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 such as 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. Read more about zones in Australia and tax offsets on the Australian Taxation Office’s website.
Youth Allowance or Austudy students that usually live in a remote area, but do not live in the remote area during terms or semesters, may continue to get this allowance for 8 weeks from the date they leave their usual place of residence.
The 8 week limit does not apply to ABSTUDY students whose permanent home remains located in a remote area even if 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
To remain eligible for Remote Area Allowance while you are outside Australia, you must continue to meet the qualification rules for this payment.
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
Getting control of your money can be hard, but we’ve got some great advice and tools to help. Read more about budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt, to help manage your money.