Home educating families with children up to age 16 are eligible for the Family Tax Benefit Part A if they meet the other criteria.
As of January 1st 2014, a change to the eligibility criteria for FTB Part A means that students 16 and over must be “undertaking full-time education or training in an approved course leading to a Year 12 or equivalent qualification.” Centrelink (and the federal govt) recognise VRQA registration as indicating a child is in full-time education but NOT that they are in an approved course with an approved institution leading to a Year 12 qualification. This renders Victorian home educated families ineligible for the FTB A for students aged 16 and over.
From December – March we lobbied to have this reversed but have had no success.
So the current options for Victorian home ed families with kids over 16 are:
Continue home educating the way you always have without a Centrelink payment.
Enrol in year 10 or VCE with Distance Ed (you need to have been registered with the VRQA for at least 12 months)
Look at other full-time options that meet the YA criteria – TAFE, Open Uni, AYCE programme – see our Older Students section for details.
A combination of part-time work/part-time study can qualify as ‘full-time education’. Centrelink will not give a blanket comment on what constitutes suitable study /work experience etc. but volunteering can apparently count as part-time work. Families could apply for FTB A regardless and, when it is rejected, they can appeal the decision where it will be looked at on a case by case basis.
From the Department of Human Services website:
[Eligibility criteria for FTB Part A]
From 1 January 2014, the following change will start:
young people aged 16 to 17 years who have completed their Year 12 Certificate or equivalent qualification will not qualify for Family Tax Benefit Part A.
Family Tax Benefit Part A will only be payable for:
children aged 0 to 15 years
young people aged 16 to 19 years (up until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 19) who are in full‑time study to complete their Year 12 Certificate or equivalent qualification.
Eligibility criteria for Youth Allowance:
Financial help for people aged 16 to 24 years who are studying full-time, undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work.
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16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities
18 to 24 years old and studying full-time
16 or 17 years old and have completed year 12 or equivalent
16 or 17 in full-time secondary study, who need to live away from home in order to study, or are considered independent for Youth Allowance
16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship