Parental means test

Under the scheme, only Additional Boarding Allowance is income tested.

Parental income and boarding costs

In 2019, we look at your income for the 2017-18 financial year.

How your income for tax year 2017-18 affects your payment

Parental income Effect on payment
$53,728 or less No change.
More than $53,728 Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over. This depends on the number of children in your family pool.

Boarding costs affect the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance you get. Boarding costs include boarding charges, plus $250 to cover items like laundry and toiletries. Boarding charges are the net boarding fees actually charged by the institution. It doesn't include fees for tuition or items relating to it.

In 2019, if the boarding charges for that year are $8,172 or less, you can only get Basic Boarding Allowance.

If the boarding charges for the year are more than $8,172 in 2019, the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance will be the lower amount of:

  • the maximum annual rate less any reduction from the parental income test, or
  • the level of annual boarding costs for the student that’s more than the Basic Boarding Allowance amount.

Types of income tested

The parental income test uses parents' or guardians' combined taxable and other income for the tax year prior to the child's study year. We call this the base tax year.

If your child is studying in 2019, we use the combined parental income for the 2017-18 tax year.

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 for that tax year.

We deduct child support or maintenance you pay for a former partner from the parental income.

If you want to claim Additional Boarding Allowance and haven’t given us your income details, call us.

Family pool

The family pool refers to the dependent children in your family who may affect the amount of Additional Boarding Allowance you get.

Your family pool includes dependent children who:

  • get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or income tested School Fees Allowance Group 2
  • you get Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance for, or
  • are aged up to 19 years old, and, if aged between 16 to 19, attend secondary school.

If there’s a shared care arrangement in place for a child in your family, we may take this into account.

You may be eligible for a higher rate of Additional Boarding Allowance if:

  • you don’t get the maximum rate of Additional Boarding Allowance
  • parental income is over $53,728 if the student is studying in 2019, and
  • there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool.

You may get Additional Boarding Allowance when parental income is higher than the limit if:

  • you’re eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A for the child you’re claiming Additional Boarding Allowance for, or
  • there are 2 or more dependent children in the family pool.

If you need to update your family details, call us.

Changes to parental income in the study year

If you get Additional Boarding Allowance, you must tell us if there are any changes to parental income. Sometimes, changes to parental income can mean your payment rate changes. Your payment may also change if your child's circumstances change.

Where there’s been a change to parental income, we can work out the parental income test on their income for the current tax year. For example, if your child is studying in 2019 and parental income significantly changes, we may use parental income for the 2018-19 tax year.

If your child is studying in 2019, you need to tell us if parental income:

  • increases more than 25% from the 2017-18 tax year
  • decreases significantly, and you think it will reduce for 2 years or more.

You need to tell us about changes in your income so we pay you the right amount. You can do this using the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Current Tax Year Assessment form. You can submit it online, by post, fax or at a service centre.

If you can’t print the form:

Periods we exclude from the parental income test

The parental income test won’t apply if you or your partner:

The parental income test doesn’t apply if you have a Health Care Card but don’t have one of the following:

We’ll calculate your Additional Boarding Allowance. If the parental income test doesn’t apply, it’ll be assessed based on your child's actual boarding costs.

Balancing your Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance payments

From 1 January 2019 we’ll no longer use maintenance income to assess your payments.   

We’ll continue to balance your payments based on your actual maintenance income for the following financial years:

  • 2016-17
  • 2017-18
  • 2018-19 up to 31 December 2018.

We’ll let you know if we paid you too much or not enough.

Page last updated: 4 April 2019

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