Change of circumstances while getting ABSTUDY

You must tell us if things change as it may affect your ABSTUDY payment.

If you don’t tell us about changes you could end up with a debt. Watch our video about how to avoid an ABSTUDY debt.

You need to tell us about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days. This includes your parents’ or guardians’ and partners’ circumstances.

Use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app or your Centrelink online account through myGov to tell us about changes.

If you don’t tell us, it may affect your payment. You may need to pay back money we’ve paid you. If you deliberately don’t tell us about the changes, we could charge you with fraud. Read more about how to avoid committing fraud.

What changes you need to tell us about

The type of changes you need to tell us about if you get ABSTUDY depend on your situation. You may need to tell us about work, study, income or family changes.

Work, study, income and assets

It’s important you tell us about any changes. These include changes to your:

  • study, including changes to your course, institution or if you stopped studying or didn’t start studying
  • apprenticeship or traineeship, including no longer being a full time Australian Apprentice or reducing your study or training workload
  • employment, including changes to your work hours or start or stop work or change jobs
  • assets
  • income, including changes to your pay, if you get income from outside Australia or compensation, leave or redundancy payments.

If you’re reporting income to us for the first time, contact us. We’ll set up self service options for you.

You also need to tell us if you start or stop getting other financial help to complete your course or apprenticeship.


You need to tell us if your personal situation changes.

If your home situation changes, you need to tell us about things like:

  • changes to your address or contact details
  • if you move back to your parents' or guardians’ home
  • if you move into or out of long term care, like a nursing home or hostel.

If your family situation changes, you need to tell us about things like if:

  • you marry or start living with your partner
  • you separate from your partner
  • your dependent child or immediate family member dies
  • you have a child or take care of another person’s child
  • your dependent child leaves your care or gets a pension, benefit or allowance
  • your dependent child is in custody on remand, in a psychiatric institution or in prison.

If you get Rent Assistance there are some specific changes you need to let us know about. Tell us if you:

  • stop paying rent, or the amount of rent you pay changes
  • start paying rent to a state, territory or Commonwealth Housing Authority
  • move in with your parent or guardian.

You'll need to provide proof of your rental arrangements to get Rent Assistance.


Tell us if your partner starts or stops working, has income or assets changes or dies.

Parents or guardians

Tell us if your parents or guardians:

  • change their address
  • marry or start living with their partner
  • separate from their partner
  • have changes to their income
  • have a dependent child who leaves or comes into their care
  • are, or are no longer, in custody, a psychiatric institution, nursing home or similar.

Changes you don’t need to tell us about

You don’t need to tell us if you’re in lawful custody. The correctional institution will let us know.

Page last updated: 15 April 2021