We assess your eligibility and payment amount using income and asset tests.
Tests that apply to you
Your rate will be based on the test that results in the lowest payment rate. Your rate may change each fortnight.
Use our online estimators to help work out how much you might get.
|You are||Tests that apply to you|
|independent with a partner|
There are different assets limits depending on your situation. When you claim, you need to tell us the current market value of:
- your assets, and
- your partner’s assets if you have a partner
An income maintenance period may apply if you’ve recently got income from leave or redundancy.
If you’re in severe financial hardship but aren’t eligible because of the assets test, you can still apply under Asset Hardship provisions.
Parental means test
There are 2 parts to the parental means test:
- parental income test, and
- maintenance income test
If you’re a dependant, your parents or guardians need to give us their income details.
The parental income test won’t apply if your parents or guardians:
- get an Income Support Payment or equivalent payment – but not Family Tax Benefit
- get ABSTUDY Living Allowance
In 2017, we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income from the 2015-16 tax year.
How your parents’ or guardians’ income for tax year 2015-16 affects your payment
|Parental income||Effect on payment|
|$51,903 or less||No change, however it may still be affected by the maintenance income test.|
|More than $51,903||Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over. This depends on the number of children in your family pool.|
You can use the online rate estimator to work out how much you may get based on your family circumstances.
We look at the income of the parents or guardians you normally live with, or last lived with, even if you don’t live with either parent or guardian now. This includes step parents only if you normally live with them.
Parental income includes:
- combined parental taxable income
- tax free pensions and benefits
- fringe benefits
- income from outside Australia
- reportable superannuation contributions, and
- total net investment losses such as negative gearing losses
If your parent or guardian pays child support, we remove it from their parental income.
The family pool refers to the dependent children in your family who may affect your payment rate.
Your parents’ or guardians’ income may affect the amount you get. Income earned by other dependent children 21 or younger, may also affect it.
When there is another dependent child in your family pool, your payment could increase. If a dependent child leaves your family pool, your payment may decrease.
We can include dependent children in your family pool if:
- they get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or income tested School Fees Allowance Group 2
- your parent or guardian gets Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance, or
- they’re up to 19 years old and, if aged between 16 to 19, attend secondary school
The more children in your family, the less your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment. We may also assess shared care arrangements.
Changes to income
Your parents or guardians must tell us if there are any changes to their income. Sometimes, changes to their income can mean your payment rate changes. Your payment may also change if your siblings’ circumstances change.
Where there’s been a change to your parents’ or guardians’ income, the parental income test can be worked out on their income for the current tax year. For example, if you study in 2017 and their income has significantly changed, we may use their income for the 2016-17 tax year.
Your parents or guardians must update their income every year. Read more about the annual parental income test reassessment.
Maintenance income test
If you’re dependant, we consider the amount of child support or voluntary maintenance your parents or guardians get for you to work out your payment.
Your parents or guardians need to tell us about any voluntary maintenance they get if we haven’t done a child support assessment. If we have, they won’t need to supply these details again. We’ll use information we already have to adjust your payment.
Maintenance income can include:
- cash, lump sum payments and non-cash amounts
- utilities charges
- school fees and other payments made on behalf, or for your benefit
You may be exempt from this test if one of your parents or guardians are permanently blind, and get:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension, or
- a Department of Veterans’ Affairs service pension or income support supplement
The maintenance income free area is the amount of child support or voluntary maintenance your parents or guardians can get before the maintenance income test affects your payment.
The number of siblings you have and the payments they get can affect this amount.
Maintenance income free area per year
|Your parents or guardians get maintenance for:||The maintenance income free area is|
|You and other siblings who get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance and School Fees Allowance Group 2||$1587.75 plus $529.25 for each sibling. Then divide the total by the number of siblings|
|You and other siblings are eligible for Family Tax Benefit or Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance||$529.25|
Example of maintenance income free area calculation
In Jeff’s family, he is 1 of 3 children who all get ABSTUDY Living Allowance. His parents get maintenance income for all 3 children.
The maintenance income free area for the first sibling is $1,587.75. We add $529.25 for each of the other 2 siblings. We divide the total $2,646.25, by the number of siblings, being 3. So, Jeff’s maintenance income free area is $882.08.
Balancing your Youth Allowance payments
We use your parents’ or guardians’ child support assessment or voluntary maintenance to estimate your annual maintenance income. This can change throughout the year.
At the end of the financial year, we’ll balance your payments based on the actual maintenance income they got for you.
We’ll let you know if we have paid you too much or not enough.