Income Bank

Helps you keep more of your Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payment if you’re a student or an Australian Apprentice receiving an income.

What it is

Your Income Bank allows you to earn credits where your income is less than $437 a fortnight. You can use these credits to offset income you receive above that amount in the fortnights where you earn more. This helps you keep more of your payment if the amount you earn changes each fortnight.

You don’t need to do anything to use Income Bank. It shows up in your Centrelink online account and will change as you report your income.

Example

Sarah does paid casual work during uni holidays and uses the money she saves while she’s studying. She doesn’t work during her uni semesters.

Sarah earns credits in her Income Bank during uni semesters while she isn’t earning any income. She’ll use the credits in her Income Bank when she works during her semester breaks and earns over $437 a fortnight.

Who has one

You have an Income Bank if you get:

How we assess your income

Income it covers

Your Income Bank is affected by different types of income, including earnings from:

  • paid work
  • financial investments, like shares
  • assessable scholarships such as a scholarship to help you complete study or training
  • interest from your savings

How it works

You can earn up to $437 a fortnight under the personal income test before we reduce your payment.

You build up your Income Bank credits when you earn less than $437 a fortnight.

Your balance reduces when you earn more than $437 a fortnight.

Building up your balance

If you earn less than $437 a fortnight, we’ll add the difference between $437 and your income to your Income Bank.

For example, if you earn $350 in a fortnight, you’ll get 87 credits in your Income Bank.

That is, 437 – 350 = 87.

Reducing your balance

If you earn $437 or more in a fortnight and have a positive Income Bank balance, we’ll reduce your Income Bank credits before we reduce your payment.

We’ll reduce your payment if your Income Bank balance is 0 and you earn more than $437 a fortnight.

For example, if you have 87 credits in your Income Bank you can earn $524 for one fortnight before we reduce your payment.

Reporting your income

You need to keep us updated if your circumstances change, including any money you or your partner earn from paid work.

You can report your income and tell us about changes to your circumstances online. Use your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Read more about income reporting.

Your partner’s income

Income Bank is only available for your income and not your partner’s income.

Under the partner income test for Austudy and Youth Allowance, or ABSTUDY, your partner’s income can still affect your payment rate. If your partner earns over a certain amount, even if you have a positive Income Bank balance, your payment will reduce.

How to manage your credits

Maximum Credits

The most credits you can have in your Income Bank are:

  • 10,900 if you’re a student, or
  • 1,000 if you’re an Australian Apprentice

You’ll stop getting more credits once you reach the maximum amount.

Transferring credits

You may be able to transfer your credits if you stop studying or training and move to a different payment.

For example, if you move to Youth Allowance as a job seeker and have credits in your Income Bank, they can transfer to Working Credits.

How many credits you can transfer

The number of Income Bank credits you can transfer to Working Credits depends on the payment you move to.

You can transfer up to:

  • 3,500 credits if you’re moving to Youth Allowance as a job seeker
  • 1,000 credits if you're moving to most other payments

If you have credits in your Income Bank and you stop getting any payments from us, you can’t cash out your credits.

How to check your balance

You can check your Income Bank balance in your Centrelink online account through myGov.

Select My Profile, My Finances and then Income Bank.

Read our online guide for help to create a myGov account and link to Centrelink.

How to manage your money

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Page last updated: 4 June 2018