Working part-time is almost like a rite of passage for young Australians.
It can be a great way to learn soft skills and gain valuable professional work experience.
And the friends you make along the way?
They can make it a helluva lot of fun.
But heavy workloads, disability, illness or injury, location isolation, long commutes and financial disadvantage can impede a young person’s ability to be financially independent and make ends meet.
Thankfully, there is help available to those who need it.
In fact, the federal government just announced the largest increase in social welfare payments in more than two decades.
And that means up to a million eligible young people and students can expect an increase of at least 6% when the payments rise with indexation.
But what financial assistance is available, and how can your child access them?
Let’s break down the different benefits available to young people including Youth Allowance, JobSeeker, Austudy, Tertiary Access Payment and Abstudy.
If your child’s under the age of 24 and they’re studying or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship, they’re likely eligible for Youth Allowance. To be eligible for this federal financial assistance, they’ll need to be either:
- 16 to 17 years old and studying full time and either independent or needing to live away from home to study, or
- 16 to 17 years old and studying full time and have completed year 12 or equivalent, or
- Between 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, or
- Between 18 to 24 years old and studying full-time at a registered tertiary institution, or
Important: The federal government uses income and assets tests to work out how much eligible students can receive. Check out Service Australia’s Payment and Service Finder to help you figure out how to claim it, and how much your child can get.
If you’re from a regional or remote area and your child needs to relocate to study, they might be eligible for a Tertiary Access Payment. The Tertiary Access Payment is a one-off payment of up to $5,000 that students who have completed year 12 can access in their first year of tertiary study.
The federal government considers a place regional or remote if it isn’t in or near a major city, and how much funding your child is eligible for depends on where your family home is located (you can check whether your home address is in an eligible area here).
If your child is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent and studying or training, they might be eligible for ABSTUDY.
If eligible – and depending on your child’s circumstances – ABSTUDY can help with school and university fees, the cost of board/accommodation, living and travel costs and the purchase of materials necessary for completing their studies or formal training.
There’s ABSTUDY support available for:
- Students attending school living at home
- Students living away from home in order to attend school
- Students in high school or attending higher education (including master’s and doctorate study)
- Australian Apprentices and trainees
There’s even ABSTUDY support available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander apprentices and students in custody.
If your child is over the age of 25 and a student or apprentice, they may be eligible for Austudy.
However, they’ll need to meet specific criteria and obligations for Austudy – including income testing limits – and the amount of financial assistance they’ll receive will depend on how much they already earn from any apprenticeships or part or full-time jobs.
Is your child over the age of 22 and actively looking for work, but can’t undertake their usual work or study temporarily due to sickness or injury? They may be eligible for a JobSeeker Payment, which recently replaced ‘Newstart Allowance’.
To be eligible for a Jobseeker Payment, your child needs to be:
- Between older than 22
- Meet the income and assets tests, and
- Meet residence rules.
Important: JobSeeker Payments may affect any child support payments if your child is a parent. It’s also critical to inform authorities if their income changes. For more information about Jobseeker Payment rules and commitments and who can get it, check out their website.
Still not quite sure whether your child’s eligible for government financial support?
Direct them to Year13’s Centrelink Eligibility Checker. It’s a simple quiz to help them figure it out and it only takes two minutes! For more information on federal financial assistance for young Australians, check out their website.