Youth Allowance income test

We use income tests to check if you can get Youth Allowance and how much you might get.

Tests that apply to you

We base your rate on the test that results in the lowest payment rate. Changes to your income or assets, like changes to how much you earn, may change your rate.

Use our payment and service finder to help work out how much you might get.

Your situation Tests that apply to you

Independent

Personal income test

Independent with a partner

The following tests apply to you:

Dependent

The following tests apply to you:

Parental means test

There are 2 parts to the parental means test:

What the Parental income test is

If you’re dependent we need to know your parents’ or guardians’ income.

Watch our video about parental income.

Transcript | Watch on YouTube

We look at the income of your parents or guardians you normally live with, or last lived with. This includes step parents if you normally live with them.

We assess your parents’ or guardians’ income even if you don’t live with them now. If your parents are separated we’ll assess the income of the parent you spend the most time living with. If you spend equal time living with each parent, we’ll assess the income of the parent you ask us to. If you don’t live with either parent now, we’ll assess the income of the parent you last lived with. If you last lived with both parents, we’ll assess the income of the parent you ask us to.

If you need to live away from their home you may get a higher payment rate. For example:

  • if you need to live at your school
  • your family home is a long way from your place of study.

If you’re unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances, we won’t assess your parents’ income.

We won’t assess your parents’ or guardians’ income if they get 1 of the following:

In 2020, we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income from the 2018-19 tax year.

How your parents’ or guardians’ income for tax year 2019–20 affects your payment

The following table shows how your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment. This does not include maintenance income, or the effect of other children in your family pool.

Parental income Effect on payment

$55,626 or less

No change.

More than $55,626

Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over this amount.

You can use the payment and service finder to work out how much you may get in your family situation.

Parental income includes all of the following:

  • combined parental taxable income
  • tax free pensions and benefits
  • fringe benefits
  • income from outside Australia
  • reportable superannuation contributions
  • total net investment losses such as negative gearing losses.

If your parent or guardian pays child support, we remove it from their parental income.

Your parents' or guardians' assets don’t affect your payment.

How the family pool works

Your family pool is what we call the dependent children in your family, like your siblings. Children in your family pool may affect your payment rate.

When there’s another dependent child in your family pool, your payment could increase. If a dependent child leaves your family pool, your payment may decrease.

We can include dependent children in your family pool in any of these situations:

If there are more children in your family pool, your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment less.

What changes to income means

Changes to your parents’ or guardians’ income can mean your payment rate changes. Your payment may also change if your siblings’ situations change.

When your parents’ or guardians’ income has changed

We reassess your parents’ or guardians’ income each year. This is to see if their income will change your payment.

We may be able to assess their income for the current tax year if their income has significantly changed. For example, if you study in 2019 we may use their 2018–19 tax year income.

We reassess your payment every year based on your parents’ or guardians’ income.

What maintenance income test means

Your parents or guardians may get maintenance income to support you or your siblings. If they do, this income may affect your payment. This includes child support or voluntary maintenance your parents or guardians get.

If your parents or guardians get child support, we know their maintenance income. We’ll use what we already know to adjust your payment. If they don’t get child support, your parents need to tell us how much maintenance income they get.

Maintenance income can include regular or one-off payments for all of the following:

  • electricity, gas or water charges
  • school fees
  • other payments made for you or your siblings, or for your or your siblings’ benefit.

You may be exempt if 1 of your parents or guardians is permanently blind, and gets 1 of the following:

What the maintenance income free area is

Your parents or guardians can get a certain amount of maintenance for you before it affects your payment rate. We call this the maintenance income free area.

The number of siblings you have and the payments they get can affect this amount.

What the maintenance income free area per year is

Who your parents or guardians get maintenance for The maintenance income free area amount

Just you.

$1,686.30

You and other siblings who get Youth Allowance, or ABSTUDY Living Allowance if you’re 16 or older.

$1,686.30 plus $562.10 for each sibling. Then divide the total by the number of siblings

You and other siblings who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit.

$562.10

How to work out the of maintenance income free area

Jeff is 1 of 3 dependent children in his family who all get Youth Allowance. His parents get maintenance income for all 3 children.

The maintenance income free area for the first sibling is $1,686.30. We add $562.10 for each of the other 2 siblings. We divide the total $2,810.50, by the number of siblings, being 3. So, Jeff’s maintenance income free area is $936.83.

When your parents’ or guardians’ maintenance income has changed

Your parents’ or guardians’ maintenance income may change during the year.

At the end of the tax year, we’ll assess the maintenance income they got for you. We’ll let you know if we've paid you too much or not enough.

Read more about the Annual Parental Income Reassessment.

Page last updated: 1 July 2020