In recent months immunisation has resurfaced as a prominent topic of discussion in the media by politicians and doctors as a result of the launch of the new immunisation requirements for family assistance payments in Western Australia which took effect on 1 January 2016.
What does "No Jab, No Pay" mean for me in relation to the Family Tax Benefit Part A?
From 1 January 2016, your child will need to meet the immunisation requirements if:
- You are the parent of the child or partnered to the parent of a child on the last day of the relevant financial year; or
- You have had care of the child for at least 182 days during the financial year, including the last day of the relevant financial year.
From 1 January 2016, in order for you to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A for a child who is 1 year or older in the relevant financial year, your child needs to:
- Be up to date with immunisations listed in the Child programs table on the National Immunisation Program Schedule – these immunisations are typically given to children under 5 years of age; or
- Have an approved medical exemption; or
- The secretary has determined that the child meets the immunisation requirements
Other children who may meet the immunisation requirements are children who are:
- Participants in a vaccine study approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council;
- Unable to be immunised in a situation where the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has declared that the relevant vaccine/s are temporarily unavailable provided that the child has received all other relevant vaccinations and this is only until such time as when the vaccine becomes available; and
- Immunised overseas in a country which meets the immunisation requirements if a registered immunisation provider completes and signs an immunisation history form for the vaccines administered overseas.
There following are approved medical exemptions however, each type of exemption requires particular evidence to be provided:
- The child has a medical contraindication, or
- The child has natural immunity, or
- The child is a part of an approved vaccine study, or
- The vaccine is temporarily unavailable, or
- The child is vaccinated overseas, or
- The Secretary has determined that the child meets the immunisation requirements.
What does "No Jab, No Pay" mean for me in relation to the Child Care Benefit?
Immunisation requirements apply to all children and young people under 20 years of age.
Your child needs to be up to date with their immunisations when you claim. You'll need to provide your child's Medicare number at the same time. We'll use this to check with the AIR if your child is up to date.
Your child must meet immunisation requirements for Child Care Benefit to receive Child Care Rebate.
Not meeting the requirements will also affect your child's eligibility for:
- Grandparent Child Care Benefit
- Special Child Care Benefit, and
- Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance
What is the "Healthy Start for School Requirement"?
If you are the parent to a child or partnered with the parent of a child who turns 4 in that financial year and either you or your partner receive both the Family Tax Benefit Part A and an income support payment, you are required to ensure that your child has undergone a recognised health check and that Centrelink is notified that the health check requirement is met by the end of the financial year in which the child turned 4.
If you fail to ensure your child has undergone the recognised health check or you do not notify Centrelink that a health check has been completed by the end of the financial year after your child turns 4, part or all of your Family Tax Benefit Part A will be withheld.
There are some exemptions which include: where the child turning 4 has a severe disability or medical condition and has undergone a medical assessment suitable to the child's needs, issues of isolation, issues where people have lost then regained the care of their child etc.
What is the "free catch up"?
For children who are less than 10 years of age, from 1 January 2016 all states and territories will be providing free catch up vaccines on an ongoing basis for children that are overdue for vaccines on the National Immunisation Program covering the vaccines which are usually administered by 5 years of age.
In the age group of 10 to 19 years, there are a number of vaccines which are not registered for use in those who are aged over 10 years therefore alternative vaccines will be made available to vaccination providers for no cost for a time limited period. It is essential that parents speak with vaccination providers to develop a catch up schedule which is appropriate for their child or children.
What is the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register?
Presently, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register ("ACIR") only holds immunisation records for children up to 7 years of age. From 1 January 2016, all vaccination providers must submit details of all vaccines given to people less than 20 years of age to ACIR. It is anticipated that ACIR will be expanded to include all ages and will eventually become the Australian Immunisation Register ("AIR").
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.