Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Telephone Allowance
There are 2 rates of Telephone Allowance, depending on your circumstances. Your eligibility is assessed when you make a claim for certain Centrelink payments.
You may be eligible for the basic rate if you have a telephone connected in your or your partner's name and are in receipt of:
- Disability Support Pension and are under 21 with no dependent children
- Parenting Payment (single)
- Parenting Payment (partnered) if you claimed on or after 1 July 2006 and have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work due to a disability
- Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance and you are over 60 and have been in receipt of an income support payment continuously for 9 months
- Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Special Benefit or Parenting Payment (partnered) and are over 60 but under Age Pension age and have been in receipt of an income support payment continuously for 9 months
- Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance and have a partial capacity to work as assessed by a Job Capacity Assessor
- Partner Allowance, or Parenting Payment (partnered) and your partner is over 60 and receives Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance and has received income support payments continuously for 9 months
- Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance and are a single principal carer of a dependent child
You may be eligible for the higher rate if you:
- receive Disability Support Pension
- are aged under 21 with no dependent children, and
- have a home internet service connected in your or your partner's name
Payment rates for Telephone Allowance
Telephone Allowance is paid quarterly with the first regular Centrelink payment you receive on or after 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year.
These payment rates are updated on 20 September each year.
|Telephone Allowance||Amount per quarter|
|Basic rate (single or couple combined)||$26.40|
|Higher rate (single or couple combined)||$39.40|
Any concessions or discounts your telephone provider or internet service provider may offer are not related to Telephone Allowance.
Telephone Allowance is not taxed.
Income and assets tests
You do not have to meet income or assets tests to qualify for Telephone Allowance.
Payment adjustments and reviews for Telephone Allowance
Telephone Allowance is usually adjusted on 20 September each year in line with the Consumer Price Index—that is, in line with increases in the costs of living.
From time to time, your eligibility for the allowance may also be reviewed.
Other benefits while receiving Telephone Allowance
If you qualify for Telephone Allowance, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits, such as:
Claiming Telephone Allowance
When you claim certain Centrelink payments, your eligibility for Telephone Allowance is assessed at the same time.
If you already receive a qualifying Centrelink payment and you later become a telephone or home internet subscriber, it is important that you tell us that your circumstances have changed.
If you disagree with a decision we make
You always have the right to appeal any decision we make. Read more about reviews and appeals.
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Telephone Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change while you are receiving Telephone Allowance. For example, you need to tell us if you are no longer a telephone or home internet subscriber.
You need to let us know about any changes within 14 days in case they affect your allowance. You can tell us about these changes:
- Online – you need to register to use some of the services, then you can do many thing where and when it suits you
- On your mobile device – our Express Plus mobile apps are simple, fast and convenient, giving you more choices for dealing with us
- using a self service terminal at one of our service centres
- on the phone
If you don’t tell us about changes, you may be overpaid and you will probably have to pay the money back.
Telephone Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
If your main payment type cannot be paid outside Australia, then you will not be paid Telephone Allowance while you are outside Australia.
Otherwise you will be paid Telephone Allowance if your payday is within the first 6 weeks of your absence and you continue to be a telephone or internet subscriber.
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.