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

We call this debt offsetting and use it to reduce the amount you owe. We can recover your debts from these payments even if you have a repayment arrangement with us.

We won’t recover existing debts if repayments are paused due to a disaster or an emergency event or a pending formal review. Find out more about when you can pause your debt repayments.

If we recover your debt from your tax refund, it’s important to know this offsetting process is different to the tax refund garnishee process.

ATO debt recovery

If you have an outstanding debt with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), they may recover it from any of the following:

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

Read more about how to repay money you owe to Centrelink.

If we use your tax refund to recover your overpayment or existing debt it will show as a Credit offset to Centrelink on either:

  • your Notice of Assessment
  • statement of account from the ATO.

The best way to avoid an overpayment is to do both of the following as soon as possible:

You can also reduce your risk of being overpaid with payment choices.

If you need to pay back money you owe

If your Centrelink online account is linked to myGov, you can check your Centrelink debts online. To do this, sign into myGov and select Money you owe.

You can change or pause your debt repayments if you’re affected by a current disaster event in your state or territory.

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 you talk to us if you’re experiencing financial hardship or worried about paying back a debt. We can work with you to set up a repayment plan you can afford.

Read more about Centrelink debts and overpayments.

Page last updated: 17 October 2023.
QC 65039