Grandparents: Financial Arrangements if have care of Grandchild

Grandparents Family Law | DIY Family Law Australia

What financial support will you get if you care for your Grandchild? 

How does a Grandchild go to live with a Grandparent?

In some families where parents are deceased or not able to care for their children, a grandparent may have taken on that role and have their grandchild or grandchildren living with them.

A grandchild can be put in the care of a grandparent through a Parenting Order made by the Family Court, or through the Children’s Court, or if the child was placed by a State Government Child Welfare Authority.

There may not be court orders or formal placement and it may be an informal arrangement to care their grandchildren. For example, the parents may have agreed that a grandparent will care for the child, or the child might have come to live with you because their parents were in jail or had some health issue which meant they could not care for their child themselves.

Can a Grandparent receive any financial benefits if their Grandchildren live with them?

There are a few different Commonwealth Government payments available through the Department of Human Resources which are designed to assist grandparents if they are raising and caring for their grandchildren.

If a grandparent has the legal responsibility and day-to-day care of their grandchildren, then they may be eligible for financial assistance.

A grandparent must have the actual care of the child for at least 35% of the time to be eligible for family assistance. This doesn’t usually apply however if the parent of the child also lives in the same household.

What financial assistance is available?

A grandparent should look into whether they might be eligible for the following types of financial assistance:

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A – helps with the cost of raising a child.
  • Family Tax Benefit Part B – additional support for single parent families and for families with one main income where one parent chooses to stay at home or juggle some paid work with caring for their children.
  • Child Care Benefit – a payment to help families who use approved and registered child care (such as a Kindergarten or a third party registered Family Day Care). There can also be extra assistance with the costs of child care through a Grandparent Child Care Benefit.
  • Child Care Tax Rebate – additional help for working families with the cost of child care.
  • Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement – to help with the extra costs of a new or adopted baby.
  • Maternity Immunisation Allowance – a payment paid in two separate instalments for children who are fully immunised or have an approved exemption from immunisation. The first instalment becomes payable when the child is 18-24 months old and the second becomes payable when the child is 4-5 years old.
  • Double Orphan Pension – is available if both parents have died or one parent has died and the other is in an institution such as a prison, psychiatric hospital or is missing and unable to be contacted.
  • Carer Allowance – may be available if a grandparent is caring for a child with a disability.
  • Other payments you should seek information about include the Youth Allowance before your grandchild turns 16 years of age.
  • Health Care Card – If you receive a payment from Centrelink, such as the Age Pension, and if you are eligible for Family Tax Benefit, the grandchildren in your care can be added to your Pensioner Concession Card and receive the same benefits, such as prescription medicines, at the concessional rate. If you do not receive a Centrelink payment but are eligible for the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit A you will automatically be given a Health Care Card for you and the children in your care. If you are not automatically entitled to a Health care Card you may be entitled to a low income Health Care Card.
  • You can also claim a separate foster child Health Care Card from the Family Assistance Office for your grandchild if you are caring for a child through an informal or formal foster care arrangement. The foster child Health Care Card is issued in the child’s name and is not means tested.
  • Medicare benefits – You can claim Medicare benefits for medical expenses for your grandchild. You don’t need to have the child registered on your Medicare card or a card issued for the child. A receipt in your name will enable you to claim the benefit.

The Family Assistance Office within the Department of Human Resources is located in some Medicare Australia offices, Centrelink Customer Service Centres and Australian Taxation Office shopfronts and more information about eligibility for payments should be sought from them.

You can also get much more information about these payments online at or by calling 13 6150.

Grandchildren with Disabilities or a Medical Condition

If a grandchild has been diagnosed with a medical condition or disability then the Grandparent caring for them may be able to apply for:

  • Carer Payments;
  • Carer Supplement;
  • Carer Allowance;
  • Child Disability Assistance Payment;
  • Carer Adjustment Payment.
  • Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement – to help with the extra costs of a new or adopted baby.
  • Maternity Immunisation Allowance – a payment paid in two separate instalments for children who are fully immunised or have

More information about these payments is online at or by calling 13 6150.

Child Support

If a grandchild lives with a grandparent for at least 35% of the time, then they may be entitled to received child support paid by one or both of the child’s parents.

If this is the case then the grandparent needs to apply for a Child Support Assessment.

Depending on the whether any financial benefit is received from Centrelink, Centrelink may actually require the Grandparent to apply for child support.

Once an application for child support is made, the Child Support Agency will proceed to assess the financial circumstances of both parents.  A grandparent cannot ask for the assessment to be made against one of the parents only unless there are special circumstances. An example of special circumstances might be if one parent  has died, or if the grandparent fears violence from the person if they seek child support from them.

More information can be obtained from the Department directly by phoning 131 272.

Payments from State Child Welfare Authority

If a child has come under the care of an Australian State Government Child Welfare Authority (such as the Department of Child Safety in Queensland, the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Victorian Child Protection Service, Department for Child Protection in Western Australia, Children and Youth Services in Tasmania, Department of Child Protection in South Australia, Territory Families in the Northern Territory and Child and Youth Protection Services in the ACT) and the Children’s Court has given that Government Department parental responsibility, but a Grandparent is the full time Authorised Relative Carer, then you may be entitled to a Statutory Care Allowance to help with the daily costs associated with the child such a food, clothing, education, travel etc.

Grandparents time with Grandchildren: More Information

We also have the following information sheets on this same topic of Grandparents spending time with their Grandchildren, on Grandparents rights and similar issues facing Grandparents:

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