Dependent or independent for Youth Allowance

If you apply for Youth Allowance, you’ll be assessed as being dependent or independent for payment.


If you’re 21 years of age or younger and aren’t independent as described below, you’re dependent. This means your parents’ income affects if you get a payment and how much you get.


If you’re 22 years of age or older, we consider you independent.

If you’re under 22 years of age, you may be independent if you:

  • can show you support yourself through work
  • are, or have been, married or are in a registered relationship
  • live in a de facto relationship as a member of a couple for at least 12 months
  • have, or have had, a dependent child
  • are a job seeker and a Job Capacity Assessment determined you have partial capacity to work
  • unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances
  • have parents who can’t look after you
  • are a refugee and your parents don’t live in Australia
  • are an orphan and haven’t been legally adopted, or
  • are in state care, or left because of your age

Independent through work

Full time work

You may be independent if you support yourself through full time paid work for at least 18 months within any 2 year period. You don’t need to work for 18 consecutive months, or in the same job. Full time work is 30 hours per week on average throughout the 18 months.

If you don’t consistently work 30 hours per week, you can average your hours of work over a maximum of 13 week periods.

Paid work includes:

  • paid leave
  • overseas work
  • unpaid leave due to employer shutdown outside of your control
  • full time apprentices and trainees

Use the independence through work history tool to see if you’re independent.

Part time work or earnings for rural and remote students

If you’re from a rural or remote area you may be considered independent sooner. Read more about Changes for new students from rural and remote areas.

You may be independent if:

  • your parental home is in an inner regional, outer regional, remote or very remote area
  • you need to move away from the parental home to study, and
  • since leaving secondary school, you have:
    • over an 18 month period, earned 75% or more of Wage Level A of the National Training Wage Schedule included in a modern award, or
    • for at least 2 years, worked at least 15 hours each week

It also depends on your parents’ income. If you claim in 2016, they must have earned less than $150,000 in the 2014-15 tax year. If their income has changed a lot, we’ll look at the current tax year.

You need to give proof that you meet these requirements.

Find out which area your family home is in using the Student Regional Area Search service.

Unable to live at home

You may be independent if you can’t live at home due to extreme circumstances. This includes family breakdown, violence, or serious risk to your safety and wellbeing. A social worker will assess this if you’re under 18.

Page last updated: 30 November 2017