Are you turning 18, 22 or 25?

24 June 2019

Some say age only matters if you’re cheese. But it also matters for some student payments. Let’s find out how.

boy celebrating birthday

There are 3 key ages that stand out with student payments. They are 18, 22 and 25.

When you turn 18

Turning 18 comes with a lot of adult responsibilities. Along with the opportunity to vote you’re probably doing things like renting with friends and cooking for yourself.

These are all important events but we don’t look at them for the purposes of claiming a student payment.

When you claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY we assess you as being dependent or independent.

You’re not automatically independent when you turn 18.

Most students under 22 are dependent. This means your parents’ income may affect if you get a payment and how much you get.

There are some situations where you’re considered independent if you’re under 22. For example, one of these is if you’ve supported yourself through work. This includes working an average of 30 hours per week for at least 18 months during any two year period.

If you’re independent, your parents’ income won’t affect your payment rate.

When you turn 22

Turning 22 doesn’t usually come with the big birthday celebrations that your 21st might have. However, for the purposes of payments, this is where we recognise your independence.

If you're already getting Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance you don’t need to do anything. If you’re not already independent, we'll automatically assess you as independent when you turn 22.

If you're not getting Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY don’t wait until your 22nd birthday to apply. You can apply up to 13 weeks beforehand. You don’t have to give us your parents' or guardians' income details.

This means you can start getting paid as an independent student when you turn 22.

Turning 22 doesn't necessarily mean the amount of Youth Allowance you'll get will change. Your payment will depend on your circumstances. See How much you can get for more information about the different payment rates.

Read more about being independent for Youth Allowance or independent for ABSTUDY.

When you turn 25

Congratulations on being a quarter of a century! You’re hardly ancient but now that you’re 25 you may get Austudy if you’re studying or doing an Australian Apprenticeship.

If you’re turning 25 and you’re already studying and getting Youth Allowance there's nothing you need to do. You'll continue to get Youth Allowance as long as you stay enrolled in the same course. You’ll also still need to meet the other eligibility criteria.

If you start studying a new course after turning 25, you'll need to submit a new claim for Austudy.

How these ages impact payments

Turning 22 or 25 doesn’t automatically make you eligible for a payment.

To be eligible for Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or Austudy you need to be studying an approved course.

You also need to meet all other eligibility requirements.

The best way to check if you can get a payment is at Payment and Service Finder.

What to do next

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Page last updated: 20 September 2019