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 with a partner

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:

  • your assets, and
  • 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 you’re over the assets limits and are 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 a dependent student, we need your parents’ or guardians’ income details.

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

We’ll apply the parental income test if your parents or guardians:

  • get an income support payment, and
  • 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 change, however the maintenance income test may still affect it.

More than $53,728 Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over. 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.

We look at the income of the parents or guardians you normally live with, or last lived with. We do this even if you don’t live with either parent or guardian now. This includes step parents if you normally live with them.

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.

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

The family pool

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

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 if:

  • 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, or
  • they’re up to 19 years old and, if aged between 16 to 19, attend secondary school.

The more children in your family, the less your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment. We may also assess shared care arrangements.

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

Changes to income

You must tell us if there are any changes to your parents’ or guardians’ income. Sometimes, changes to their 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 can 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

If you’re dependent, we’ll apply the maintenance income test to work out your payment rate. The test considers how much child support or voluntary maintenance your parents or guardians get for you.

If we haven’t done a child support assessment, your parents or guardians need to tell us if they get voluntary maintenance for you or your siblings. If we have, they won’t need to provide these details again. We’ll use information we already have to adjust your payment.

Maintenance income can include:

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

You may be exempt from this test if one of your parents or guardians is permanently blind, and gets:

The maintenance income free area

Your parents or guardians can get a certain amount of child support or voluntary 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

In Jeff’s family, he is 1 of 3 children 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: 19 September 2019