Changes for regional and remote students from 1 January 2019

31 October 2018

The parental income limit is changing. This will make it easier to be an independent for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY.

Lots of young people take a year off between finishing high school and starting tertiary study. This is commonly known as a gap year.

Working during your gap year means getting paid – and who doesn’t love getting paid! Even better, the money you earn can help you claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance as an independent.

There are special independence rules in place for students living in regional or remote areas. One rule is about the period of time you have to earn the income amount after leaving secondary school. Another rule is that your parents’ income is less than $150,000 per year.

From 1 January 2019, the combined parental income limit will increase to $160,000 per year.

There’ll also be an extra $10,000 added to the parental income limit for each eligible sibling in your family. This is in addition to you.

For example, Luke lives with his Mum and Dad and his 2 school-aged sisters. His 2 sisters are eligible children so the cut-off will be $180,000.

You’ll also have more options for the financial year you use to calculate parental income. You can choose from 1 of 3 financial years – whichever is most beneficial for you. It can be either the financial year:

  • before you take a gap year, referred to as pre-gap tax year
  • of your gap year, referred to as ­­base year
  • following your gap year, referred to as post base year.

There are no changes to the Parental Income Test of dependents or other independence requirements.

Next steps

You don’t need to do anything about these changes. You can use this information to give you some certainty about whether you’ll be under the parental income limit. This will help you plan for your studies.

Read more about student changes starting 1 January 2019.

Check to see if we consider your family home regional, rural or remote using our Student Regional Area Search service.  

You can also use our tool Check independence through work history if you have worked.

Find out more about the current rules for dependent or independent for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY.

Read more news for students and trainees.

Page last updated: 9 November 2018