If you are a student living in Australia, you may be eligible for financial assistance. That assistance might be in the form of Youth Allowance payments. Australia’s Youth Allowance program can help you to pay for expenses that you may not otherwise have the money to pay for. Here’s how the program works.
What is the Youth Allowance Program?
Youth Allowance benefits are given to people between the ages of 16 and 24 who meet certain requirements. You do not necessarily even need to be a student to collect. You could be an apprentice, or you could also be seeking full-time employment. However, it is mainly a service used to support those who are continuing their education.
Age Requirements for Youth Allowance
If you are either 16 or 17 years old and you have completed year 12, or if you are in full-time secondary school, but living a distance from home, you may qualify. If you are those same ages and declared independent, you may also qualify. If you are between the ages of 16 and 24 and a full-time apprentice in Australia, you may also qualify. Other things that may qualify you for Youth Allowance include being a full-time student age 18 to 24, or looking for full-time employment and being between the ages of 16 and 21.
Other Requirements for Youth Allowance
When you are being assessed to see if you qualify for Youth Allowance, other things will be taken into consideration. One of those things is whether or not you are independent from your parents. If you are at least 22 or have your own child, you will be considered independent. If that’s the case, your parents’ income will not be counted when determining whether or not you need financial help. Only your own income will be taken into account. You may also be considered independent if you meet the following requirements:
- During the previous two years you have worked 30 hours a week for at least 18 months to support yourself.
- You are incapable of living with your parents and they cannot meet their parental obligations.
If you live in a remote area, you may also qualify if you have worked part-time for 2 years or more.
The Parental Means Test
If you are found to be dependent, you can still qualify for Youth Allowance benefits. In fact, you may be able to use some of those benefits to help your family, rather than just paying for your own needs. However, your parents will first have to submit to what is called the parental means test. That test will use their income to determine what benefits, if any, you may qualify for under Youth Allowance.
How Much You Might Receive
Youth Allowance payments are made fortnightly (every 14 days). The amount you can expect to receive each fortnight depends on your situation. For example, if you are single, living with your parents, and under the age of 18, the most you can expect to receive is $223 every 14 days. That amount could be lower, depending on other factors, such as how much money your parents make.
Another scenario would be if you are living with a partner and have children. In that case, you could potentially receive as much as about $447 every 14 days. Whereas, if you were single with children, you might be eligible for up to about $533 in fortnightly benefits. Visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/youth-allowance/payment-rates for more information on how much you may be eligible to receive.
How to Make a Claim
If you think that you are eligible for Youth Allowance, the next step will be to start your claim process. Most eligible parties can claim Youth Allowance online. In order to do that, you should first make sure that you have all relevant information available, such as your tax file and bank account numbers. You should also be aware that, if you want to make a claim that you are independent because you are 22 or over, you must wait until you actually are 22. You cannot start the process early without risking being assessed as dependent.
When you are ready to make a claim, you can visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/youth-allowance/claiming. Simply sign up for a Centrelink account or log on to your existing account to start the process.
You should be aware that you cannot claim Youth Allowance online if you are a job seeker. You are also not obligated to make a claim online under any circumstances. So, if you are a job seeker, do not have consistent online access, or would simply feel more comfortable applying by phone, you should call 132 490 to begin the process of registration for Youth Allowance.