Melbourne is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, and costs just keep rising and rising. If you have children, it’s even more difficult to juggle bills, school fees and then find the money to ensure they get all the medical treatment they need to live a healthy life.
If you’re delaying taking your child to the dentist for that much-needed check-up because you just can’t afford the bill, then it might be the perfect time to investigate whether you’re eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS).
What is The Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS)?
The CDBS is in $2.7 billion initiative, funded by the federal government. In a nutshell, it is essentially a capped benefit entitlement, designed specifically to assist families in covering the costs of basic dental care.
Am I Eligible?
In order to be eligible for the CDBS, your child must be aged between 2 and 17 years old on at least one day of the calendar year. So, if your child turns 18 on the 2nd of January, you’re still entitled to the benefit for that year.
The benefit is means tested. This means, on a basic level, if you receive the Family Tax Benefits Part A and have a child aged between 2 and 17 years of age, you should be eligible to receive the benefit. Keep in mind that eligibility does depend on individual circumstances, which will be considered by the government during your application. The receipt of other Government benefits may also make you eligible. You must also be eligible for Medicare in order to receive the CDBS. Your eligibility will be tested on a yearly basis but the funds in your Medicare account will be available for a two-year period.
How Much Will I Receive?
The benefit available under the CDBS is capped at $1,000 dollars per child over two consecutive years. It’s important to remember that any unused funds will not be rolled over to the next year. So, you can’t spend $500 over one two-year period and then $1,500 in the next two-year period. Leftover funds will simply be taken from your account.
What Does The CDBS Cover?
The CDBS only covers basic dental needs, such as check-ups, scale and cleans, fillings, root canals, tooth extractions and x-rays.
It doesn’t cover orthodontic treatments, such as braces or plates and it doesn’t cover cosmetic treatments, such as whitening, dental implants or crowns.
How Do I Use The CDBS and Access My Funds?
- Firstly, you should set up a myGOV account in order to receive confirmation of eligibility and to confirm how much of your funs are left. If you prefer using the phone, you can call Medicare on 132 011.
- If you have funds remaining and have confirmed your eligibility, let your dentist know that you are covered by the CDBS at your next visit. Before any treatments are conducted you should check with your dentist to see what is covered by the CDBS and what isn’t.
- If you visit a dentist that bulk bills you won’t have to pay anything. If your dentist doesn’t bulk bill just take the receipt of your payment to the nearest Medicare office and you will be reimbursed the entire amount on the spot. The reimbursement or invoice from your dentists will be deducted from your funds.
To get the most out of your CDBS you need to plan your child’s dental routine – you want to ensure that your funds aren’t exhausted before the two-year period has ended. The best way to do this is to ensure your child goes to their recommended bi-yearly check-up. By doing this, your dentist will be able to find problems early and allow you to plan when they will receive the treatment.
Bi-yearly check-ups will also assist in preventing small problems from becoming big ones. For example, if your child has minor tooth decay they can get a filling, which is covered by the CDBS. If this decay reaches the point where an extraction is required on an adult tooth this will also be covered. However, a dental implant won’t be covered, meaning that the cost of replacing your child’s tooth will have to come out of your pocket.
So, check your eligibility, inform your dentist if you are eligible and ensure that your child gets regular check-ups. This is the best way to get the most out of the CDBS whilst also ensuring that your child has a good oral health routine and doesn’t have to undergo any serious procedures or treatments.
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