- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- enrolled in an approved course or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship
- not receiving any other government assistance to study or do an apprenticeship or traineeship
Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for ABSTUDY
To be eligible for ABSTUDY you must be:
- an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian
- able to meet residence requirements
- enrolled in an approved course or undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, and
- not receiving any other government assistance to study or complete your apprenticeship
What ABSTUDY covers
If you are studying at a secondary school or college, TAFE (a technical and further education college), university or other approved tertiary institution, or in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, ABSTUDY can help with your costs for:
- fares to travel to your place of study each term or semester if you need to study away from home
- prescription medicine
If you qualify for ABSTUDY, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits too.
Payment rates for ABSTUDY
The amount of ABSTUDY you get depends on your circumstances, such as your study load, what course you are studying and your age.
Higher rates of ABSTUDY when living away from home
Students living away from home may receive a higher rate of ABSTUDY.
Independence test for ABSTUDY
If you apply for ABSTUDY, you will be assessed as being either dependent or independent.
Income and assets test for ABSTUDY
Income and assets tests may be used to work out how much ABSTUDY you get paid.
Residence requirements for ABSTUDY
To be eligible for ABSTUDY you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be:
- living in Australia, and
- hold Australian citizenship
Students applying for ABSTUDY
If you are a student applying for ABSTUDY you must be:
- enrolled in an approved course of study, or
- undertaking an approved testing and assessment activity that will determine your suitability:
- to undertake an approved course, or
- for the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program
Approved education providers include:
- government schools, including those offering distance education or correspondence courses
- non-government education institutions offering primary, ungraded, secondary, or special courses accredited by the relevant state or territory education authority
- senior secondary colleges
- TAFE institutions
- higher education institution
- correctional services authorities providing secondary or tertiary level Indigenous special courses for students in lawful custody
Approved courses may be studied by:
- attendance at classes
- distance education or correspondence
- external studies
- open learning
- flexible delivery, or
- a combination of the above
Australian Apprentices applying for ABSTUDY
An Australian Apprentice will need a current Commonwealth Registration Number that relates to a full-time apprenticeship, traineeship, or trainee apprenticeship under the Australian Apprenticeships Scheme.
ABSTUDY Residential Costs Option
Payment to help students with the costs of living away from home to study.
Other benefits while receiving ABSTUDY
If you qualify for ABSTUDY, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits, such as:
Before you start
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you claim.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- decide how you will submit your claim
- complete your claim forms
- complete your supporting forms
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Annual parental means test reassessment
Each year in September parents or guardians of dependent Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY Living Allowance customers need to provide their income and asset details.
The Parental Means Test for Youth Allowance and the Parental Means Test for ABSTUDY Living Allowance looks at your parents' or guardians' income, family assets and family actual means for the last financial year. We reassess parental means annually to ensure you get paid the right amount.
You will receive a letter from us between late September and early October if we need your parents or guardians to complete this reassessment.
If your parents or guardians don't complete the reassessment before 1 January each year your Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance payment will stop. You may also miss out on extra services or payments.
Completing the annual assessment
Your parents can complete the reassessment online.
Instructions for parents
Even if you receive Family Tax Benefit for other children in your care, you will still need to complete this reassessment for your dependent Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance child.
Before you start you will need:
- your dependent child’s Customer Reference Number
- their name and date of birth
- the One Time Assess Code from the letter we sent your child
You should ensure you have your income and asset information ready before you start the reassessment, as you will need to complete this process in a single sitting.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide family spending and savings information. You will be advised if this is the case, and will be able to save, exit and return if you need to collect further information for this component of the reassessment.
To get started:
- Go to the Advise Parental Income online service. Read the instructions and select Start now
- Select Provide details for a reassessment of your dependent child's Youth Allowance payment, select Continue. You must also select this option if you have a dependent child who receives ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Select Yes to the question; Do you have a One Time Access Code? Select Continue. If you don't have a One Time Access Code, Select No and skip to step 6
- Enter your dependent child's Customer Reference Number
- Enter your One Time Access Code. Select Continue
- Complete the questions
If you have any technical problems using online account services please call us on 132 307.
If your parents or guardians haven't lodged their tax return
If your parents or guardians haven't lodged their tax return for the 2013-14 financial year they can provide an estimate of their taxable income. Once they lodge their tax return and receive their taxation notice of assessment, you will need to provide us with a copy to us within 21 days from the date of issue on the assessment notice. You can submit this document online.
If your parents' or guardians' income increases
If your parents' or guardians' income goes up more than 25% in a year, your payment may be reduced from 1 October of that year. If the increase is 25% or less, your payment may be reduced from 1 January the following year.
If your siblings' circumstances change
Changes in the circumstances of your siblings, for example if they stop studying or move away from home, may impact on your eligibility and rate of payment. You must tell us if there are changes in the circumstances of any siblings who are:
- receiving Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowances, Assistance for Isolated Children additional boarding allowance, or
- aged 16 – 19 and are in full-time secondary study
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Change of circumstances while receiving ABSTUDY
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about changes your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed if you give us incorrect information about your employment income.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
ABSTUDY while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country your payment will stop on departure.
You need to have an approved reason for payment while overseas or your payment will stop on departure.
If you are a secondary school student and are studying an approved course outside Australia you can either be paid for:
- up to 12 months
- the duration of the study if you are on an approved international educational exchange program, or
- the duration of your parent's posting if your parent, who is employed by the Commonwealth of Australia, has been posted overseas
If you are a secondary non school, tertiary or Masters and Doctorate student or Australian Apprentice and are undertaking approved study or work outside Australia, you can be paid for the duration of the approved activity.
If you are a student studying outside Australia, you need to give us a written statement from your Australian institution confirming:
- that you will remain enrolled with your Australian educational institution
- your study load while overseas
- the duration of your overseas study, and
- that your overseas study will count towards your Australian course
If you are an Australian Apprentice working or training outside Australia, you need to give us a written statement from your employer or State Training Authority confirming:
- the work or activity counts toward your Australian Apprenticeship, and
- your Commonwealth Registration Number will remain current
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you are leaving Australia and you:
- are travelling on a cruise ship
- are studying or working outside Australia as a full time student or apprentice
- are travelling for an acute family crisis or medical treatment that is not available in Australia
- are attending a training camp with the Australian Defence Force Reserves
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
What to do if your account is overdrawn
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
- Managing your money aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals, manage on a low income and identify where to go for urgent money help
- Borrowing & credit provides information on loans, credit cards, other types of credit such as interest free deals and rent to buy, information about credit reports and credit repair and what to do if you are having trouble with debt
- Superannuation & retirement helps you get the most out of your super
- Investing guides you through the basic principles of investing and how to find a good financial adviser
- Scams explains how scams work, how to identify different scams and what to do if you have been scammed
- Life events & you provides information tailored to your situation including under 25s, families and over 55s
- Tools & resources provides handy tools, calculators, publications, audio files and quizzes including a budget planner, retirement planner and mobile apps