Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New education requirement for Family Tax Benefit Part A

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law
    Minister for Human Services

From 1 July 2010, new education participation requirements will be introduced for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for young people aged 16 to 20.

This means that around 300,000 children aged from 16 to 20 will need to be enrolled in a full-time course leading to Year 12 or equivalent qualification, or have completed the course, for their families to be eligible to receive FTB Part A.

The participation requirement has applied to new customers since 1 January 2010.

From 1 July, the participation requirement will apply to all FTB Part A children aged 16 to 20 years.

The participation requirement is part of a suite of reforms agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in April 2009 aimed at increasing young people’s participation in education and training.

These reforms deliver on the Australian Government’s commitment to providing financial support to families based on the principles of engagement, participation and responsibility.

The Government recognises the value of completing secondary school and the negative impact that leaving school early can have on a young person’s lifelong employment.

Education is critical to shape people’s life chances, especially their ability to get a good job.

The Government is determined to take steps to make sure the young people of today do not become the long-term unemployed of tomorrow.

The participation requirement is designed to help the Government achieve its target of a 90 per cent Year 12 or equivalent attainment rate by 2015.

Eligible courses must assist or allow the young person to complete a Year 12 or equivalent qualification – considered to be a Certificate Level II course under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Exemptions will apply when the young person lacks the capacity to study due to illness or impairment, where there is no locally accessible course, or if other special circumstances exist.

The new requirements were legislated in late 2009.

For families to receive FTB Part A for a child aged over 21, and FTB Part B for a child aged 16 to 18, these young people must already meet a full-time study requirement.

Centrelink wrote to affected families in December 2009 and March 2010 to advise of these new rules.

Since then Centrelink has followed up families with phone calls and via SMS.

Centrelink is writing again to families who have not responded, or are no longer eligible, to advise that the payment for the affected child will stop from 1 July 2010.

Families who believe they are eligible should contact Centrelink (13 6150) to discuss their circumstances.

If they are found to be eligible, the payment for the child will be reinstated and backdated to 1 July.

Young people who do not meet the FTB Part A participation requirement may still be eligible for Youth Allowance.

In addition, young people can also access support from Job Services Australia, which provides assistance to people wanting to improve their employment prospects, by registering on 13 2850.