In recent years, homeschooling has become an increasingly popular option for many families in Australia. For this reason, there is more interest in than ever in homeschool payments.
For single parents, the decision to homeschool their children can present unique challenges, particularly when it comes to finances. With many single parents already struggling to make ends meet, the additional costs associated with homeschooling, such as curriculum materials, technology, and educational resources, can be overwhelming.
In this article, we explore the various financial support options available to single parents who choose to homeschool their children in Australia in 2023, as well as how to access these resources.
By understanding the financial support available for homeschool payments, you can make an informed decision about whether homeschooling is a viable option for you and your family.
Note: Eligibility criteria and payment amounts for benefits may vary depending on individual circumstances, and not all families will be eligible for every benefit. It’s recommended that homeschooling families research each benefit thoroughly and speak to a qualified government agency to determine which benefits you may be eligible for.
Related reading: Understanding single parent benefits in Australia.
Homeschool payments and benefits for single parents
Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
Family Tax Benefit (FTB) is a payment provided by the Australian government to eligible families to assist with the cost of raising children. Homeschooling parents in Australia may be eligible for FTB, provided they meet certain criteria.
To be eligible for FTB, homeschooling parents must:
- Have a dependent child who is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 19 if they are still studying full-time)
- Be responsible for the day-to-day care of the child
- Must meet residency requirements (i.e., they must be an Australian resident or hold a special category visa)
- Must pass an income test, which takes into account the parent’s income, the number of children in their care, and other relevant factors
The amount of FTB received by homeschooling parents will vary depending on their individual circumstances. The payment is means-tested, meaning that it is calculated based on the parent’s income and other factors, such as the number of children in their care and their age.
In addition to FTB, homeschooling parents may also be eligible for the FTB supplement, which is a payment made at the end of the financial year to families who received FTB during the year. The FTB supplement is designed to provide additional assistance to families who are raising children on lower incomes.
Note: Families must meet ongoing eligibility requirements to continue receiving FTB. This may include keeping up-to-date with child immunisations, attending health checks, and meeting income reporting requirements.
More about Family Tax Benefit (FTB).
Child Care Subsidy (CCS)
Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a payment provided by the Australian government to eligible families to help cover the cost of approved child care services. While homeschooling parents in Australia may not use traditional child care services, they may still be eligible for CCS if they meet certain criteria.
To be eligible for CCS as a homeschooling parent, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be the primary carer of your child and provide a homeschooling program that meets the government’s homeschooling requirements
- Your child must be of the eligible age (i.e. between 5 and 12 years old) and meet other CCS eligibility criteria, such as being immunized and attending regular health checks
- You must meet the income and activity test requirements, which consider your income, the number of hours you work or study, and other relevant factors
If you are eligible for CCS as a homeschooling parent, you may receive a percentage of the subsidy rate, which varies depending on your income and other factors. The subsidy rate may be up to 85% of your childcare fees, subject to an annual cap. The subsidy can be paid directly to the homeschooling parent, rather than a traditional child care provider.
Note: The CCS program has specific rules and requirements for homeschooling parents, such as ensuring that the homeschooling program is registered and meets government requirements. Additionally, the subsidy may only be paid for approved hours of care, which may differ for homeschooling programs compared to traditional child care services.
More about Child Care Subsidy (CCS).
Newstart at a higher rate
Newstart is a government payment provided by the Australian Department of Social Services to eligible individuals who are unemployed and looking for work. It is designed to help support individuals financially while they search for employment and is part of Australia’s social welfare system.
To be eligible for Newstart, you must be an Australian resident, be aged between 22 and Age Pension age, and meet income and asset tests. You must also be actively seeking employment and meet the job search and other requirements set out by the Australian government. If you are a single parent, you may also be eligible for the Parenting Payment in addition to, or instead of, Newstart.
The Australian Government Social Security Guide states you are eligible for the highest rate of payment if you are:
Single principal carer with an exemption from mutual obligation requirements EITHER:
- Because of caring for large family or foster child/ren, OR
- Who is a home or distance educator of child/ren in their care.
More about the Newstart allowance.
Centrelink Mutual Obligations for homeschooling single parents
Centrelink Mutual Obligation requirements refer to the activities that job seekers must do to receive their income support payments, such as attending appointments, undertaking job search activities, and participating in training or work experience programs. However, in some cases, Centrelink may grant exemptions from these requirements, including for homeschooling single parents.
To qualify for a mutual obligation exemption, homeschooling single parents must provide evidence to Centrelink that they are actively engaged in homeschooling their child/children. This may include providing details of the curriculum and learning activities, submitting learning plans and assessments, and demonstrating regular attendance and participation in homeschooling-related events.
Once Centrelink has approved the exemption, homeschooling single parents will not be required to participate in mutual obligation activities for the duration of the exemption period. This means they can focus on providing education to their child/children without having to balance their responsibilities with job search activities.
Note: Mutual obligation exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and the eligibility criteria and exemption periods may vary depending on the individual’s circumstances. Additionally, Centrelink may periodically review the exemption to ensure that the homeschooling activities are ongoing and meeting the required standards.
More about Mutual Obligation Requirements.
Homeschool payments and benefits for single parents (cont.)
Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC)
Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) is a financial assistance program offered by the Australian government to help families who live in isolated or remote areas provide educational opportunities for their children. The program is designed to support families with homeschool payments and benefits for single parents 2023 who live in areas where there are no local schools or where distance and travel time to school is significant.
To be eligible for AIC, families must meet certain criteria. Firstly, they must live in an area classified as “isolated” or “remote” by the Australian government. Secondly, the child must be a full-time student between the ages of 7 and 16 years old and be studying an approved course. Finally, the family must not have access to a school or distance education service within a reasonable distance of their home.
If you meet these eligibility criteria, you may be able to receive financial assistance through AIC to help cover the costs associated with educating your child. The types of assistance available may include:
- Boarding allowance: This allowance can help cover the costs of sending your child to a boarding school or hostel if there are no suitable educational options available near your home.
- Second home allowance: This allowance may be available to help cover the costs of setting up and maintaining a second home closer to a school if there are no educational options available within reasonable travel distance of your primary residence.
- Distance education allowance: This allowance can help cover the costs of enrolling your child in a distance education program, which may include access to online learning resources and support from remote teachers.
To apply for AIC, you will need to complete an application form and provide supporting documentation, such as proof of your child’s enrolment in an approved course, evidence of your residential address, and any other relevant information requested by the Australian government. You can submit your application online or by mail, and it will be assessed by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
More about Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC).
State-specific funding for homeschool payments
In Australia, there are state-specific funding programs available to assist homeschooling families, including single parents. These programs can help with the cost of educational resources, materials, and programs that may be required for homeschooling.
For example, in New South Wales, the Home Schooling Assistance Program (HSAP) provides funding to homeschooling families to help with the cost of educational resources and activities. To be eligible for HSAP, families must be registered with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), and must meet specific criteria.
Similarly, in Victoria, the Homeschooling Support Fund provides financial assistance to families who are homeschooling their children. The fund can be used to cover the cost of educational materials, resources, and programs that may be required for homeschooling.
Other states and territories in Australia also have specific funding programs available for homeschooling families. For example, in Queensland, families may be eligible for the Distance Education Allowance, which provides financial assistance to families who are living in isolated areas or are unable to attend school for medical reasons.
Note: The eligibility criteria and funding amounts may vary depending on the state or territory in which you reside. To find out more information about state-specific funding programs for homeschooling families, it’s recommended that you contact your local education department about your eligibility for homeschool payments.