Independent

If you’re 22 or older, we consider you independent. If you’re younger than 22 and it’s unreasonable for you to live at home we may consider you independent.

Independent

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

If you’re younger than 22, you may be independent if any of the following apply. You:

  • can show you support yourself through work
  • are, or have been, married or are in a registered relationship
  • live in a de facto relationship as a member of a couple for at least 12 months
  • have, or have had, a dependent child
  • are a job seeker assessed as unable to work over 30 hours a week
  • are in a situation where it’s unreasonable to live at home
  • have parents who can’t look after you
  • are a refugee and your parents don’t live in Australia
  • are an orphan and haven’t been legally adopted
  • are in state care, including foster care.

Unreasonable to live at home

You may be independent if you’re unable to live at home with either of your parents due to extreme circumstances. A social worker will assess this if you’re younger than 18.

An extreme circumstance includes:

  • extreme family breakdown
  • violence
  • serious risk to your safety and wellbeing.

You can’t claim it’s unreasonable for you to live at home if your circumstances match any of the following. You’re:

  • getting any support from your parents or a long term guardian – either directly or indirectly
  • getting a regular government or student assistance payment, other than ABSTUDY or an income support payment like Youth Allowance
  • in state care, unless you're not living with a carer and not receiving ongoing support from state or territory government.

If your parents live in separate homes, you must meet the criteria for each home.

Parents can’t take care of you

Your parents can’t take care of you if their circumstances match any of the following. They’re:

  • in prison
  • mentally incapacitated and unlikely to get better
  • living in a nursing home or a similar institution and unlikely to get better
  • missing and no one has been able to find them.

Proof to support your claim

When you apply for Youth Allowance as an independent student or Australian Apprentice, we may ask you for extra documents. These need to show you meet the independence criteria.

We’ll tell you what we need when you submit your claim.

Page last updated: 7 December 2020