126.96.36.199 Change of Care of an FTB Child
This topic provides information on:
- the requirement to notify Centrelink of a change in circumstances,
- circumstances in which FTB may continue to be paid,
- verification of care when a new carer claims FTB, and
- new carer in hardship.
Requirement to notify Centrelink of a change in circumstances
A person (1.1.P.80) receiving instalment payments of FTB is required to notify Centrelink of any change in circumstances that can affect their eligibility for FTB. If the person stops having the daily care of an FTB child, they must notify Centrelink regardless of whether another person is expected to claim for the child.
Circumstances in which FTB may continue to be paid
In some circumstances, payment of FTB to an individual can be extended if their child is prevented from being in their care without their consent or legal authority.
FTB may also continue to be paid to an individual in circumstances where there is a short-term break in care arrangements for a child. This may apply when the child is with another carer or ACO on holidays, or where the usual parent or carer is in hospital receiving medical care. Generally this would be for a period of less than 4 weeks.
Example: Kellie has 100% care of her daughter Erika. Kellie has agreed with Erika's father Gavin that Erika be in his care for 3 weeks while she is recovering from surgery. As this is a short term temporary arrangement Kellie will still receive FTB for Erika.
Verification of care when a new carer claims FTB
When a claim for FTB is received from a new carer, including an ACO, the decision maker must determine whether there has been a change in care for FTB purposes. For a detailed discussion on how to determine this, see 188.8.131.52 Formal & Informal Care of an FTB Child.
As part of the process of determining whether there has been a change in care for FTB purposes, the decision maker must verify who is actually caring for the child.
If legal responsibility for the child has been transferred to the new carer (formal care), the relevant court or state/welfare authority can assist in verifying care. However, evidence of who is actually caring for the child should also be obtained. Evidence may be obtained from a range of sources, including:
- confirmation of play group, kindergarten or school enrolment,
- proof of attendance or membership of local organisations or activities,
- receipts for expenses incurred while the child was in care,
- confirmation of the level of care from close family friends or relatives,
- confirmation from professional members of the community who have regular contact with the family, such as teachers, social workers, police, ministers of religion, accountants, lawyers or doctors, and
- records from Centrelink or other government agencies which confirm the care.
It may be more difficult to verify who is caring for the child where legal responsibility has not been transferred (informal care). If a new carer does not have legal responsibility for the child, it is necessary to confirm that the child is not in the care of a person who does have legal responsibility for the child. Evidence of who is actually caring for the child may be obtained from a range of sources, as outlined above.
The new carer should be advised that, if the losing carer provides conflicting information about who is caring of the child, payment of FTB will be reviewed, which may lead to an overpayment.
An ACO would not generally be eligible for FTB for a child in their care for a period under 28 days as this is considered temporary and short-term care. However, there may be situations where the child is in the care of an ACO for under 28 days but the previous carer does not want to be paid FTB for the child. In this case, the ACO may be eligible for FTB from the date the child enters their care.
Act reference: FAAct section 22 When an individual is an FTB child of another individual
New carer in hardship
The new carer's eligibility for FTB may be determined without delay if the new carer is:
- in financial hardship, and
- claiming an income support payment (1.1.I.50) through Centrelink, and
- the previous carer cannot be contacted by phone.
Verification of who is caring for the child is still required as for any other change of care situation.