What happens when your child turns 16

When your child turns 16, your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) may change. Your child may be eligible for a payment. They can also register as an organ donor.

At 16, your child can also:

Find out more about applying for a TFN on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Your child may also be eligible for Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

If you have a child with disability, you may continue to qualify for Child Care Subsidy until they’re 18. Read more about Child Care Subsidy.

FTB and study requirements

When your child turns 16, you may continue to get FTB for them. However, they need to be participating in any of the following:

  • full time secondary study or equivalent
  • have an adjusted study load
  • be exempt from the study requirements.

If their study load changes, you need to update this information, it may impact your FTB payments. Read more about changes to FTB if your child is 16 to 19.

If your child repeats Year 12 or an equivalent qualification, you should contact the Centrelink families line.

Employment for teenagers and FTB

If your child starts work while you’re getting FTB for them, you don’t need to let us know. Your child’s income won’t impact your FTB payments.

If your child is 16 or older and starts work, they’ll need to meet study and other eligibility requirements. As long as they continue to meet study and other eligibility requirements, there’s nothing you need to do.

Own payments

Your child may be eligible for a payment in their own right once they turn 16 or 18. This depends on their circumstances.

If you get FTB and your child claims a payment in their own right, your FTB for that child will cancel. If your child’s claim is rejected, you should contact us as your FTB for this child may be restored if they still meet the study and other eligibility requirements.

They may be able to get Youth Allowance if they’re any of the following:

  • looking for full time work
  • an Australian Apprentice
  • independent.

They may also be able to get Youth Allowance if one of the following applies:

  • they need to live away from home to study
  • they’ve finished Year 12 and will continue their studies, for example at TAFE or university.

They may be eligible for ABSTUDY if they’re an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian, 16 or older and are either:

  • studying full time
  • doing an Australian Apprenticeship full time.

Your income will continue to impact your child’s eligibility for payments until they’re 22. Read more about dependent or independent for Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY.

Your child may be eligible for Disability Support Pension (DSP). This applies if you have a child with disability or a medical condition that stops them from working. It must be a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition. Your child must also meet the non-medical rules to get DSP.

They can start a claim early, from 13 weeks before they turn 16.

If they’re eligible, they can get paid DSP when they turn 16.

If your child is a carer, they may be eligible for Carer Payment. They must give constant care to either:

  • someone who has a severe disability or illness
  • an adult who is frail aged.

Remember, you can use the Payment and Service Finder. This tool helps you to find, estimate and compare payments and services your child may be eligible for.

Getting Medicare benefits

Your child must update their bank details to get Medicare benefits. They need to do this whether they have their own Medicare card or choose to stay on your card.

Australian Organ Donor Register

Once your child turns 16, they’re old enough to be on the Australian Organ Donor Register. This is the national register for decisions about donating organs and tissue for transplant.

If your child’s Medicare online account is linked to myGov, they can sign in now to register.

Sign in to myGov

They can also register:

Find out more about the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Page last updated: 10 April 2024.
QC 60246