The goalposts move yet again
If you – or your children – get Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY, the New Year might bring changes to your payments.
From 1 January 2017 changes are being made to how Centrelink assess the associated income for dependent Youth or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.
The Parental Income Test
- Centrelink review the income of parents or guardians of Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY recipients.
- For anyone who receives reportable fringe benefits as part of their income, the rules have changed.
- From 1 January 2017 Centrelink will count 100% of these reportable fringe benefits as income.
- The only exemption to this is where the employer is a not for profit organisation, such as:
- public benevolent institutions
- health promotion charities
- some hospitals, and
- public ambulance services
Reportable fringe benefits are benefits other than your pay that you get from your employer. They can include:
- help to pay your rent or home loan
- a mobile phone
- a car
- school fees for children
- health insurance premiums
- help with child care expenses
Centrelink need to know the total value of all reportable fringe benefits you get.
Maintenance Income Test
- The other change is to the way Centrelink assess any child support or spousal maintenance payments parents or guardians receive.
- They’ll now be subject to a separate maintenance income test, like the one used for Family Tax Benefit Part A.
So how do you know if you’re affected?
These changes might reduce your payments.
- If you’re affected, Centrelink would have sent you a letter in December.
- It could also be worth logging into your MyGov account to check for any notifications or updates.
- Or if you think you’re likely to be impacted but haven’t yet heard, you can use the online estimator to check your rate.