ABSTUDY Incidentals Allowance

A payment to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with the cost of starting or continuing study or training.

Who can get it

To get Incidentals Allowance you must be a student or Australian Apprentice getting ABSTUDY under a Schooling B, Tertiary, Masters and Doctorate or Part-time Award.

You must also meet the relevant conditions below.

Students

If you’re a student, you must be starting or continuing an approved course, and be:

  • a secondary student 18 years of age or older at 1 January in the year of study, or
  • a higher education student, including if you’re doing a preparatory course at a higher educational institution

Australian Apprentices

If you’re an apprentice you must be doing an Australian Apprenticeship and not get the Living Away From Home Allowance under the Australian Apprenticeship scheme.

Other information

Your income and assets don’t affect your eligibility.

How much you can get

We work out how much Incidentals Allowance you can get based on how long your course, apprenticeship or traineeship is each year.

If you study or train for Your maximum annual payment is

Less than 12 weeks

$84.60

12 to 16 weeks

$148.30

17 to 23 weeks

$294.90

24 weeks to 1 year

$599.30

Tax and Incidentals Allowance

You don’t need to pay tax on Incidentals Allowance.

Extra help

For help with extra essential course or material costs you can claim Additional Incidentals Allowance. To get it you need to be a tertiary, Masters or Doctorate student.

How to claim it

When claiming ABSTUDY or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement, we calculate and pay Incidentals Allowance as part of that claim. You don’t need to do a separate claim.

If you’re not claiming one of those payments, you can claim Incidentals Allowance only. Claim by calling us on Freecall 1800 132 317.  If you can’t call, fill in a claim form.

When it’s paid

We pay Incidentals Allowance in one instalment:

  • when you start a course, apprenticeship or traineeship
  • up to 4 weeks before you return to study in the new year, if you’re continuing a course, or
  • at the start of each year you do your apprenticeship or traineeship

When you can get multiple payments

You can get more than 1 payment of Incidentals Allowance if you’re:

  • studying 2 or more approved courses at the same time, or
  • doing an apprenticeship or traineeship while studying 1 or more approved courses

Examples of how we pay Incidentals Allowance

These are some examples of how you can get Incidentals Allowance.

Example 1 – payment over a 2 year course

In March 2017, Bruce was granted ABSTUDY for a Bachelor of Engineering. He started studying on 1 March 2017 and will finish on 21 April 2018.

In 2017 he:

  • automatically got an Incidentals Allowance payment of $599.30 at the start of his course in March because he’ll be studying for more than 24 weeks in 2017

In 2018 he:

  • will automatically get the 12 to 16 weeks Incidentals Allowance payment up to 4 weeks before he returns to study because he’ll be studying for 12 weeks in 2018

Example 2 – payment over a 2 year course

In February 2017, Jordan was granted ABSTUDY for a 3 year Bachelor of Arts.

In 2017 he:

  • automatically got an Incidentals Allowance payment of $599.30 at the start of his course in February because he’ll be studying for more than 24 weeks in 2017

In 2018 and 2019 he:

  • will automatically get the 24 weeks to 1 year Incidentals Allowance payment up to 4 weeks before he returns to study in 2018 and 2019

Example 3 – payment for more than 1 course at the same time

In 2017, Debra got two payments of Incidentals Allowance because she started two approved courses.

In January:

  • Debra was granted ABSTUDY to complete a Certificate 2 in Aboriginal Arts. She’ll be studying that course for 20 weeks
  • she automatically got an Incidentals Allowance payment of $294.90 at the start of her course because she’ll be studying for 20 weeks in 2017

In February:

  • Debra started a second approved course that goes for 15 weeks
  • she automatically got another Incidentals Allowance payment of $148.30 at the start of her second course in February because you can get Incidentals Allowance for more than one approved course at a time

Page last updated: 3 November 2017