Income and assets tests for ABSTUDY
We may use income and assets tests to work out how much you should be paid. We may assess your income, your family’s income and your partner’s income.
If you claim ABSTUDY, we will use a Personal Income Test and other tests to work out how much you should be paid. The test that results in the lowest payment rate will apply.
If you are younger than 22 and don’t meet any of the independence criteria, you are dependent. We will use a Personal Income Test and a Parental Income Test to work out how much ABSTUDY you can get.
If you are independent, we will use a Personal Income Test and Personal Assets Test to work out how much ABSTUDY you can get. If you have a partner, their income and assets will also affect your payment.
Read more about the independence test for ABSTUDY.
Personal Income Test
We will test your personal income if you are 16 or older, or if you are an independent Australian Apprentice younger than 16. The Personal Income Test assesses your gross income.
We update the Personal Income Test on 1 January, 20 March, and 20 September each year.
If you earn:
- less than $433 a fortnight, you will get the full payment
- between $433 and $519 a fortnight, we will reduce your payment by 50 cents for each dollar you earn over $433
- more than $519 a fortnight, we will reduce your payment by $43.00 plus 60 cents for each dollar you earn over $519
You can earn more without affecting your payment with Income Bank. You can save up credits in your Income Bank when you earn less than $433 in a fortnight. Students can save up to $10,800 in Income Bank credits each year. Apprentices can save up to $1,000 a year.
Read more about Income Bank.
Personal Assets Test
If you are a student or an Australian Apprentice and you’re independent, assets you own can affect your payment. The asset limits depend on whether or not you have a partner or own your own home. We will ask you to provide the current market value of your assets when you claim ABSTUDY.
Read more about assets and the asset test limits.
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
Your parents or guardians must do the Parental Income Test every year if you are:
- a dependent student or Australian Apprentice aged 16 or older, or
- a dependent student who is younger than 16 and approved to live away from home
They don’t need to do the Parental Income Test if you are in state care.
They also don’t need to do the Parental Income Test if they:
- receive an income support payment
- receive ABSTUDY Living Allowance, or
- have a Health Care Card
Read more about doing the annual parental income test reassessment.
Your siblings’ circumstances may also affect your payment rate if they are dependent on your parents or guardians and get:
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- any means tested School Fees Allowance
- Youth Allowance, or
- Assistance for Isolated Children Boarding Allowance
If your parents' or guardians’ taxable income for the 2014-15 tax year is $51,027 or less, this income test won’t affect your ABSTUDY Living Allowance or any means-tested School Fees Allowance you may get.
If your parents or guardians earnt more than $51,027 in the 2014-15 tax year, we will pay you 20 cents less for every dollar over $51,027. Your parents or guardians must tell us if there are any changes to their income.
Sometimes, like if there are big changes in your parents’ or guardians’ income, we will test their income in the current tax year and your payment rate may change. It might also change if your siblings' circumstances change.
From 1 July 2016, all dependent children under 22 years of age who share a parent with you will be considered when assessing your ABSTUDY payments. This is called the family pool.
What’s the family pool?
The family pool is all dependent children in your family who may affect your payment rate.
Dependent children can be included in the family pool if:
- they are receiving Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or School Fees Allowance
- 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.
Partner Income Test
You must do the Partner Income Test if you are an independent student or Australian Apprentice with a partner.
If you are younger than 22, we reduce your payment by 60 cents for every dollar your partner earns over the threshold. This threshold depends on your partner’s circumstances, for example, their age and whether they receive a payment from us.
If you are 22 or older, your partner can earn up to $935 a fortnight. We reduce your payment by 50 cents for every dollar over $935. If you have dependent children, your partner can earn more before it affects your payment. How much more depends on the child’s age and circumstances.