Financial help if you are looking for work or participating in approved activities that may increase your chances of finding a job.
- aged 22 years or older but under age pension age
- looking for paid work
- prepared to meet the Mutual Obligation Requirements while you are looking for work
- meet an income and assets test
Eligibility & payment rates
You may be eligible for Newstart Allowance if you:
|If you are:||Your maximum fortnightly payment is:|
|single, no children||$527.60|
|single, with a dependent child or children||$570.80|
|single, aged 60 or over, after 9 continuous months on payment||$570.80|
|single principal carer granted an exemption from Mutual Obligation Requirements for either:
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to wait for a period of time before receiving your first income support payment.
As a Newstart Allowance customer, you can earn up to $102 per fortnight before tax before your payment is affected.
Income above $102 and up to $252 per fortnight reduces your fortnightly payment by 50 cents in the dollar. Income above $252 per fortnight reduces your payment by 60 cents in the dollar.
If you are the single principal carer of a dependent child, your payments will reduce by 40 cents for each dollar of income you earn above $102 per fortnight. Partner income that exceeds the cut-out point reduces your payment by 60 cents in the dollar.
As an applicant for Newstart Allowance, you will be assessed against an assets test. This includes liquid assets, which are any funds, including money owed to you by your employer, that are readily available to either you or your partner.
Working Credit is a way you can keep more of your Newstart Allowance payment if you do part time or casual work. It also makes it easier for you to get Newstart Allowance back if you have a short term, full time job.
To be eligible for Newstart Allowance, you need to satisfy residence requirements. You must:
- be an Australian resident
- be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions. If you are a non-protected Special Category Visa holder, you may be able to access a once only payment of either:
At the time of making a claim you must have been living in Australia continuously for at least 10 years. Time spent in Australia prior to 27 February 2001 cannot count towards these 10 years. If you are eligible, payment can be made for a maximum continuous period of up to 6 months.
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you start your claim.
Once you have read about eligibility, the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- begin your claim
- provide your supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- We will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Mutual Obligation Requirements are activities you need to do to continue to get your income support payment and increase your chances of finding work.
If you do not tell us when your circumstances change, you may be doing the wrong thing.
For example, not telling us if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change, or
- your work or study load changes
Doing the right thing is easy:
- tell us about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days
- regularly check that your information is up to date through your myGov account
It is never too late to report a change. By telling us about any changes today, we can help make sure you receive the correct payment.
If you have received payments you are not eligible for, you may have to repay the amount plus a recovery fee. Having to repay a debt may be difficult but choosing not to tell us when your circumstances change could lead to far more serious consequences.
If you deliberately do not tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud. Read more about how to avoid committing fraud.
You can continue getting Newstart Allowance if you get sick or have an accident and are temporarily unable to work. You will need to get a medical certificate from your doctor that states you are unfit to work at least 8 hours a week.
You will not have to meet the Mutual Obligation Requirements while you are unfit for work and have a medical certificate.
You may need to report this on a regular basis.
How to report your changes
You can report changes to your circumstances using our self service options.
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
If you owe us money, you will be sent an Account Payable letter telling you:
- why you owe the money
- the amount owed
- when the amount is due to be paid, and
- how you can make the payment
You may be eligible to receive part of your income support payment in advance depending on how long you have been getting it and the amount that you get.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Newstart Allowance.
In certain circumstances you may be eligible to receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly.
How much you earn affects your payment. We need to know what you have earned each fortnight so you are paid the right amount.
You should apply to transfer to Age Pension to see if you are eligible.
The Australian government is trialling a new way of delivering welfare payments using a cashless debit card.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Self service computers and printers are available in your local service centre to help you identify employment opportunities and make contact with service providers who may assist you in your search for work.
Financial Information Services is a free, confidential service that provides education and information on financial and lifestyle issues to all Australians.
jobactive is the government’s employment services system.
If you have any questions, speak to your jobactive provider.
Read more about jobactive on the Department of Employment website or call their National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.
Our social workers can help you during difficult times by providing counselling, support and information.
A program to help develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to improve the chances of you getting and keeping a job.
Read more about Skills for Education and Employment.
Select the options that describe your circumstances, then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
- Education Entry Payment
- Energy Supplement
- Health Care Card
- Income Support Bonus
- JobSearch facilities
- Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Pensioner Education Supplement
- Pharmaceutical Allowance
- Rent Assistance
- Rent Deduction Scheme
- Skills for Education and Employment
- Telephone Allowance