Eligibility for Assistance for Isolated Children

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme includes 3 allowances and 1 supplement.

You may be eligible if your child meets the living, study and age requirements and one of the isolation conditions.

Who can get it

Your child must meet:

And one of the following isolation conditions:

What you’ll get

If you meet the requirements and isolation conditions for the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme, you’ll get one of the following:

  • Boarding Allowance
  • Distance Education Allowance
  • Second Home Allowance
  • Pensioner Education Supplement

Read more about the payment types for Assistance for Isolated Children.

Living requirements

Your child’s living arrangements will determine which allowance or supplement you get.

They need to live in one of the following places while they’re studying:

  • boarding at a school, hostel, or privately
  • living in the family’s second home to go to school
  • living at home and doing distance education or approved home schooling
  • going to a Northern Territory Homeland Learning Centre

Age requirements

Your child needs to be:

  • at least the minimum primary school entry age for your state or territory, and
  • younger than 19 on 1 January of the study year

Or they need to be:

  • at least 3 years and 6 months old and have to live away from home due to a health condition or disability
  • under 20 on 1 January in the study year, with a serious disruption to their education, such as illness or language difficulties
  • under 21 and studying at primary or ungraded level and getting Disability Support Pension, or Parenting Payment single
  • doing tertiary study to meet their state or territory minimum education or training requirements

Study requirements

Your child needs to be studying full time. They must be doing primary, secondary or other approved study.

You may get Assistance for Isolated Children if your child does approved full time tertiary study because they don’t have access to a state secondary school.

Your child must also meet one of the following isolation conditions:

  • be geographically isolated
  • have a special education need
  • have no reasonable access to a school, or
  • have changing circumstances

Geographically isolated

You’re geographically isolated if:

  • your family home is 56 km or more from the nearest suitable government school, or
  • your family home is 16 km or more from the nearest suitable government school and at least 4.5 km away from the nearest transport to school
  • your family home is 16 km or more from the nearest suitable government school and your child has no transport to get there, or
  • your child can’t get to the nearest suitable government school for at least 20 school days a year due to circumstances beyond your control

How we measure distance

We measure how far your child would travel to the school from the family home, using the nearest transport service along the shortest practical route.

You might need to ask for a transport service or pick-up point for your child from their school, the council or government.

If there’s no transport service and you can’t get one, we measure along the shortest practical route from the family home to the nearest suitable government school.

If travel routes vary, we use the average distance. You need to tell us if:

  • there’s more than one pick up point on the transport route your child could use
  • the distance to the school differs between morning and afternoon, depending on the transport service

Example: Measuring distance from the family home to the nearest suitable government school

Bethany lives with her parents on a property and goes to the nearest suitable government school, which is 30 km away. Bethany’s family home is 1 km from the nearest transport service to her school.

She isn’t eligible because:

  • there’s public transport to her school less than 4.5 km from her home, and
  • the school is less than 56 km from her home

Ben goes to the same local school as Bethany. He lives 36 km from the school, and 6 km from the nearest public transport service.

Ben is eligible because:

  • he lives at least 4.5 km from the school pick up point, and
  • the school is at least 16 km from his home

Nearest suitable government school

The nearest suitable government school is one that offers schooling at the grade or year your child can enrol in.

A selective or specialist school may be the nearest suitable government school if:

  • it’s also the nearest government school, and
  • the student goes to the school

Example: When a selective or specialist school isn’t the nearest suitable government school

Craig wants to send his son David to a specialist agricultural school 60 km away from their family home. The nearest suitable government school is a school 13 km away from the family home. Craig can’t get Assistance for Isolated Children to send David to the specialist school because:

  • it’s not the nearest suitable government school, and
  • the family home isn’t geographically isolated from nearest suitable government school

Example: When a selective or specialist school is the nearest suitable government school

Sarah boards away from home to go to a selective government school 58 km away from her principal family home. Sarah’s parents can get Assistance for Isolated Children to send Sarah to the selective school because:

  • it’s also the nearest suitable government school, and
  • their family home is geographically isolated from it

The nearest government school might not be suitable if it has a limited program. Read more about limited program schools for AIC.

Your child’s situation may also mean the nearest government school isn’t suitable.

Child’s situation Nearest suitable government school

They have a disability, health condition or special education need

The nearest school with a suitable program and facilities for your child

They’re doing tertiary study to meet their state or territory minimum education or training requirements

The nearest government school that offers schooling at the grade or year your child can enrol in

There’s more than one government school within 56 km of home

The government school with a travel service nearest to home

Special education need

You may be eligible if a child can’t go to the local government school because:

  • they need to study from home for health reasons or pregnancy, or
  • the family home is geographically isolated from the nearest suitable government school because:
    • of physical or intellectual disability
    • of psychological, emotional or behavioural difficulties
    • of a severe medical condition
    • of learning difficulties requiring testing or specialist support
    • it would seriously disadvantage the child’s education to attend the nearest suitable government school

No reasonable access to school

You might be eligible if the child you’re claiming for doesn’t have daily access to a suitable government school.

You might not have daily access to a suitable government school if your child can’t go to school for more than 20 school days in the year because:

  • it would take at least 3 hours to get to school and back, or
  • there are adverse weather conditions, impassable roads or other circumstances beyond your control
  • your work requires frequent moves and
    • you need to relocate the family for work,
    • you need to work onsite and don’t operate out of a base
    • you relocate at least 5 times a year for work
    • your livelihood has an itinerant lifestyle, for example a shearer or fruit picker, and
    • if your child travelled with you they would miss at least 100 school days at a local government school in a year
  • they have a disability or a health condition and need to live full time in a special institution
  • they live in the second family home with at least one other sibling who:
    • you get Second Home Allowance for, or
    • is aged 16 years or over and gets Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY and was previously eligible for Assistance for Isolated Children

If your circumstances change

You need to tell us if your circumstances change. It may change your payment. You can call us to tell us if your circumstances change.

We may continue to pay you after your circumstances change if your child still:

  • lives away from the principal family home
  • studies by distance education, or
  • lives in a second home, and
  • goes to the same school

When you tell us about your change in circumstances, we’ll let you know if:

  • your payment is affected
  • we’ll continue to pay you and for how long

Page last updated: 16 October 2017