Are you switching from looking for work to studying?

11 March 2021

Tips on claiming, partner income and Working Credits to help when you’re moving to Austudy or another student payment.

If you’re making the move to start studying this year, you’re not alone. Many people have decided to start or return to full time study.

What you need to know about claiming

If you’re 25 or older and starting full time study you’ll likely be claiming Austudy. You’ll need to lodge a new claim even if you’re currently getting another payment, such as JobSeeker Payment.

We have to wait until your course starts before we can grant you Austudy. This means when you track your claim online you might see it as ‘On hold’. 

Once we grant you Austudy, or another student payment, we’ll assess you for other payments. You can also see if you’re eligible to apply for other payments.

How your partner’s income can affect your payments

The amount your partner gets can affect your payments. When you get a student payment it may affect it more than when you were getting a job seeker payment. This is because the income free area for job seeker payments, such as JobSeeker Payment, temporarily increased due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We can’t tell you here the exact amount your partner can get before your payment drops to $0. It depends on your age, your partner’s age and if either of you have dependent children.

When you get a student payment, you’ll need to report your income and your partner’s income. Make sure you check your new reporting dates as they may be different from your previous payment.

If you’ve told us you and your partner are both not working, you won’t need to report fortnightly income.

How to use your Income Bank

As a student you can access your Income Bank when you get more money some fortnights. But you can’t use your Income Bank for your partner’s income. If you have Working Credits from your JobSeeker Payment, you can transfer these to your Income Bank. This should happen automatically.

How Youth Allowance is different to Austudy

There are a few differences if you’re switching to Youth Allowance for students. You have to be 24 or younger and you need to tell us your parents’ income unless you’re independent.

If you’re claiming independence as a member of a de facto couple, you need to live together for 12 months. After that we’ll need to know your partner’s income.

If you’re changing from Youth Allowance as a job seeker, you don’t have to lodge a new claim. You can ask us to transfer you to Youth Allowance as a student. To transfer, you need to give us your study or apprenticeship details by calling the Youth and students line.

How ABSTUDY is different to other student payments

ABSTUDY is available to full time and part time Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students. If you have a partner, read more about the income tests for ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

Next steps

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Page last updated: 12 March 2021