Helps with the costs of maintaining a telephone and a home internet service if you receive certain income support payments.
Eligibility & payment rates
There are 2 rates of Telephone Allowance, depending on your circumstances. Your eligibility is assessed when you claim for certain income support payments.
You may be eligible for the basic rate if you have a telephone connected, such as a landline or a mobile phone, in either your or your partner's name and receive:
- Disability Support Pension and are under 21 with no dependent children
- Parenting Payment (single)
- Parenting Payment (partnered) if you claimed on or after 1 July 2006 and have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work due to disability
- Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance or Farm Household Allowance and you are over 60 and have received an income support payment continuously for 9 months
- Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Special Benefit or Parenting Payment (partnered) and are over 60 but under age pension age and have received an income support payment continuously for 9 months
- Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance and have a partial capacity to work as assessed by a Job Capacity Assessor
- Partner Allowance or Parenting Payment (partnered) and your partner is over 60 and receives Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance or Farm Household Allowance and has received income support payments continuously for 9 months, or
- Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance or Farm Household Allowance and are a single principal carer of a dependent child
You may be eligible for the higher rate if you:
- receive Disability Support Pension
- are aged under 21 with no dependent children, and
- have a home internet service connected, such as a dial up service, broadband service or an internet connection through your mobile phone, in your or your partner's name
Telephone Allowance is paid quarterly with the first regular income support payment you receive on or after 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year.
These payment rates are updated on 20 September each year.
|Telephone Allowance||Amount per quarter|
|Basic rate (single or couple combined)||$28.20|
|Higher rate (single or couple combined)||$42.00|
Any concessions or discounts your telephone provider or internet service provider may offer are not related to Telephone Allowance.
Telephone Allowance is not taxed.
You do not have to meet income or assets tests to qualify for Telephone Allowance.
Telephone Allowance is usually adjusted on 20 September each year in line with the Consumer Price Index.
Your eligibility for the allowance may be reviewed at any time.
When you claim certain income support payments, your eligibility for Telephone Allowance is assessed at the same time.
If you already receive a qualifying income support payment and you later pay for a telephone or home internet service, it is important that you tell us your circumstances have changed.
You have the right to appeal any decision we make. Read more about reviews and appeals.
Managing your payment
You need to tell us if your circumstances change while you are receiving Telephone Allowance. For example, you need to tell us if you are no longer paying for a telephone or home internet service.
You need to let us know about any changes within 14 days in case they affect your allowance. You can tell us about these changes online using:
- your Centrelink online account through myGov
- the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app
- a self service terminal at a service centre, or
- by calling us
If you don’t tell us about changes, you may be overpaid and you will have to pay the money back.
There are rules for when Telephone Allowance can be paid when you are outside Australia.
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
If your main payment type cannot be paid outside Australia, you will not be paid Telephone Allowance while you are outside Australia.
Otherwise you will be paid Telephone Allowance if your payday is within the first 6 weeks of your absence and you continue to pay for a telephone or internet service.
Read more about payments while outside Australia.
There is support to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.