You need to know
Eligibility for Rent Assistance
You may be able to get Rent Assistance if you:
- receive a pension (special rules apply if you are aged under 21 and receive Disability Support Pension)
- have dependent children and get more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit
- have care of a child between 14 and 35 per cent of the time and are not eligible for Family Tax Benefit but do meet other Family Tax Benefit requirements or both
- receive an allowance or benefit (but don't have dependent children) and:
- are over 25
- have a partner or
- are under 25 and living permanently or indefinitely apart from your parents or guardians
To receive Rent Assistance, you must also meet the residence requirements of your pension, allowance, or benefit.
Rent Assistance is generally not payable if you:
- have a tenancy agreement (lease) with a state or territory housing authority
- own or are buying the home in which you live (except for mobile and relocatable homes)
- are a homeowner travelling away from your principal place of residence for less than 12 months
- occupy an Australian Government–subsidised bed in an approved residential aged-care facility
- have a partner who receives Rent Assistance with Family Tax Benefit or
- are an allowee with a partner receiving Rent Assistance with his or her pension
To be eligible for Rent Assistance, you must be paying more than the minimum amount of rent shown in the payment rates table for:
- rent (other than to a state or territory housing authority)
- service and maintenance fees in a retirement village
- lodging (if you pay for board and lodging but are unable to tell us exactly what you pay for each, two-thirds of the amount you pay will be accepted)
- fees paid to use a caravan site or other accommodation that you occupy as your principal home or
- fees paid to moor a vessel you occupy as your principal home
Payment rates for Rent Assistance
Find out the payment rates for Rent Assistance.
Payment adjustments for Rent Assistance
If you are getting Rent Assistance, the amount you receive may be adjusted if:
- the amount you pay for your accommodation changes
- your or a family member's circumstances change (which may include your income's increasing, your moving to a new house, or separating from your partner)
- the maximum rate of payment changes. (Rent Assistance is usually adjusted twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September, in line with the Consumer Price Index—that is, in line with increases in the costs of living)
Electronic Verification of Rent — Community Housing
The Electronic Verification of Rent (EVoR) scheme provides a simple, secure method for participating Community Housing Organisations to provide current accommodation data for their customers to the department.
Claiming Rent Assistance
You do not need to lodge a separate claim for Rent Assistance. We will assess your eligibility when you make a claim for another payment, or when you contact to tell us that your accommodation details have changed.
Change of circumstances while receiving Rent Assistance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change while you are receiving Rent Assistance. For example, you need to tell us if:
- the amount of rent you pay changes
- you move house
- your income changes
- your marital status changes
- people move in or out of the house you live in
You need to let us know as soon as possible after the change occurs in case it affects your payment.
If you don't tell us about the changes, you may find yourself in debt. If you are overpaid benefits, you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately don’t tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud.
A recovery fee may be imposed if incorrect information has been given to us about your employment income.
Reviews of Rent Assistance
From time to time your Rent Assistance may be reviewed. In general, you need to provide verification of your rent details in order to receive the assistance.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.