What is the Youth Allowance?

The Youth Allowance, managed and dispersed by the Department of Human Services of the Australian Government via Centrelink provides financial help for people from the ages of 16 to 24 years who are studying, training, in an apprenticeship, or seeking employment. You must be an Australian resident to make a claim for the Youth Allowance. You can collect this particular subsidy whether you are a dependent or not.

How do I become eligible for the Youth Allowance?

There are definite eligibility requirements for the Youth Allowance. You must be sixteen to twenty-one years old and looking for full-time work; eighteen to twenty-four years old and studying full-time, sixteen to seventeen years old with a year 12 completion or sixteen or seventeen in full-time secondary study and living away from home. You are also eligible if you are between 16 and 24 years old and embarking on a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.
If you are a dependent, then your parent’s income and assets help determine how much money you will get.
What matters most is your age and whether or not you are doing an approved course or activity, if you are dependent or independent, what your residence requirements are, and what the result of your mandatory income and assets tests show.

There is also a category of eligibility for independent youth allowance where you are qualified if you are under the age of 22, and have supported yourself through full-time work at an average of thirty hours a week for at least 18 months, have a dependent child or are unable to live at home due to exceptional circumstances, or because your parents cannot be responsible for you.

If you live in a an inner regional, outer regional, remote or very remote area you can get assistance if you have worked a minimum wage level for an 18 month period or worked at least fifteen hours each week for at least two years.
If you are an independent, a Personal Income Test and a Personal Assets Test will be used to work out how much you can get with regards to Youth Allowance. If you are independent, there are not parental contributions to take into consideration. However, if you are from a remote area or regional area then your parental income must be lower than $150,000 for you to get a rebate. You can access the income and assets test at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/youth-allowance/income-assets-test.
The rate you end up with is variable, as you do have to take a maximum fortnightly payment. The lowest you will receive is $223 if you are single with no kids, under 18 years old, and still living at your parental home. If you are a single job seeker with children you could receive as much as $683.50.

There are also special rates available if you are older than 22 years and are a long time income support receiver for at least 26 of the previous 39 weeks or a migrant student that does not speak English.

Other Facts You Should Know About the Youth Allowance

Expect your Youth Allowance to be reviewed every now and then. The amount you receive may be adjusted due to a change in your income, because of a move or because of a divorce or separation.
If you are a dependent that gets Youth Allowance, Centrelink will request information about your parent’s income every September.

If you earn money from being paid for work you will be able to keep more of your Youth Allowance if you register for Income Bank. You can earn up to $405 a fortnight before your payment experiences a reduction. The difference between the $40 and what your earnings are, is put into your Income Bank. The cap amount for the Income Bank is $10,100 if you are a student or $1000 if you are working as an Apprentice.

You can also receive a working credit called Youth Allowance Job Seekers. If you make less than $48 a fortnight you accumulate working credits. You accumulate one working credit for every dollar under the threshold. For example, if you earn $18 a fortnight, you will earn 30 credits to make up for the low wages as compensation under the Youth Allowance Job Seekers program.

More information is available at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/youth-allowance.