Federal Government has announced that Budget 2023-24 will expand access to financial support by raising the age cut-off for the Parenting Payment (Single) from 8 to 14.
Many single parents – overwhelmingly women – face difficulty balancing caring responsibilities and work. These difficulties do not end when their child turns eight.
As many single mothers who have experienced violence from a previous partner are at greater risk of financial hardship. The Federal government understands they need more support.
This Budget will extend the Parenting Payment (Single), so eligible carers can access that support until their youngest dependent child turns 14.
From 20 September 2023, and subject to the passage of legislation, single parents will no longer have to transfer to JobSeeker when their youngest child turns eight.
These parents will continue to receive the higher support, with a current base rate of $922.10 per fortnight (95 per cent of the Age Pension), until their youngest child turns 14.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “Single parents carry the world on their backs. They sacrifice so much to give their children a better life.”
“This is about giving them the greater security and better support they deserve.
“No one held back and no one left behind has always been the principle that guides me.
“This change to single-parent payments is about making things fairer for parents who are already doing it tough.”
“I know this will make a big and immediate difference for tens of thousands of mums, dads and children right across Australia,” PM Albanese added.
With these changes, eligible single parents currently on JobSeeker will receive an increase to payments of $176.90 per fortnight.
By 14, children have typically settled into high school and need less parental supervision, and single parents are in a much stronger position to take on paid work.
More than 90 per cent of parents who will benefit from this change are single mothers.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said, “No parent should have to choose between meeting their children’s needs and their family’s safety or economic security.
“Reduced opportunities to participate in paid work, coupled with the additional costs associated with raising children, make single-parent households more vulnerable to economic insecurity.”
“Labor’s changes will support more single parents and their children to ensure they have the safety net they need and that they are supported to re-enter the workforce when their children get older.
“We will always seek to do more to provide a safety net to those who need it,” Minister Rishworth added.
Federal Budget changes will provide additional financial support to at least 57,000 single principal carers, including 52,000 women and around 5,700 First Nations carers.
This represents a $1.9 billion investment through 2026-27.
Mutual obligation requirements will remain in place for recipients of Parenting Payment (Single) to encourage single parents to participate in employment, study or training, and maintain connections with the labour force so they can return to work when their children are older.
Our Budget is all about helping families deal with day-to-day financial pressures while creating more economic security for them over the long term. This change extends that support to some of the families who need it the most.