Youth Allowance for job seekers

Dependent or independent

If you apply for Youth Allowance, you’ll be assessed as being dependent or independent for payment.

From 1 January 2019, there are changes to independence rules for students from regional and remote areas. Read more about the changes to student payments from 1 January 2019.


If you’re 21 or younger, you’re dependent unless you meet one of the conditions described below. This means your parents’ or guardians’ income affects if you get a payment and how much you get.


If you’re 22 or older, we consider you independent.

If you’re younger than 22, you may be independent if you:

  • can show you support yourself through work
  • are, or have been, married or are in a registered relationship
  • live in a de facto relationship as a member of a couple for at least 12 months
  • have, or have had, a dependent child
  • are a job seeker assessed as unable to work over 30 hours a week
  • are unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances
  • have parents who can’t look after you
  • are a refugee and your parents don’t live in Australia
  • are an orphan and haven’t been legally adopted, or
  • are in state care.

Independent through work

Full time work

You may be independent if you support yourself through full time paid work for at least 18 months within any 2 year period. You don’t need to work for 18 months in a row, or in the same job. Full time work is an average of 30 hours a week.

If you don’t consistently work 30 hours a week, you can average your work hours over a period of up to 13 weeks.

Paid work includes:

  • paid leave
  • overseas work
  • unpaid leave due to employer shutdown outside of your control
  • full time apprenticeships and traineeships.

See if you’re considered independent using the check independence through work history tool.

Part time work or earnings for rural and remote students

You may be independent if:

  • your parental home is in an inner regional, outer regional, remote or very remote area
  • you need to move away from your parental home to study, and
  • you’ve worked since leaving secondary school.

If you’ve worked since leaving secondary school, you need to have:

  • earned 75% or more of Wage Level A of the National Training Wage Schedule included in a modern award, or
  • worked at least 15 hours a week for at least 2 years.

It also depends on your parents’ or guardians’ income. If you claim in 2018, they must have earned less than $150,000 in the 2016-2017 financial year. If their income has changed a lot, we’ll look at the current tax year.

You need to give us proof that you meet these requirements.

Find out which area your family home is in using the Student Regional Area Search service.

Unable to live at home

You may be independent if you can’t live at home due to extreme circumstances. This includes family breakdown, violence, or serious risk to your safety and wellbeing. A social worker will assess this if you’re under 18.

Page last updated: 12 November 2018