Preparing for a New Baby on a Low-Income

financial help for familiesA baby can undoubtedly bring a lot of joy and excitement to any home. The new addition to the family is certainly a cause for celebration. However, adding a baby to the household can also be quite expensive, and the standard baby items, such as nappies, a crib, clothing, baby food and childcare. It does not take long for all of these things to add up and it can put a huge strain on your household budget. The good news is that the government offers several great programs that can help offset some of these additional costs. Below is a look at some great ways the government can helps supplement these new expenses.

Maternity Leave
Depending on where you work, you may be eligible for maternity leave payments for a set period after the baby is born. You should check with your employer to see what options are available to you. The government also offers Parental Leave Pay for all mothers who meet the income and asset eligibility requirements. This pay is offered for up to 18 weeks after the baby is born and is set at a maximum payment of $622.10 per week. Dads or partners may also be eligible to receive two weeks’ worth of leave pay to stay home with the baby. The Dad and Partner Pay is set at a maximum of $622.10 per week for only two weeks.

The government also used to offer a Baby Bonus payment, but this additional bonus ended on March 1, 2014. Instead, the government has increased the amounts for the Family Tax Benefits, Part A, listed below.

Parenting Payment
As long as you meet the income requirements, you will also be eligible for Parenting Payments once the baby is born. These payments could be made up until your child is six-years old, if you are married, or eight-years old if you are single. These payments are made on a fortnightly basis and are as much as $699.90 if you are single, $452.30 if you are married and $542.10 if you are married but currently separated. This payment is designed to help offset some of the costs associated with raising a child.

Childcare Benefits
If you plan to go back to work and need help paying for childcare, the government also provides assistance to help offset these fees. The Child Care Benefit will help cover some, or all, of your childcare fees. The amount the government will pay is based on several factors, including your income and family size. You may also be eligible for a Child Care Rebate. This rebate will reimburse you for 50 per cent of your child care payments, up to $7,500 per year. You must meet income requirement and you must first make payments for child care in order to receive the rebate.

Family Tax Benefits
You may also be eligible to receive payments from the Family Tax Benefits program. This program offers financial support to families with children. You must meet the strict income requirements to qualify, and your payments will be based on you family income, as well as, the number of age of your children.

All of these programs are designed to help cover some of the costs associated with raising a baby. However, these programs do not cover everything. That is why it is important to start saving as much as possible before the baby arrives, and to create a household budget that includes the new expenses that a baby will bring. With careful planning, you will be able to prepare for the new addition to your home well before he or she arrives.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography /

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