Tests that apply to you
We base your rate of payment on the test resulting in the lowest payment rate. Changes to your income or assets, like changes to your employment income, 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|
The following tests apply to you:
|Independent with a partner||
The following tests apply to you:
The following tests apply to you:
There are different assets limits depending on your situation. When you claim, you need to tell us the current market value of all of these:
- your assets
- your partner’s assets, if you have a partner.
Find out more about different kinds of assets you need to report.
If your assets stop you from getting a payment, you may still be able to get some help. If you’re in severe financial hardship, you may be able to apply under the asset hardship provisions.
There are 2 parts to the parental means test:
If you’re dependent we need to know your parents’ or guardians’ income.
Watch our video about parental income.
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:
- at least $1 of an income support payment not including Family Tax Benefit, each fortnight
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance.
In 2021, we assess your parents’ or guardians’ taxable income from the 2019-20 tax year.
How your parents’ or guardians’ income for tax year 2019-20 affects your payment
|Parental income||Effect on payment|
|$56,137 or less||No change.|
|More than $56,137||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.
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:
- they get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance or income tested School Fees Allowance higher rate
- they’re under 16
- they’re 16 to 19 and in secondary school
- your parents or guardians get Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance.
If there are more children in your family pool, your parents’ or guardians’ income affects your payment less.
If you need to update your family details, call the students and trainees line.
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 assess their income for the current tax year if their income has significantly changed. For example, if you study in 2021 we may use their 2020-21 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 one of your parents or guardians is permanently blind, and gets one of the following:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension, Veteran Payment or Income Support Supplement.
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|
|You and other siblings who get Youth Allowance, or ABSTUDY Living Allowance if you’re 16 or older.||$1,752 plus $584 for each sibling. Then divide the total by the number of siblings|
|You and other siblings who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit.||$584|
How to work out the maintenance income free area
Jeff is one 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 $1,752. We add $584 for each of the other 2 siblings. We divide the total $2,920, by the number of siblings, being 3. So, Jeff’s maintenance income free area is $973.33.
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.