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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Income and Welfare >> Services provided by the Dept. Family & Community Services(FaCS)

Introduction to the income support program

The Australian income support system provides financial assistance to a variety of groups, including families, job seekers, the aged, people with a disability, carers, mature age people, students and Indigenous Australians. Almost two-thirds of Australian families with children or dependants benefit from family assistance and 4.4 million individuals are direct beneficiaries of the FaCS portfolio’s income support payments. Recent and ongoing reforms to the income support system in Australia aim to improve social and economic participation, while retaining a strong and effective safety net for people unable to support themselves.

The main income support payments provided by the Commonwealth for the financial years 1998-99 to 2001-02 are listed in table 7.7. Details of the payments in effect in the 2001-02 financial year, together with associated statistics, are presented in this chapter.

Most allowance types are adjusted once or twice a year in line with movements in the consumer price index (CPI) to maintain purchasing power. Pension payments are adjusted in line with the CPI and male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE), ensuring the single pension rate does not fall below 25% of MTAWE. Many income support payments are subject to income, assets and activity tests, to ensure that benefits are targeted to those in greatest need. Details of the rates in effect at 30 June 2002 are listed in table 7.8.

Since September 1997, Centrelink has delivered most income support payments on behalf of FaCS. Centrelink is a statutory agency established to deliver a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community. It operates under the Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 (Cwlth). Centrelink provides advice about payment entitlements, provides referrals to Centrelink specialist staff for additional assistance, and may refer customers to other departments, agencies or community organisations where appropriate. The Department of Veterans' Affairs delivers the Service Pension to eligible veterans and their families.

Numbers of income support customers referred to in this chapter generally relate to June of the reference year. These numbers are taken from extracts of administrative data as close to 30 June as possible. However, the dates of extracts can vary between payment types. All financial data refer to the full financial year.


7.7 INCOME SUPPORT PAYMENTS(a)

1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
$’000
$’000
$’000
$’000

Family assistance
Family Allowance(b)
6,391,490
6,573,857
-39,532
-37,291
Family Tax Payment(b)
546,217
531,927
-2,286
-3,348
Family Tax Benefit(b)
. .
. .
10,076,463
10,927,703
Maternity Allowance(c)
167,085
195,809
217,899
216,887
Double Orphan Pension
1,725
1,779
1,977
1,976
Youth and student support
Youth Allowance
1,843,498
2,002,830
2,101,915
2,213,719
Austudy
287,173
253,870
249,258
280,794
Student Financial Supplement
259,745
290,681
161,510
500,967
Fares Allowance
690
569
644
525
Child care support
Child Care Benefit(d)
. .
. .
1,037,137
1,315,912
Child Care Cash Rebate(d)
117,000
164,447
-14,597
63
Child Care for eligible parents undergoing training(e)
4,599
11,050
7,301
11,067
Labour market assistance
Newstart Allowance
5,370,669
4,954,450
4,918,349
5,078,220
Parenting Payment
5,402,944
5,494,230
5,325,681
5,571,718
Mature Age Allowance
401,698
367,250
352,596
364,210
Partner Allowance
590,185
646,460
728,679
817,599
Widow Allowance
227,289
270,825
324,919
389,550
Bereavement Allowance
734
782
719
813
Pensioner Education Supplement
44,601
49,571
58,248
65,784
Special Benefits
99,585
98,704
114,778
119,811
Support for people with a disability
Disability Support Pension
4,920,223
5,253,241
5,849,799
6,404,351
Mobility Allowance
46,137
52,096
59,367
67,852
Wife Pension (DSP)
534,069
479,205
446,564
401,969
Sickness Allowance
93,043
83,881
95,554
93,724
Support for carers
Carer Payment
307,506
369,723
480,944
595,810
Carer Allowance(f)
. .
412,334
533,247
645,722
Support for the aged
Age Pension
13,569,056
14,037,940
15,616,477
16,665,653
Aged Persons Savings Bonus
. .
. .
1,581,231
23,723
One-off Payment to Seniors
. .
. .
536,581
(e)10,454
Self Funded Retirees' Supplementary Bonus
. .
. .
582,828
28,519
Widow Class B Pension
105,694
89,849
84,296
59,787
Wife Pension (age)
243,433
240,751
233,080
216,160
Total Special Appropriations(g)
41,825,371
42,926,761
51,753,433
53,118,246

(a) Outlays on Pensions, Allowances and Family Tax Benefits include expenditure on Rent Assistance. Details of Rent Assistance are included in 'Chapter 8, Housing'.
(b) Family tax benefit replaced Family Allowance and Family Tax Payment on 1 July 2000.
(c) Maternity Allowance includes Maternity Immunisation Allowance.
(d) Child Care Benefit commenced on 1 July 2000 and incorporated the Child Care Cash Rebate.
(e) Not included in the Special Appropriations total as they are Other Administered Expenses.
(f) Carer allowance was introduced on 1 July 1999. It combined Child Disability Allowance with Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit, which was the responsibility of the Department of Health and Ageing.
(g) Components do not add to total as some minor allowances and appropriation adjustments are excluded. Payments under the 'State Grants Housing Act 1971' (Cwlth) are included in the total.

Source: Department of Family and Community Services.


7.8 MAXIMUM RATES FOR INCOME SUPPORT PAYMENTS AND BENEFITS - As at 30 June 2002

$

Age Pension(a)
Single
421.80
Couple(b)
352.10
Age Pension Savings Bonus
variable
Austudy(a)
Single or partnered, no children
301.70
Single, with children
395.30
Partnered, with children
331.30
Bereavement Allowance(c)
421.80
Carer Allowance(a)
85.30
Child Care Benefit
Approved care(d)
Non-school age child
2.58
School age child
2.19
Registered care(d)
Non-school age child
0.43
School age child
0.37
Disability Support Pension(a)
Single
421.80
Couple(b)
352.10
Double Orphan Pension(a)
42.80
Education Entry Payment(e)
208.00
Family Tax Benefit Part A(a)
For each dependent child
Aged under 13 years
122.92
Aged 13-15 years
155.82
Aged 16-17 years
39.48
Aged 18-24 years
53.06
Family Tax Benefit Part B(a)
Age of youngest child
Aged under 5 years
105.56
Aged 5-15 years
73.64
Aged 16-18 years and full-time students
73.64
Maternity Allowance One-off lump sum, per birth
798.72
Maternity Immunisation Allowance One-off lump sum
208.00
Mobility Allowance
64.40
Newstart Allowance(a)
Single
Aged 21 or over, no children
369.00
Aged 21 or over, with children
399.00
Aged 60 or over, after 9 months
399.00
Partnered(b)
332.80
Parenting Payment(a)
Sole parents
421.80
Partnered parents
332.80
Partner Allowance(a)
332.80
Pensioner Education Supplement(a)
At least 50% study load
62.40
At least 25% study load
31.20
Student Financial Supplement Scheme
Maximum loan, per year
7,000.00
Youth Allowance(a)
Single, no children
Aged under 18 years, at home
165.10
Aged 18 years and over, at home
198.60
Away from home
301.70
Single with children
395.30
Partnered with no children
301.70
Partnered with children
331.30

(a) Per fortnight.
(b) Each.
(c) Per fortnight for a maximum of seven fortnights.
(d) Per hour.
(e) One-off.
Note: For Carer Payment, Widow Class B Pension, Wife Pension (Age) and Wife Pension (DSP) see Age Pension. For Mature Age Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance see Newstart Allowance and for Special Payment Generally as for Newstart/Youth Allowance.

Source: Centrelink.


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