4.4.8 Review of FTB Entitlements
To ensure an individual receives the correct rate of FTB by instalment, an automated review of their entitlements (1.1.E.30) must be conducted just before an FTB child turns 16 or 18 years of age and prior to the expected end date of their course if they are a senior secondary school child (1.1.S.27).
Note: The below reviews apply to FTB Part B where the individual is single or they are a member of a couple, and they are a grandparent or great-grandparent. The rate of FTB Part B is nil for individuals who are not in these categories once their youngest child turns 13 years of age.
FTB child turning 16 years of age
In order to be entitled to FTB a child over the age of 16 years must be participating in full-time senior secondary study.
Before the child's 16th birthday, the individual is sent a letter informing them of the date their child is expected to complete secondary study. The letter tells the individual that, if this information is incorrect or ceases to be correct, they must update their child's education details. No action is required from the individual, if the information in the letter is correct.
FTB child turning 18 years of age
If the individual is receiving child support for the child and the child will continue in full-time secondary study after their 18th birthday, the individual will need to take action to extend their child support assessment until the end of the school year, otherwise they may fail the MAT for the child which would reduce their rate of FTB Part A payment (188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206).
If the child support case was initiated as an agreement, signatures of both the payer and payee are required to extend the child support case past the child's 18th birthday. If one party refuses to extend the case, the party that attempted to extend the case has taken reasonable maintenance action and their rate of FTB Part A for that child will not be reduced to the base rate. However, in most cases if the payee does not take steps to extend the child support case (obtain maintenance) the payee is deemed to have not taken reasonable maintenance action and their rate of FTB Part A for that child will be reduced.
In the case where action could result in the payer swapping to be payee, the payer does not have to take maintenance action for FTB purposes.
Where it would disadvantage one party to extend the agreement it may be appropriate that the refusing party not fail the MAT.
Explanation: If extending the agreement would result in an individual who now has more than 65% care of the children being maintained as a payer, they will not fail the MAT if they refuse to extend. Similarly, if extending the agreement would result in an individual who now has no care of the children being maintained as a payee, they will not fail the MAT if they refuse to extend.
Parents with an agreement that modifies a pre-existing child support assessment do not need the consent of the other parent to obtain an extension of the child support assessment. If the parent does not apply to extend the assessment before the child's 18th birthday, the individual has not taken reasonable maintenance action and their rate of FTB Part A for that child will be limited to base rate.
If the child is the individual's youngest FTB child, and is a senior secondary school child, FTB Part B ceases to be paid at the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 18.
In some circumstances it is possible the FTB child may be eligible for an amount of YA greater than the individual's FTB Part A entitlement for that child.
Explanation: The individual is provided with information prior to each FTB child in their care turning 18 to ensure the individual and child have enough information to make an informed decision about claiming YA or a prescribed educational scheme payment. An individual's FTB entitlement will be cancelled if their FTB child is granted payment of YA, a prescribed educational scheme payment, or payment under a LMP.
FTB child completing full-time secondary study
Completion of full-time secondary study affects the senior secondary school child status of the child which affects FTB child eligibility. Prior to the child's expected course end date, the individual will be sent a letter informing them of the date their child is expected to complete secondary study. The individual does not need to do anything, if the information is correct. The individual must update their child's education details if the child will remain in study or not complete their course.
Note: When a child has turned 19 and the calendar year in which the child turned 19 has ended, the FTB Part A rate payable for the child may also be affected, as the child will no longer be a senior secondary school child.
Act reference: FAAct section 22 When an individual is an FTB child of another individual
Shared care of FTB for child turning 16 or 18
A review letter is sent to each instalment individual who is sharing the care of an FTB child about to turn 16 or 18.
The term 'shared care' only applies in situations where parents or carers of a child have at least 35% (i.e. at least 128 nights a year) care of a child.
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 25 Obligation to notify change of circumstances, section 25A Secretary's power to approve manner of notification, section 31 Variation of instalment entitlement determination to reflect changes in eligibility, section 154 General power to obtain information, section 157 Obtaining information to verify claims etc