You are here
9.4.1 Overview of Children
Last amended: 1 July 2009
Definition of child
A child may be eligible to receive payments or benefits under the VEA in their own right and they may also affect the entitlements of another person (the adult). Section 5F(1) of the VEA defines child as a person under 16, or age between 16 and 25 and in full-time education. A person is not a child if they are receiving certain social security payments. The generally understood meaning of a child as a person who is the biological son or daughter of the adult is extended where the Act refers to the definition of that term in the Family Law Act 1975.
Dependent children and pensions benefits and allowances
For income support purposes, references to a child generally refers to a dependent child. In some instances, there may be additional or extended qualification in terms of the age of the child, the level and the types of income received by the child. Having a dependent child or a [glossary:child:] who meets the relevant criteria can affect:
- eligibility for income support pensions, benefits and allowances, and
- assessment of income support payments.
Dependent child test
The definition of 'dependent child' contained within the Social Security Act 1991 is used for VEA purposes. A young person is generally held to be dependent on an adult where:
- the adult has legal responsibility (alone or jointly with another person) for the welfare of the child, and the child is in the adult's care, or
- the young person is wholly or substantially in the adult's care, and is not a dependent child of someone else.
Income support payments in respect of children
As from 1 January 1998, dependent child add-on, guardian allowance and child related rent assistance were no longer included as components of service pension and income support supplement, unless under the relevant savings provisions, the pensioner's child became a saved child. Instead, these payments formed part of Family Tax Benefit A and Family Tax Benefit B. Where a person has a saved child, these child related payments may be made as part of the person's service pension or income support supplement.
Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.
Section 5F(1) of the VEA defines dependent child as having the same meaning as in the Social Security Act 1991. For income support purposes, dependent child is defined as:
Child under 16 years
- the pensioner has legal responsibility either alone or jointly with another person for the day to day care, welfare and development of the young person AND the young person is in the pensioner's care, or
- the young person is not a dependent child of someone else AND the young person is wholly or substantially in the pensioner's care.
A child under 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they are not a full-time student, and
- their weekly income from any source is more than the amount specified in section 5(3)(c) of the Social Security Act.
Child 16 years or older
A young person who has turned 16 years but is under 22 years can still be a dependent child of the pensioner if:
- they are wholly or substantially dependent on the pensioner, and
- their income in the financial year will not exceed the personal income limit, and
- they are receiving full-time education at a school, college or university.
A child over 16 years cannot be considered a dependent child if:
- they receive a social security pension or benefit such as youth allowance, or
- their personal income is more than the amount specified in section 5(4)(b) of the Social Security Act.
Income includes earning from casual, part-time or full-time earnings.
Note: the meaning of a dependent child for DVA income support pension purposes is not the same as the meaning for Family Tax Benefit purposes.
From 1 January 1998 responsibility for administration of most income support child related payments was transferred to Centrelink. However, saving provisions allow any person in receipt of service pension or income support supplement on 31 December 1997 who would be or is financially disadvantaged by the transfer to continue having their child related payments paid by DVA. Saved children are assessed under the rules contained in the VEA as at 31 December 1997.
Family Tax Benefit A is a payment made by the Family Assistance Office to assist families with the cost of raising children. It replaces Minimum Family Allowance, Family Allowance, Family Tax payment Part A and Family Tax Assistance Part A.
Family Tax Benefit B is a payment made by the Family Assistance Office to provide additional assistance to families with one main earner, including sole parents. It replaces Family Tax payment part B, Dependent Spouse Rebate (with children), Sole Parent Rebate, Basic Parenting Payment, Guardian Allowance and Family Tax Assistance Part B.