There is a few different criteria that determines whether you are eligable for either Austudy or Youth Allowance. These criteria are applied to make sure that Australian’s which apply for them do actually need the payments, I mean if you already have 10 million in your bank account lets face it you dont need Centrelink to help you pay the bills.
Firstly, you must be Australian resident to be eligible to claim either Austudy or Youth allowance.
Two of the major ongoing criteria you need to meet each fortnight to be eligible for each payment is the Income Test and the Assets Test. The Assets test assesses how much assets you have in order to be eligible, you literally need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars before this becomes and issue that could affect your eligibility.
You need to meet the Income test every fortnight to determine how much of the total amount of the benefit payment for Youth Allowance or Austudy you are entitled to if you are entitled at all. It works on a sliding scale where if you earn a certain amount of money they reduce your entitlement and if you earn enough money from a part time or casual Job you may loose any entitlement for that fortnight. You can earn a small amount of money in a fortnight before they start to reduce your entitlement and if you don’t earn anything then this will accumulate in what’s called an Income Bank which will be carried into future fortnights.
Liquid Assets Test
In addition to the Assets test is the Liquid assets test where if you have thousands of dollars of cash or cash equivalents on hand then they may delay your first benefit payment for up-to 13 weeks depending on how much you have.
People over the age of 25 may be eligible for Austudy, while people between 16 to 24 may be eligible for Youth allowance.
So whats the Difference?
Both Youth Allowance and Austudy are essentially very similar, they have the same rates of pay and benefits. However from what I gather the difference is that Centrelink has created two different payments to distinguish between younger and older students, this enabled them to apply the independence test and parental means test on younger people whose parents can support them. If your interested in finding out more about the difference between Youth Allowance and Austudy click here.
I hope this makes sense as I know it can be quite confusing at first to figure out how it works. If you need any further clarification its best to contact Centrelink as they can provide you more accurate information and even advice on your eligibility. Im not a representative of Centrelink and only wrote this article hoping to make some sense of how these benefits work for students if you want advice its best to contact a Centrelink