Parental means test for the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme

Under the Scheme, only Additional Boarding Allowance is income tested.

There are two parts to the parental means test:

  • parental income test
  • maintenance income test

Parental income and boarding costs

If your income for the 2015-16 financial year was more than $51,903 we may reduce the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance by up to 20 cents for every dollar over $51,903. This depends on how many dependent children are in your family pool. It doesn't affect other Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme payments.

Boarding costs also affect the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance you get. These include boarding charges, plus $250 to cover incidentals like laundry and toiletries. Boarding charges are the net boarding fees charged by the institution. It doesn't include fees for tuition or related items.

If the boarding charges for the year are $7,845 or less, you can only get Basic Boarding Allowance.

The amount of Additional Boarding Allowance will be the lower of:

  • the maximum annual rate less any reduction from the parental income test, or
  • the level of annual boarding costs for the student that is more than the Basic Boarding Allowance amount

Types of income tested

The parental income test uses parents' or guardians' combined taxable and other income for the tax year ending in the year before the student's study year. This is the base tax year. For example, if the student is studying in 2017, we use the combined parental income for the 2015-16 tax year.

The parental income test includes:

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

We deduct child support or maintenance for a former partner you pay from your parental income.

If you want to claim Additional Boarding Allowance and have not given us your income details, call us.

Family pool

Your family pool is the dependent children 21 years of age or younger that:

  • get or are eligible for Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or School Fees Allowance
  • you get Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance for, or
  • are up to 19 years of age, and, if 16 to 19 years of age, attend secondary school

We may also consider shared care arrangements.

You may be eligible for a higher rate of Additional Boarding Allowance if:

  • you're not getting the maximum rate of Additional Boarding Allowance
  • parental income is over $51,903, and
  • there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool

If parental income is over $63,481, you can usually only get Basic Boarding Allowance. If you're eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A for the child you're claiming Additional Boarding Allowance, or there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool, you may get Additional Boarding Allowance if parental income is higher.

Check your family’s details are up to date using your Centrelink online account through myGov. If you need to update your family details, call us.

Maintenance income test

The amount of child support or spousal maintenance you get is taken into account when working out the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance payable. This includes any voluntary maintenance received for any of your dependent children.

You need to supply details of any voluntary maintenance you get if no child support assessment has been made by us. Where a child support assessment has been made by us, you will not need to supply these details again. We'll use information we already have to adjust your payment.

Maintenance income can include:

  • cash, lump sum payments and non-cash amounts
  • utilities charges
  • school fees and other payment made on behalf, or for the benefit of the child

The maintenance income test free area is the amount of child support or voluntary maintenance you or your partner can get before the maintenance income test affects your payment. These are the maintenance income test free areas per year.

Maintenance income you receive for Your maintenance free area per year is
The child you're getting Assistance for Isolated Children Allowance Additional Boarding Allowance $1,565.85
The child you're getting Assistance for Isolated Children Allowance Additional Boarding Allowance and another child which you're getting or eligible for Family Tax Benefit $521.95
Other dependent children who get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children Allowance Additional Boarding Allowance only add $521.95 for each child

The maintenance test is similar to what we use for Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Parental income in the study year

If your income has changed, we base the parental income test on your and your partner's combined income for the tax year ending in the student's study year. This is the current tax year assessment. We use the combined parental income for the 2016-17 tax year if the student studies in 2017.

If there has been an increase of more than 25% to parental income for the current tax year, compared to the base tax year, you must tell us. So you can get paid the correct amount tell us as soon as possible.

To tell us about a change in parental income of more than 25% download and complete the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Current Tax Year Assessment form.

Parental income test not needed

We don't take into account parental income for periods where you or your partner:

During this period, the student's actual boarding costs only affect your Additional Boarding Allowance.

Page last updated: 31 May 2017

This information was printed Wednesday 28 June 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/parental-means-test-assistance-isolated-children-scheme 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.