Parental income test

The parental income test is part of the parental means test. We use it to assess your parents or guardians income to work out if you can get ABSTUDY.

Watch our video about parental income.

We consider you dependent if you’re getting ABSTUDY Living Allowance or School Fees Allowance higher rate, and you’re either:

  • 16 or older
  • 15 or younger and are eligible to live away from home.

We look at the income of the parents or guardians you live with, or last lived with. This may include:

  • a step parent
  • an adoptive parent
  • a relationship parent
  • your primary carer.

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 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 your parents’ home you may get a higher payment rate. For example, if you need to live at your school.

We won’t assess your parents’ or guardians’ income if you’re in state care. We also won’t assess their income if they get one of the following:

We’ll apply the parental income test if both of the following apply:

  • your parents or guardians get an income support payment
  • their income support payment reduces to zero for one fortnight or more because of how much they earn.

In 2024, we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income from the 2022-23 tax year.

How parental income for tax year 2022-23 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 incomeEffect on payment
$62,634 or lessNo change.
More than $62,634Reduced by 20 cents for every dollar over.

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.

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

How the family pool works

The family pool is what we call the other 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 if any of the following apply:

If you need to update your family details, call the ABSTUDY line.

Page last updated: 19 March 2024.
QC 53955