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 make a claim for certain income support payments.
You may be eligible for the basic rate if you have a telephone connected, such as a landline, fax 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 a disability
- Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance and you are over 60 and have been in receipt of 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 been in receipt of 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 and has received income support payments continuously for 9 months, or
- Newstart Allowance or Youth 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 via your mobile phone, in your or your partner's name
Telephone Allowance payment rates are effective from 20 September 2016.
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.
From time to time, your eligibility for the allowance may also be reviewed.
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 become a telephone or home internet subscriber, it is important that you tell us that 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 a telephone or home internet subscriber.
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 – link your online accounts to myGov to access our services where and when it suits you. If you don’t have an online account you will need to register to access those services
- on your mobile device – our Express Plus mobile apps are simple, fast and convenient, giving you more choices for dealing with us
- using a self service terminal at one of our service centres
- on the phone
If you don’t tell us about changes, you may be overpaid and you will probably have to pay the money back.
To get Telephone Allowance while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for your main payment.
There are rules for when Telephone Allowance can be paid when you are outside Australia.
Rules for Telephone Allowance 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, then 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 be a telephone or internet subscriber.
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.