Government Payments

Council of Single Mothers and their Children has gathered this overview of Centrelink payments to help single mothers navigating the system.

The federal Department of Human Services (DHS), through Centrelink, is responsible for administering income support and emergency payments on behalf of the Australian government.

Income support payments

The most common payments single mother families may be entitled to are:

  • Family Tax Benefit helps Australian families, up to a certain income level, with the costs of raising children.
  • Child Care Benefit can help with the cost of approved and registered childcare.
  • Parenting Payment Single is an income support payment available to single parents whose youngest child is aged up to 8 years (eligibility depends on income and other circumstances). While receiving Parenting Payment Single you are obliged to look for 15 hours work per week once your youngest child turns 6. This obligation can be satisfied through paid work, study and some forms of volunteer work.
  • Newstart Allowance can help single parents whose youngest child is 8 years old or over. While receiving Newstart you are obliged to look for 15 hours paid work per week once your youngest child turns 8. (Newstart payments are not sufficient for parents raising children alone and CSMC maintains this is not a suitable income support payment for any single parent.)

Depending on your personal situation you may be eligible for other payments or benefits and in some cases there may be exemptions you can receive in order to make a claim. There are quite a number of different payments and exemptions so look into all the entitlements you may qualify for. Contact Centrelink and make an appointment with one of their Social Workers or contact CSMC if you need assistance.

Links and phone numbers

Families (including Parenting Payment, Child Care Benefit and Family Tax Benefit A & B): 136 150

Jobseekers (including Newstart Allowance): 132 850

All DHS payments and services

DHS self service and online services

Having problems?

Budgeting and planning can be difficult and it can feel impossible when payments are reduced or stopped without you understanding why.

Centrelink complaints line: 1800 132 468

For assistance independent of DHS call our CSMC support line on 03 9654 0622 (if you’re out of Melbourne call 1300 552 511 for the cost of a local call).

or go to:

National Welfare Rights:  Melbourne 03 9481 0355 Geelong 03 5221 4744                    Rural 1800 094 164

Received a debt letter?

National Welfare Rights fact sheet is updated as new information is released.