Did you know that you could be eligible to receive up to $1,000 to help cover the cost of basic dental care for your child? Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and are missing out on the opportunity to receive this valuable financial assistance.
What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a government benefits program that provides financial assistance to help cover the cost of certain dental services for eligible children aged 2 -17 years. 
Under the CDBS, Medicare covers up to $1,000 over the period of 2 calendar years for basic dental services, which include: 
- fissure sealing
- root canals
Services that are not covered by the schedule are orthodontic dental work, cosmetic dental work and any in-hospital dental services. 
Is my child eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?
If your child matches the eligibility criteria, Medicare will automatically send you a letter – there is no need to apply or register. Your child is covered by the CDBS if: 
- they are eligible for Medicare
- they are aged between 2 and 17 years for at least one day that year
- they or you received an ‘eligible payment’ at least once that year. In this case, you must be either the child’s parent or guardian, or an approved care organisation. Here is a list of eligible payment types.
How to check your child’s eligibility
At the beginning of and throughout the year, Medicare checks to see if your child is eligible for the CDBS. If they are eligible, Medicare will send you a letter. If you are unsure about your child’s eligibility status and would like to check yourself, you can either: 
- call 132 011 (the Medicare general enquiries line). Click here for a full list of Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support phone numbers
- login and check your Medicare online account
When does the two year period start?
The two year period starts at the beginning of the calendar year when your child becomes eligible and has their first dental service.  You are able to use the full amount ($1,000) in the first year. If you do not use all of the $1,000 in the first year, you are entitled to use the rest in the second year, as long as your child remains eligible. 
If you don’t use all of the $1,000 within the two calendar years, you can’t use the remaining funds and will have to wait for a new two year cover period to start again.
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How to make a claim
When you book an appointment with your dentist, make sure you say that you want to use the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. If you have used the CDBS beforehand, make sure you haven’t already reached the $1,000 limit, by either calling Medicare (132 011) or checking your Medicare online account. 
When you first arrive at the dental clinic, make sure you ask how much each service will cost and if CDBS covers the services. You should then receive a consent form, which you will need to sign, that says you agree to the services and costs. 
Will I need to pay up front under the CDBS?
If your dentist bulk bills, you won’t need to pay on the day of the service. 
If your dentist doesn’t bulk bill, you will receive a bill to pay on the day of the service. You can then claim a benefit from Medicare (sometimes you can do this straight after you pay at the clinic). Here is how you can make a claim. 
Find and book an appointment with HealthEngine
With HealthEngine, you can check which dental practices offer the Child Dental Benefits Schedule near you. Why not find and book a Medicare-supported dental appointment for your child today.
- Australian Government Department of Human Services (online). Child Dental Benefits Schedule [accessed 29 Jan 2020]. Available from: URL link
- Australian Government Department of Human Services (online). Child Dental Benefits Schedule: What’s Covered [accessed 29 Jan 2020]. Available from: URL link
- Australian Government Department of Human Services (online). Child Dental Benefits Schedule: Who can get it [accessed 29 Jan 2020]. Available from: URL link
- Australian Government Department of Human Services (online). Child Dental Benefits Schedule: Eligibility checks [accessed 29 Jan 2020]. Available from: URL link
- Australian Government Department of Human Services (online). Child Dental Benefits Schedule: How to claim [accessed 29 Jan 2020]. Available from: URL link