Changes to Centrelink’s Youth Payments

The goalposts move yet again

If you – or your children – get Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY, the New Year might bring changes to your payments.

What’s changing?

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 what?

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.