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Youth Allowance How and why you should apply for Youth Allowance through Centrelink
Posted by Jordan Hirst | August 15th 2011

If you’re between 16 and 24 years of age, studying full-time and are a permanent Australian resident, there's a good chance you're eligible to receive Youth Allowance social security payments through Centrelink.

The aim of the Youth Allowance is to financially assist young people who are studying. The older you get, the more difficult it can become to find flexible part-time work that fits in with your often-sporadic university timetable. Youth Allowance can provide a valuable lifeline for you to support yourself and your studies. Wondering if you're eligible? Below are some introductory guidelines to the Youth Allowance payments.

Eligibility

The Youth Allowance payments are for young people who are undergraduate university students, as well as students of associate diplomas, TAFE courses and selected postgraduate and Master courses. (If you’re 25 or older, you're probably looking for Austudy benefits rather than Youth Allowance.)

To be eligible you must have been an Australian resident for at least two years, and either an Australian citizen or the holder of a permanent resident visa. When you apply for Youth Allowance, you will have to report your income. A chart of Centrelink's income requirements can be found here. If you are working, studying and receiving Youth Allowance payments, you must get into the routine of reporting your income to Centrelink every two weeks. This can be done over the phone or in person.

When you apply, you will be assessed as either a dependent or independent. If you're a dependent, your parent's ability to support you will be examined. If you're living away from home, your Youth Allowance benefits may increase. Centrelink will also investigate any “assets” you currently hold, for example, if you have $3000 or more in your bank accounts your Youth Allowance payments will change.

Only full-time students are eligible for Youth Allowance payments, and Centrelink's definitions of “full-time” and “part-time” may not necessarily match the definitions provided by your university. Centrelink consider a full-time student to be one who is carrying at least 75% or more of the full-time workload. Universities tend to be flexible with the adding and dropping of courses, but Centrelink are not. If you are approved for Youth Allowance, you must remember to notify Centrelink of any and all changes to your circumstances immediately. You do not want the burden of having to repay money Centrelink has paid you in error!

Applying

When you submit your Youth Allowance claim, Centrelink will properly assess your eligibility for the payments. After you've read the rules, submitting your claim can be done online through the Centrelink website. You must register and log in to the website,  complete a series of questions about your circumstances and then submit documents that prove your identity. Internet facilities are also available at all Centrelink branches. You can find the location of your nearest Centrelink branch here. After you've completed your claim, Centrelink will mail you a letter advising whether or not your claim has been successful.

For further information on Youth Allowance, the Centrelink website has everything you need to know. The application process is fairly lengthy and complex, but well worth it if you are in need of financial support during your studies.