In Australia, students of a certain age have access to special government allowances. This is designed to reduce the burden of financing an education for current university students, allowing them to focus on their studies and goals. However, navigating the government’s programs isn’t always easy.
What is the youth allowance in Australia and how does it work? More importantly, how do you determine if you’re eligible for this allowance? Money can be a tough topic, especially when you’re first getting started as an adult in the “real world.” In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about youth allowance in Australia.
What Is the Youth Allowance?
To begin, what exactly is the youth allowance in Australia? Also called YA, this is a type of income support payment through Centrelink. It’s designed to provide financial assistance to young people under the age of 25 years old. With the help of Youth Allowance, recipients can focus on furthering their education, training, or employment prospects.
Anyone who reaches the minimum school leaver age in their state/territory may apply. The amount distributed to each young person depends on factors such as whether they live away from home, work situation, and more. Essentially, each recipient receives a cost of living payment as well as support for other expenses (rent, utilities, transportation, etc.)
Ultimately, the youth allowance makes it possible for young people to live without falling into debt before they officially start their careers. The early days of upper education and job training often make it difficult to afford the rising costs of living. It’s important for young people to take full advantage of any government programs they’re eligible for, like the Youth Allowance.
Who’s Eligible for the Youth Allowance?
With that in mind, how do you know if you’re eligible for Youth Allowance in Australia? In order to be eligible, you have to meet a few different criteria. Depending on your age, these include:
16 to 21 years old
- Looking for full-time work
- Undertaking approved activities (apprenticeship, training, etc.)
- Undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship
18 to 24 years old
- Studying full time
When you apply, your status depends on whether you qualify as independent or dependent. A dependent is someone who still lives with parents or family, resulting in fewer expenses. On the other hand, an independent student or youth lives away from home and has greater financial responsibility. When you turn 22, you automatically are considered independent. The government also considers circumstances, like if you have dependents on your own.
How Much Can You Recieve?
Another common question about the youth allowance in Australia is how much money you can receive? The government uses income and assets to determine just how much funds are distributed to each student. Each year in March and September, the rates are updated to reflect inflation and the current cost of living.
The minimum payment for someone who’s single with no children and still lives at home is $313.80. The maximum youth allowance payment is $679.00. The average payment is around $500 for single young people who live away from home to work, train, or study. The payments are distributed through Centrelink every fortnight. If you’re under 18 and live at home, the payment typically goes to the dependent or guardian.
When you apply, you’ll need to submit information about your current situation. If you’re a dependent, this means using your payment’s taxable income. If you’re independent, you’ll need to share your future study intentions. This can all be done online through your Centrelink account or myGov. As your life situation changes, so does the payment.
It’s important to note that your allowance reduces once your income reaches $452 a fortnight. This includes the income before any deductions. Similarly, if you receive other types of income support through the government that isn’t a student payment, this can impact the amount you receive. You can use the online calculator and guide to determine your estimated allowance payment through the YA.
Is the Youth Allowance Right for You?
Now that you know what the youth allowance is, how do you know if it’s right for you? If you meet the eligibility requirements above, odds are you’re a good fit. To claim your benefits, you can start the process entirely online. You can begin to claim your allowance up to 13 weeks before you start an apprenticeship or full-time study.
Do you need help navigating Centrelink and government benefits? You’re not alone. It can be confusing to know what you qualify for, but you still want to take full advantage of any financial allowances available. Contact the skilled team at Debt Busters on 1300 368 322 for help starting this process with confidence. We’re always here to help! Contact our skilled team today for personalised advice.