18.104.22.168 Death of an FTB or regular care child
This topic provides information about bereavement assistance for an individual when an FTB or regular care child dies. The topic covers the following issues:
- eligibility continues for 14 weeks when FTB child dies
- where the individual has been charged with murder or manslaughter
- accepting notice of death for an individual who received instalments
- accepting notice of death for a past period claim
- shared care of FTB child
- lump sum request where period overlaps 2 financial years - individual receives FTB by instalment, and
- calculating FTB bereavement amount.
Eligibility continues for 14 weeks when FTB child dies
If an individual is eligible for FTB for a child, and the child dies, they remain eligible for FTB for that child for a 14-week period beginning on the day the child died. This is known as the bereavement period. If the individual is receiving FTB by instalments, they can receive the bereavement amount paid as a lump sum or continuing instalments for the 14-week period. This also applies to an individual receiving the RA component of FTB by instalments for a regular care child. If the individual was entitled to the lower rate of NBS for the child who died and the child died before their first birthday, they are entitled to the higher rate of NBS (subject to the income test) for that child and can be paid a top-up amount of NBS.
Act reference: FAAct section 31 Continued eligibility for FTB if an FTB or regular care child dies, section 32 Eligibility for a single amount of FTB if an FTB or regular care child dies, section 65 Calculation of single amount for death of FTB or regular care child
Where the individual is charged with murder or manslaughter
Where the individual has been charged with murder or manslaughter of the deceased FTB child/ren, the Secretary may direct the FTB bereavement payments to a payment nominee. While the Secretary may consider the individual's wishes, the final decision rests with the Secretary. The Secretary must seek written consent from the person to be appointed as a nominee (4.1.3).
If the individual is subsequently convicted the bereavement payment received, by the payment nominee is raised as a debt to the Commonwealth.
If all or some of the bereavement period has already been paid or was paid to the individual before they were charged, and the individual is subsequently convicted, the bereavement payment received is a recoverable debt to the Commonwealth.
In all instances, the usual considerations must be given in relation to whether a debt should be recovered, waived, or written off, taking into account the applicable circumstances.
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 71 Debts in respect of family assistance other than CCS, ACCS and FTB advance, section 101 Waiver in special circumstances, section 219TB Appointment of payment nominee, section 219TD Provisions relating to appointments, section 219TE Suspension and cancellation of nominee appointments
Policy reference: FA Guide 22.214.171.124 Payment nominees
Accepting notice of death - individual claims FTB by instalments
Notification that an FTB child has died can be accepted from the individual receiving FTB, a family member or close friend. The following details must be obtained before action is taken to reassess the individual's FTB entitlement:
- full name and address and contact number of the person notifying the death, and
- full name and address of the individual receiving FTB, and
- full name, DOB and date of death of the FTB child, and
- name of the funeral director or hospital.
The funeral director or hospital should be contacted by phone to confirm the details. Centrelink must be certain of the information before taking action.
Accepting notice of death - individual claims for a past period
An individual making a past period claim is not required to provide evidence of the child's death when lodging the claim. However, they should keep a copy of any documents relating to the death with their copy of the claim.
Shared care of FTB child
Where the care of the FTB child was shared and a determination under FAAct section 59 was in place for the child, the amount of the bereavement payment is worked out according to the percentage of FTB for which each individual was eligible.
Each individual is paid the bereavement amount according to his or her own circumstances.
If an individual receives FTB by instalments, they can choose to be paid either a lump sum or ongoing instalments for 14 weeks after the child died. If an individual claims FTB for a past period, they will receive a lump sum.
Lump sum request where period overlaps 2 financial years - individual receives FTB by instalment
If an individual who receives FTB by instalments requests a lump sum payment, the lump sum period starts on the day the request is made for a lump sum payment and ends 14 weeks after the death of the child.
If the lump sum period overlaps 2 financial years, only the income from the first financial year should be used to calculate the lump sum entitlement.
Act reference: FAAct section 65(1) Calculation of single amount for death of FTB or regular care child - Instalment case
Calculating FTB bereavement amount
The amount of FTB paid as a lump sum or as ongoing instalments for 14 weeks following the death of the child is calculated on the assumption that the child did not die, and would have remained an FTB child during the bereavement period. From 1 May 2014, the period of payment does not include any day on which the child would have been aged 16 and over if they were not a senior secondary school child (1.1.S.27). The amount of FTB paid during the bereavement period can be affected by the MAT and maintenance income test which apply during the bereavement period where a relevant period exists (126.96.36.199).
Detailed information regarding calculating FTB bereavement payment is covered in topic 188.8.131.52.