Am I dependent or independent?

25 January 2021

How to know which one you are, plus how coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted independence.

When you claim Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY, we’ll assess you as either dependent or independent. We do this to make sure you can get a payment and to check how much we pay you.

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

If you’re 21 or younger, you’re most likely dependent. This means we ask for your parents’ or guardians’ income details when you apply. Your parents’ or guardians’ income may affect how much you can get.

You might also be independent if you’re younger than 22 and can show you meet independence criteria. These are slightly different if you’re applying for Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY. Being unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances is one way we’ll consider you independent.

Another is through your work history. You might qualify as independent through work if you’ve done any of the following:

  • You’ve done full time work for a minimum amount of time.
  • You’re from a regional or remote area and have done part time work for enough time.
  • You’ve done seasonal agricultural work.

When you apply as an independent student, we need you to provide proof you meet the independence rules.

You won’t need to provide proof for the 6 month period between 25 March 2020 and 24 September 2020. We’ll count it as part of your time spent working because we know coronavirus (COVID-19) made work harder in 2020. You’ll automatically meet the independence through work criteria for this 6 month period, even if you weren’t working.

This is for all students, apprentices and job seekers claiming Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY.

Next steps

Read more about being dependent or independent for:

Page last updated: 28 January 2021