Independent through work

You may be an independent job seeker if you’ve supported yourself through full time paid work.

This applies if you work full time for at least 18 months within any 2 year period.

You don’t need to work for 18 months in a row, or in the same job. Full time work is an average of 30 hours a week.

You may not work 30 hours every week. If this is the case, you can average your work hours over a period of up to 13 weeks.

Paid work includes:

  • paid leave
  • overseas work
  • unpaid leave due to employer shutdown outside of your control
  • full time apprenticeships and traineeships.

See if you’re considered independent using the check independence through work history tool.

How coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts your independence

For claims submitted from 1 January 2021, we recognise that coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected work in 2020. If you claim as independent through work, we’ll automatically consider you fulfilled your work requirements for 6 months. This means you can include the period of 25 March 2020 to 24 September 2020 in the time you worked.

For example, Dale finished high school in Sydney in 2018 and started working full time in retail in January 2019. COVID-19 meant he lost his job in March 2020. Dale claims Youth Allowance as a job seeker in February 2021. We count the period from 25 March 2020 to 24 September 2020 as time that Dale worked. This is even though COVID-19 meant he couldn’t work. Dale is independent because he worked full time for at least 18 months in a 2 year period.

Page last updated: 7 December 2020