Increasing the age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance

The age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance will increase to 25 years of age for new applicants.

This measure has not started. It is subject to the passage of Legislation.

Description of the measure

The age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance will increase to 25 years of age for new applicants. Young job seekers aged 22 to 24 years who become unemployed will receive Youth Allowance (other) until they turn 25 years. They will not be eligible for Newstart Allowance. There is a higher income-free threshold for Youth Allowance, so this change will strengthen the incentive for young unemployed people to work or pursue education and training opportunities.

Details of the measure include:

  • the maximum age for Youth Allowance (other) and Youth Disability Supplement will be increased to 24 years of age (previously 21 years of age)
  • the minimum age for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance will increase to 25 years of age
  • the minimum age at which a Youth Allowance (student) or Austudy recipient can access the Long Term Income Support student rate will increase to 25 years
  • the rate at which Special Benefit is paid will change to align with the changes to eligibility criteria for Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other).

Existing recipients of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance and Long Term Income Support student rate who are aged 22 to 24 years of age on 31 December 2014 will be ‘grandfathered’ and continue to receive payments until they lose qualification.

Questions and answers

Who will be affected by this measure?

A person who is aged between 22 and 24 years of age will only be able to apply for Youth Allowance (other).

A person who is aged 25 years or over will be able to apply for Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance.

For new claimants of Special Benefit, a person who is over 25 years of age will be paid at a rate that is equivalent to Newstart Allowance. Where a person is aged between 22 and 24 years of age, they will be paid a rate that is equivalent to Youth Allowance (other).

There will be no change to the age at which a person will be considered independent. If you are 22 years or over you are automatically considered independent.

Am I eligible for this measure?

People who claim one of the affected payments on or after 1 January 2015 will be impacted by this measure.

Existing recipients aged 22 to 24 years of age on 31 December 2014 will continue to receive payments under ‘grandfathering’ arrangements until they lose qualification.

When will this measure start and finish

This measure will start on 1 January 2015 and is ongoing.

Page last updated: 17 May 2016

This information was printed Friday 30 September 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/corporate/budget/budget-2014-15/budget-measures/young-people-and-students/increasing-age-eligibility-newstart-allowance-and-sickness-allowance It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.