Independence for Youth Allowance
If you apply for Youth Allowance, you will be assessed as being either independent or a dependant. If you are a dependant, the parental means test applies.
If you are independent your parents' income and assets are not generally taken into consideration. However, if you are a student from a regional or remote area applying for Youth Allowance under the earnings or part-time work independence criteria, your parental income is taken into account. In these circumstances parental income must be under $150,000.
If you are 22 years or over you are automatically considered independent.
If you are under 22 years, you may be considered independent if you:
- can show you have supported yourself through employment
- are or have been legally married or in a registered relationship
- are living in a de facto relationship with another person as a member of a couple for at least 12 months
- have, or have had, a dependent child
- have a partial capacity to work as determined by a Job Capacity Assessment (job seekers only)
- are unable to live at home
- have parents who cannot exercise their responsibilities
- are a refugee without parents who are living in Australia
- are an orphan and have not been legally adopted, or
- are in state care, or only stopped being in state care because of your age
Watch our video about independence rules for Youth Allowance.
Independence through employment
Independence through full-time work
You may be considered independent if you have supported yourself through full-time paid employment for at least 18 months within any two year period. You do not need to work for 18 consecutive months, or work in the same job. Full-time employment means that you have worked for an average of at least 30 hours per week throughout the 18 months.
If you have been working in a job that has not consistently provided you with 30 hours per week work, then your hours of work can be averaged over periods of a maximum of 13 weeks.
Paid employment includes periods of paid leave, overseas employment and unpaid leave due to employer shutdown outside of your control. If you were a full-time apprentice or trainee this is also considered full-time employment.
Use the independence through work history tool to see if you are independent.
Independence through part-time work or earnings for rural and remote students
Students from areas classified as inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote can be assessed as independent, who since leaving secondary school:
- have earned at least 75 per cent of Wage Level A of the National Training Wage Schedule included in a modern award, in an 18-month period, or
- have worked part-time (at least 15 hours each week) for at least 2 years
To be assessed as independent under these arrangements, you must be a full-time student and must need to move away from home in order to study.
It is also a requirement that your parents earned less than $150,000 in the base tax year (for example, in May 2012, the base tax year is the year ending 30 June 2011), or in the current tax year if their income has changed substantially.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics determines whether an area is considered to be inner regional, outer regional, remote, or very remote. Find out which area your family home is in using the Student Regional Area Search service.
You may be asked to provide evidence that you meet the requirements for independence as well as evidence of your working hours or earnings.
Unable to live at home
You may be considered as independent if you are unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances. Extreme circumstances include family breakdown, violence, or serious risk to your safety and wellbeing. If you are under 18, the criteria for this will be assessed by a social worker.