Income and assets test for Youth Allowance

The amount of Youth Allowance you may get will depend on your personal circumstances.

If you are dependent

If you are 21 years of age or younger and do not meet any of the independence criteria, you are considered dependent. If you are dependent, we will use a personal income test and a parental income test to work out how much Youth Allowance you can get.

The amount you get each fortnight is worked out using either of these tests. The test that results in the lowest payment rate will apply. 

If you are independent

If you are applying for Youth Allowance, you will be considered either dependent or independent. If you are 22 years of age or older, you are automatically considered independent. If you are 21 years of age or younger, you will only be considered independent if you have supported yourself through employment, have or have had a dependent child or meet certain other independence criteria.

If you are independent, we will use a personal income test and a personal assets test to work out if you are eligible for Youth Allowance and how much you will get. If you have a partner, we will also use the partner income test.

If you are independent, your parents' or guardians' income is not generally taken into account if you are from a regional or remote area applying for Youth Allowance through independence through part time work or earnings for rural and remote students. In this situation, you may be eligible for Youth Allowance if your parents' income is under $150,000.

Personal assets test

If you are an independent student, Australian Apprentice or job seeker, the personal assets test applies to you. There are different assets limits, depending on if you have a partner or own your home. We will ask you to provide the current market value of your assets when you claim Youth Allowance. The personal assets test does not apply if your partner is on an income support payment.

Read more about assets and the assets test limits.

If you have recently received any income from leave or redundancy, an income maintenance period may apply.

If you are in severe financial hardship but are not eligible for ABSTUDY because of the assets test, you may be paid under Asset Hardship provisions.

Parental income test

If you are deemed a dependant, the parental income test will apply to you unless your parents or guardians receive an income support payment - this does not include Family Tax Benefit.

In 2016 we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income for the 2014-15 tax year. If your parents' or guardians’ taxable income for the 2014-15 tax year was $51,027 or less, it will not affect your payment.

If your parents or guardians earned more than $51,027 in the 2014-15 tax year, your payment might be reduced by up to 20 cents for every dollar over this amount depending on how many dependent children are in your family pool, as defined below. You can use the online rate estimator to work out how much you may get based on your family circumstances.

The parental income test applies to the parents or guardians who you normally live with, or last lived with if you do not live with either parent or guardian. If you normally live with a step parent, their income will need to be included.

Parental income includes:

  • combined parental taxable income
  • reportable fringe benefits received from employers
  • income from outside Australia
  • reportable superannuation contributions, and
  • total net investment losses such as negative gearing losses for that tax year

If your parent pays child support, this amount will be deducted from their parental income.

The family pool

The family pool is a term used to refer to the dependent children in your family who may affect your payment rate.

Your eligibility for Youth Allowance or the amount you get may be affected by your parents’ or guardians’ income. To work out what portion of their income affects your eligibility for payment, other dependent children 21 years of age or younger who are supported by the same income, are also considered. This is known as the family pool. 

This means that when there is an additional dependent child or children in your family pool, you may become eligible for Youth Allowance or if you’re already getting Youth Allowance, your payment could increase. If a dependent child leaves your family pool, your payment may decrease.

If you have other dependent children in your family, use your Centrelink online account through myGov to verify we have their details so we can include them as part of your family pool. If we don’t have details of all dependent children in your family, you may not receive the correct rate.

Dependent children can be included in the family pool if:

  • they are receiving Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or income tested School Fees Allowance Group 2
  • Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance is being paid for them, or
  • they are up to 19 years of age, and, if 16 to 19 years of age, attending secondary school

If there is a shared care arrangement in place for a child in your family, this may also be taken into account.

You can quickly and easily check and update your family’s details online using your Centrelink online account through myGov.

Changes to your parents' or guardians' income

Your parents or guardians must tell us if there are any changes to their income. Sometimes, if there is a change in your parents’ or guardians’ income, your payment rate may change. It might also change if your siblings’ circumstances change.

Where there has been a change in your parents’ or guardians’ income, the parental income test can be worked out on your parents’ most recent income. For example, if you study in 2016 and your parents’ income has significantly increased or decreased, your parents’ income for the 2015-16 tax year may be used.

Your parents or guardians must update their income every year. Read more about the annual parental income test reassessment.

Income Bank for students

If you earn money from paid work, Income Bank helps you keep more of your Youth Allowance when you are a student.

Working Credit for job seekers

Youth Allowance job seekers who are looking for work have access to Working Credit instead of the student Income Bank. This helps you keep more of your Youth Allowance payment if you do any part time or casual work. It also makes it easier for you to get Youth Allowance back if you have a short-term full time job.

When your total income is less than $48 a fortnight, you will automatically build up Working Credits. You will earn 1 Working Credit for every dollar under the threshold. For example, if you earn $20 a fortnight, you will earn 28 Working Credits.

When you have income from work, your credits will reduce the effect that income has on your Youth Allowance payment.

You can collect up to 3,500 credits and for every credit you can earn $1 extra before your Youth Allowance payment is reduced. Your credits will also help you keep more of your payment when you start a full time job. This means you could get some or all of your Youth Allowance payment in addition to your pay when you first start work.

Online estimators

Use our online estimators to help you work out how much you might get.

Page last updated: 11 July 2016

This information was printed Saturday 1 October 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/income-and-assets-test-youth-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.