Income and assets test

We use income and assets tests to check if you can get Youth Allowance and how much you might get.

Tests that apply to you

We base your rate on the test that results in the lowest payment rate. Changes to your income or assets, like changes to how much you earn, may impact your rate.

Use our online estimators to help work out how much you might get.

You are Tests that apply to you
independent

The following tests apply to you:

independent with a partner

The following tests apply to you:

dependent

The following tests apply to you:

Personal assets test

There are different assets limits depending on your situation. When you claim, you need to tell us the current market value of both of these:

  • your assets
  • your partner’s assets if you have a partner.

Read more about assets and the assets test limits.

If you’ve recently got income from leave or redundancy, an income maintenance period may apply.

If your assets stop you from getting a payment and you’re in severe financial hardship, you can apply under the Asset Hardship provisions.

Parental means test

There are 2 parts to the parental means test:

Parental income test

If you’re dependent we need to know your parents’ or guardians’ income.

Watch our video about parental income.

We look at the income of your parents or guardians you normally live with, or last lived with. This includes step parents if you normally live with them.

If your parents are separated we’ll assess the income of the parent you spend most time living with. If you spend equal time living with each parent, we’ll assess the income of the parent you ask us to.

We assess your parents’ or guardians’ income even if you don’t live with them now. You may need to live away from their home, for example, if it’s compulsory to live at your school. In cases like this you may get a higher payment rate. If you’re unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances, we won’t assess your parents’ income.

The parental income test won’t apply if your parents or guardians get 1 of the following:

We’ll apply the parental income test if both of the following apply:

  • your parents or guardians get an income support payment
  • their income support payment reduces to zero for 1 fortnight or more because of how much they earn.

In 2019, we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income from the 2017-18 tax year.

How your parents’ or guardians’ income for tax year 2017–18 affects your payment

Parental income Effect on payment
$53,728 or less

No effect, however the maintenance income test may still affect it.

More than $53,728 Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over this amount. This depends on the number of children in your family pool.

You can use the online rate estimator to work out how much you may get based on your family circumstances.

Parental income includes all of the following:

  • combined parental taxable income
  • tax free pensions and benefits
  • fringe benefits
  • income from outside Australia
  • reportable superannuation contributions
  • total net investment losses such as negative gearing losses.

If your parent or guardian pays child support, we remove it from their parental income.

Your parents' or guardians' assets don’t affect your payment.

The family pool

The family pool refers to the dependent children in your family, like your siblings, who may affect your payment rate.

When there is another dependent child in your family pool, your payment could increase. If a dependent child leaves your family pool, your payment may decrease.

We can include dependent children in your family pool in any of these situations:

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

The more children in your family pool, the less your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment. 

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

Changes to income

Sometimes, changes to your parents’ or guardians’ income can mean your payment rate changes. Your payment may also change if your siblings’ circumstances change.

If your parents’ or guardians’ income has changed

We may be able to use their income for the current tax year to work out the parental income test. If you study in 2019 and their income has significantly changed, we may use their 2018–19 tax year income.

We reassess your payment every year based on your parents’ or guardians’ income. Read more about the annual parental income test reassessment.

Maintenance income test

Your parents or guardians may get maintenance income to support you or your siblings. If they do, this income may affect your payment. Maintenance income is child support or voluntary maintenance your parents or guardians get.

If we’ve done a child support assessment, we know your parents’ or guardians’ maintenance income. We’ll use information we already have to adjust your payment. If we haven’t done an assessment, your parents or guardians need to tell us how much voluntary maintenance they get.

Maintenance income can include:

  • cash, lump sum payments and non-cash amounts
  • utilities charges
  • school fees and other payments made for you or your siblings, or for your or your siblings’ benefit.

You may be exempt if 1 of your parents or guardians is permanently blind, and gets 1 of the following:

The maintenance income free area

Your parents or guardians can get a certain amount of maintenance for you before it affects your payment rate. We call this the maintenance income free area.

The number of siblings you have and the payments they get can affect this amount.

Maintenance income free area per year

Your parents or guardians get maintenance for The maintenance income free area is
just you $1,653.45
you and other siblings who get Youth Allowance, or ABSTUDY Living Allowance if you’re 16 or over $1,653.45 plus $551.15 for each sibling. Then divide the total by the number of siblings
you and other siblings who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit $551.15

Example of maintenance income free area calculation

Jeff is 1 of 3 dependent children in his family who all get Youth Allowance. His parents get maintenance income for all 3 children.

The maintenance income free area for the first sibling is $1,653.45. We add $551.15 for each of the other 2 siblings. We divide the total $2,755.75, by the number of siblings, being 3. So, Jeff’s maintenance income free area is $918.58.

Balancing your Youth Allowance payments

We use your parents’ or guardians’ child support assessment or voluntary maintenance to estimate your annual maintenance income. This can change throughout the year.

At the end of the financial year, we’ll balance your payments using the actual maintenance income they got for you.

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

Page last updated: 6 November 2019