Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Remote Area Allowance
You may be eligible for Remote Area Allowance if you:
- receive an income support payment from us - for example, Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment single or Youth Allowance and either
- usually live in a remote area that is defined as Tax Zone A including, with some exceptions, Special Zone A or Special Zone B, or
- have temporarily moved to a remote area that is defined as Tax Zone A including, with some exceptions, Special Zone A or Special Zone B, with the length of your stay expected to be more than 12 months
You cannot get Remote Area Allowance if you:
- move permanently outside the qualifying tax zones
- live in ordinary Tax Zone B, or
- live in a region within Special Zone A that is not eligible for Remote Area Allowance, for example Norfolk Island
The Australian Taxation Office determines tax zones.
If a Youth Allowance or Austudy student's usual place of residence is in a remote area, but the student is not living in a remote area during terms/semesters, Remote Area Allowance may continue for eight weeks from the date on which he or she leaves the usual place of residence.
There is no eight week limit for ABSTUDY students whose permanent home remains located in a remote area even where they study outside a remote area.
Payment rates for Remote Area Allowance
The payment rates for Remote Area Allowance are:
|If you are||The fortnightly payment is|
|Plus||$7.30 for each dependent child|
Remote Area Allowance is not taxed.
Income and assets tests
You do not have to meet income or assets tests in order to receive Remote Area Allowance.
Zone tax offset
If you receive Remote Area Allowance, the amount of zone tax offset you would usually receive is reduced dollar-for-dollar.
Your Remote Area Allowance is reviewed if you change address.
You do not need to make a claim for Remote Area Allowance. You are automatically assessed when you get your income support payment if you are living in a qualifying tax zone, or when you move permanently to a qualifying tax zone.
If you are eligible to receive the Remote Area Allowance, we will send you a letter advising when your payment starts and how much you will get.
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Remote Area Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change while receiving Remote Area Allowance. For example, you need to tell us if you change address or leave Australia.
You need to let us know about any changes within 14 days in case they affect your Remote Area Allowance. If you don't tell us about changes, you may be overpaid and will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately don’t tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud.
Remote Area Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
You will continue to be paid Remote Area Allowance for the first 8 weeks of any temporary absence from the remote area where you are living. This includes travel overseas.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
Check your main payment type to find out whether you should tell us if you are leaving Australia.
MoneySmart offers free independent guidance to help people make the most of their money.
- Managing your money aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals, manage on a low income and where to go for urgent money help
- Borrowing & credit 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 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 information tailored to your situation including under 25s, families and over 55s
- Tools & resources handy tools, calculators, publications, audio files and quizzes including a budget planner, retirement planner and mobile apps